It is the year 2030. A decade has passed since the coronavirus went global—the only virus in recent human history to go bigger than the Beatles. Ignored at first by some, afforded the compliment ‘novel’ by others, human opinion was by now unanimous: Covid-19 had been an utter bastard. It had cheesed people off so much they could no longer be bothered to say the ‘19’ bit anymore, simply calling it Covid. Finding a vaccine for this menace had meant a gold rush of proportions never seen before. The virus had played a lead role in the crappiest horror movie of all time.
Somewhere in rural England lived a man named Danny. He was going on a walk for exercise outside his home. The British government allowed him to do so once a day.
'It never ceases to amaze me,' he said, 'how wildflowers by beauty outdo many of the flowers we plant for beauty's sake; how the weeds outgrow them all.'
Danny realised he was talking to himself. Solitude certainly sucked stuck in lockdown. Admiring the fitness of a jogger, Danny went to go and ask her out but she ran away. His confidence a little shaken, he went to ask out a new girl who was riding a unicycle. It was a balancing act. Pleased by his advances, she agreed to listen to his plan. He took his pedal kart and she, her unicycle, and together they rode up the hills soon to the depths of the forest.
Hazes of sunlight skimming off the rooftops below, the wind wafted over the landscape like a natural string quartet informing Danny and Lula, as they neared it, of the chaffinches' jargon on the brow of Roderick Hill.
On hearing a screech of brakes as they journeyed, Lula looked down to the road below and watched as a big truck sped out of control, crashing into the side of the road.
'He's flattened the kerb,' she said. Simply put, it was not healthy for one to watch instances of this nature play out any longer.
Far, far away from any toilet paper, hand sanitiser or idiots, the pair decided to selfless-isolate. They were not 'selfless self-isolating' but rather, they wereby a term they had coinedpaired selfless-isolating.
Many happy years passed in paired selfless-isolation. Ten to be exact.
April 2030, Roderick Hill, England
Looking back to 2020, many of the difficulties that came with lockdown restrictions were in keeping with the difficulties associated with the imperfections of life. Gloves only made a difference if taken off and disposed of properly. Social distancing of keeping two metres apart from the next human worked especially well if you did not live in somewhere like England. There were so many narrow Victorian roads built for horse and cart that could barely fit cars on let alone pedestrians as well. Some roads did not even have pavements. The jury was still out on the effectiveness of masks.
'Stay away from negative people. They have a problem for every solution.'
This is true, so let's just stick to the facts.
Not everybody could get a Covid test but celebrities and MPs had a far greater chance. 2020 was the year people ingested disinfectant and helped the environment simultaneously through trying to help themselves. Some big businesses were fuming that for the first time in so many years, people in Delhi could make out the sky and stars at night.
Birdsthe only living species descended from dinosaursmade one hell of a comeback. Their songs could be heard more often after reduced encroachment from the virus with shoes. Consequently, the world enjoyed a poor man's Jurassic Park.
Hermits never experienced such understanding nor such a sense of belonging. Persons who had long believed themselves 'a bit thick' now understood what a pandemic was. Never before had so many Netflix shows been watched and so many houses been so clean.
The idea of herd immunity was thought up. It had often been proven how elephants had thrived thanks to herd impunity. The idea of herd immunity was scrapped once it was realised it might not be so fair to let the vulnerable and old folk rot. Herd immunity was probably easier to talk about and consider if you were young and did not have any underlying health problems or weren't a health worker.
'I tell you I hope this coronavirus will end soon so that people can start working more again and producing more gasses into the atmosphere. It's too chilly round here. We could really do with some global warming right now,' said some very cold people.
Now in 2030, the lives of our lovebirds remain much unchanged.
'I'm usually selective who I socialise with but the situation has currently been washed from my hands,' said Danny to Lula up on the hill. That same day Lula ordered a takeaway pizza to the forest. The delivery guy got everything right except for the missing dip. Perhaps it was self-isolating, reasoned Lula.
The duo thought about doing a blue movie called Hovid-19; locked down to trees being the predominant theme.
With Danny and Lula none the wiser that lockdown had ended, it was comforting to know that with the world free of Covid, humans had returned to their old ways.
Many ate what they liked. There were more viruses of zoonotic origin on their way with more vaccinations to be found. Levels of non-renewable industrial production went up even more than before to make up for lost time.
Life after the pandemic had been starting to get way too easy. New problems were sought out to give humans a far better challenge.
Unfortunately for the hand sanitiser and toilet roll companies, production levels returned to normal in non-virus season, as did kindnessexcept for during times of 'Christmas spirit.'
Danny and Lula soon sensed that it was the right time for a change. With it being the eve of their ten-year anniversary of living life in the forest, now seemed as good a time as any. Surely things were not as bad now in town as when they left. The time had come to wander down the hill.
Sitting by the pier in the town of Roderick, the two kissed but it got a bit awkward because they had both momentarily forgotten they were wearing masks. Lula turned to Danny:
'You know, it's kind of sexy, you in that mask. I want to get through to kiss you but you won't let me. You know how much it annoys me when you whisper and mumble whilst wearing that mask; I can't hear what you're saying. You've got a rubbish mask anyway. With that surgical mask you get leakage. You want to get yourself a respirator mask like mine. It keeps out 95% of airborne particles. Unless you have the virus symptoms or are caring for someone with the symptoms then The World Health Organisation does not recommend them for the general public anyway.'
Danny let loose his mask and flung it to the ground.
'Kiss me!' he said. Lula did the same with her mask, and, there it was, the kiss. Everyone within eyeshot stared, wondering why they were still wearing masks.
Billions of years later, there was a special day on planet Earth. Crime totally dried up: no robberies, no assaults, no murders. Nothing. Policing became a job of the past. Every single human being had evolved to be able to get on with any other human being. The next day the sun exploded.
Joel Schueler’s works appear in ten countries in over forty publications including Pennsylvania Literary Journal, London Poetry Magazine & The Brasilia Review. From London, he has a BA(Hons) in English Literature & Creative Writing from the University of Wales, Aberystwyth. He is the author of the number one international bestseller: Jim & Martha: A Novel on Eco Living http://viewbook.at/jimmartha and the number one national bestseller: Love Your Fear: A Quick Self-Help Guide to Managing Anxiety http://viewbook.at/loveyourfear