Before the Zombies Come

image of a rotting raspberry

Captain Crunch’s Log, Soup du Jour

Two people in town wore masks over their faces now that Covid-19 has been more thoroughly digested.

Contrast from 3 days ago when I apologized to a friend with dog for touching his leash. Désolée, I kept saying. Huh, he said. Social distance, I said in English. My French in the best of times is bad. But apocalypse French? Non. Oh the virus, he said like a curiosity. I’m in a town in the Larrys where lots of people are senior citizens. I was shocked he wasn’t with the program yet.

Today it was -2, the Year of our Celcius, and sunny, therefore kind of warm.

People weren’t all decked out in their winter woolens. I noted their bare hands at the various shops where I was making my what if runs. I compared their exposed hands to my fists in tight gloves, gloves that I chose purposely to allow me some dexterity. So that I wouldn’t have to remove them to offer up my card to pay, or cash in hand bareback style.

How do you shop for the end of the world? How do you shop for Covid? I’ll tell ya.

  • Lindt milk chocolate bars. More than a litter. Less than a panic.
  • Saltines that come wrapped in quadrants so that you always have fresh crackers. I thought the occasion called for me having the last crunch after all.
  • Chunks of cheese. We luckily grabbed a few blocks of Vermont cheddar on our trip back from Boston. But I was going to eyeball some of the cheeses with blatant bacteria in our vintage Quebecois town too.
  • Um produce? People have been advising things all over social channels about getting in on the fresh produce while you can. Which I disregarded. Because produce in the fridge, in the best times, it goes slow then fast toolate. Since getting a compost bin from the government of Canadia, couple years back, we jokingly started using it. But now we actually do use it without winking – oh the eggshells are going innnnnnn! We notice those times when we get a little flyée with the forests of asparagus that seemed like a good idea at the time and then the waste. How did we not notice before? We freeze a lot now just to avoid the guilt. So now the freezer is jam-packed that I can’t possibly do anything more with that bunch of fresh cilantro the size of Shaq’s fist, or value-sized bag of peppers, or those raddicio. Raddiculous. Eat all now or lose it.
  • But yes. One of the many grocery stores in town sells the best variety of food but in bulk. You go in there knowing that you’ve got to commit. They get you with really cheap kindling. How do they know? So I’m in there for the wood but I drifted past their oopsie doo rack of items that were priced to go immediately. Raspberries as supple as tardigrades. I would probably be able to harvest 19 from each box. But they were a dollar. I’d be Loonie not to get them.
  • At another store because we were set for toilet paper but just in case… I noted the bread aisle just wiped out. Paper towels and kleenex remaining next to the empty shelves for TP in another aisle. Which caused me to succumb to 2 bags of potato chips, a dollar each. They are not Cape Cod chips. They don’t even pretend to be. The runway of grease they produce within my innards will coat the coming panic to a dull palpatation.

I arrived home with the goods. Plus a 12 pack of toilet paper that I scored from the Dollar Store that had cost me $10. Ten loonies had to give up their lives so that 12 rolls of toilet paper could live.

I unpacked with purpose. The thing with fruit on the cusp is you have to pay attention to it tout de suite. I ran the berries a bath of medium cold water inside my salad spinner. I inspected each candidate, looking for the requisite flint of mold. Or a terrible darkening. If I could talk myself into eating the berry without too much thought, I’d go with it. Each approved fatboy plopped in to get wet and possibly washed.

The egregious culprits I set aside, not just toss them wholesale into the compost. I was going to get these rejects for parts. I took a short sharp knife and plied the end to white nubs, the dark nubs, the off nubs, while daring the rest of the berry to hold up. With most of the decapitated fruit I was left with innards that just oozed liquid bacteria. Screw you, human, watch me blleeeeeeeeed, it said. I didn’t hear it say this but I am very good at inferring.

Look at them. They are gross.

image of a rotting raspberry
So gross. Like pus but from a berry.

What do ya think?

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