Join American Fever's FACEBOOK PAGE

TWITTER: @PeterChristHall


This website contains the entire novel—linked and illustrated—along with information on influenza and bird flu, an art gallery & opportunities to buy personal protection gear and cultural merchandise (including books, movies, and music cited by American Fever's blogger).



Explore American Fever:
Powered by Squarespace

Day 46: Broken Gods & Threats of Litigation

I acknowledge blame for the world’s interest in my existence, though I don’t get it.

I was served with a legal notice that I should cease writing about ‘Nina’ because I was making her a public figure. She must have finally read my blog!

Ric steered me to a lawyer who assured me that nothing I’ve said about her is litigable. So long as I remain obscure, she can’t be identified. I salute your ignorance and apathy.

GANESH: SHE MISSED ONESo here’s what happened. We broke up a few days ago, when I discovered she was sick from taking Relenza. She’d gotten word to come back to the office soon and had started inhaling antiviral powder because she decided she was coming down with bird flu and wanted to be 100% present on her first day back at work.

It’s not as if I’d never mentioned to her—okay, ranted might be a better word—that I expected ignoramuses to take Relenza and Tamiflu for hay fever. I’ve warned that when they conduct pandemic post mortems, it’ll turn out that most antivirals were wasted.

This is what I posted three weeks ago:

“Know your flu symptoms!

Memorize that list.

A hypochondriac with hay fever is a terrible thing to behold.”

She used about a third of my stash before I happened upon a used Diskhaler under a pillow while she was off on a mystery stroll. I had gotten up early to confront her about her apparent condition, but she had already slipped out. It seemed a good opportunity to wash the sheets.

Finding that plastic thing dumbfounded me. It’s risky for pregnant women to take Relenza—another point I had posted. Even if it works, embryos that survive bird flu can be damaged for life.

At first I hoped she was out visiting a doctor. I longed for her to come home and tell me what, if anything, was wrong. I imagined she was keeping silent until she could confirm that she was pregnant, sick, or both. Or neither.

She returned wearily at sunset, marched wordlessly to the bedroom. When I followed her inside to ask about the Relenza, she dumped the window screen on the floor so she could sit on the sill, facing me. (She knows I oppose this because I’m afraid Sneeky will fall out the window—a common, fatal horror in New York.) I tried to ignore her transgression while she readily admitted having taken Relenza.

She glowed in the soft pink light as she refused to explain why she was so convinced she’d caught bird flu. Or why she hadn’t warned me that I must be at risk. She said something weird to the effect that I was probably “safe” because I was the source. I told her I wasn’t ill and she said maybe someone in the LES DIY is and I happened to get too close to her and started carrying flu without symptoms. My perplexed expression amused her for a moment. Then her eyes turned into lasers, firing contempt.

She started ranting about things she didn’t bother to explain. I realize now that she assumed I understood them because she knew I was guilty of whatever she was implying. She was speaking in codes she thought I had written. Madness.

Airborne Antiviral Assault

When I said she was poisoning herself and our child, she went volcanic. She was outraged that I had thought she was pregnant. She asked if I was confusing her with someone else. Now her eyes were wider, accusing.

She was certain I had cheated on her the whole time she lived here. With lots of women: Mark’s playmates, the wailing woman, my old girlfriend, even the weird emailer. She had Ric playing a central role in my perfidy—the gay wingman nefariously hooking me up with the sad woman who runs the LES/DIY food service. (With whom I’ve never spoken.)

Soon she was on her feet, hurling what was left of the powder disks at me. I scrambled to find them before Sneeky could start swatting them around, sampling them. She sneered as I crawled.

Then she started throwing bigger objects. One was a brightly colored ceramic of Ganesh, the elephant-headed Hindu god of wisdom, knowledge, and plenty.

I can fling stuff like any angry guy with an opposable thumb, but I’ve never attacked anything that belonged to someone else. If I lose my temper, I smash my own things. I don’t doubt that such eruptions can scare and/or violate other people. I try very hard not to get crazy, but at least it’s me who loses stuff if and when I do.

Maybe she always hated my little Ganesh because my old girlfriend gave it to me. I treasured it. She cracked it.

I placed injured Ganesh on a bookshelf. She laughed and threw him out the window. I heard the statue shatter on a car parked below. An alarm started whooping and beeping.

I went hot and cold, stunned that she hated me so. Furious, I told her to find another place to live as soon as possible. She agreed, smiling for the first time in what feels like weeks.

She insisted on sleeping in the kitchen that night, probably so I couldn’t post anything to my myriad illicit lovers—you.

ATEN WAS A SOLAR REVOLUTIONARYAfter a long night of cycling thoughts and regrets and shock, I walked all the way to Central Park. It was a lush afternoon to feel so desolate. I mulled things over on a big, greasy boulder while high school kids courted and texted and smoked cigarettes around me. Nothing made sense.

I decided to tune up my bicycle soon. She never wanted one.

Peace arrived when I relaxed into the sun’s warm, inspiring glow and discovered Vitamin D. Talk about revelations. I should build a pyramid to Aten.

Two days ago, Nina disappeared. The iMac was gone when I arose yesterday. Late afternoon she returned with a pair of men in ties to pick up her other things. They didn’t look like Mormon missionaries, so I reckon they work with her. Nina’s stuff was evidently moving to the home of a guy with thinning black hair, a lunar forehead, and a hyperactive iPhone with a ringtone from Pink Floyd’s Money.

None of the bankers disinfected when they stomped in, so my apartment got contaminated. I hope it’s okay. Hardly any new cases were reported this week, few of them serious.

I feel as if I’ve lost two people. Y’all really had me going with that pregnancy business.

« Day 45: I Am Not Influenza | Main | Day 47: What Flu? (& Where’s That Vaccine?) »