April 4, 2020Apr 182020
There was hardly anyone outside at midnight, save for the occasional ambulance. The pandemic had crept along for a month now, and it was a miracle he hadn't been infected. A 40-year-old diabetic with no health insurance who regularly crossed into Tijuana for everything from cheap insulin to dental work. A food delivery driver who had unwittingly delivered to emergency rooms filled with coughing veterans and nursing homes mere weeks before the waves of death passed through.
He was certainly stupid or desperate enough to be one of the first choking on a ventilator until his lungs stained red. Yet despite his lack of luck, skill, ambition or some variation of the three, he hadn't coughed once. Why was he still alive? He barely even wanted to be.
If there was a god - which there most certainly wasn't - he might think the Powers That Be kept him alive because fate had some grander purpose in mind, but life doesn't work that way. Even very kind and thoughtful people sometimes get run over on the way to volunteering at the soup kitchen. He contributed nothing to society other than occasional bowel movements, in which he used at least three times as much toilet paper as any rational person. Yet he was still here.
While he had rarely been useful, in the past he'd at least been middle class, skilled enough to feed the credit card companies. Yet he wasn't even good for that anymore. His paperwork pushing, do nothing office job - granted to all white college graduates as a mildly depressing but welcome privilege - wasn't needed anymore. None of them were. "Office coordination" is not a skill. No one needs help emailing another person or answering their own phone, for fuck's sake.
Not social enough to network well and not handsome enough to be an exotic dancer, he had dwindled through life until it flushed him down the cracks to the service industry, where he now delivered food to people who rightfully tipped him nothing. Every week he spent another 50 long hours and 600 miles ruining his own car. If he was lucky, he might earn 800 dollars, breaking even on expenses.
Do the math, idiot. He had, but it was better not to think about finances. This was "just temporary", after all. Someday a mysterious call would come out of nowhere to save him and put him back in an office. That's what he told himself, anyway. Maybe it would, maybe it wouldn't. Life rarely follows expectations or shows its hand.
But he was alive, for some reason. Praise the lord and pass the White Claw. Another useless Gen X nitwit would survive another day.