Friday, September 30, 2005

Flu off the Handle

Last week. 2330 hrs. Quang Troc's Mexican Restaurant and Notary Public. The men's room.
I was in the head, tapping a kidney, when I noticed the guy at the urinal next to me was looking at me funny. There's a cardinal rule about taking a leak next to another guy--don't look at him unless he farts. And I hadn't.
I looked right back at him, sizing him up. He was Asian--probably one of Quang's employees--and as such would know karate. Then again, he was watching another guy drain the lizard, and was therefore a pansy. I figured I could take him.
"What's the matter," I said, "haven't you seen a guy sit down to pee before?"
"Not at a urinal, no," he replied. Smug bastard. I was three-Zima drunk and hadn't noticed.
"Well...If you're window shopping, this sausage ain't on sale," I said.
"Look like vienna sausage," he said. "You sure you not Asian?"
I would have kicked his ass right then had I not been busy shaking the last drops from Herr Kommando. The Asian laughed as he finished up, and called over his shoulder as he left the john.
"You pee like girl," he said. "Funny man pee like girl." His laughter continued as the door closed behind him.
I couldn't stop him--I always take the time to wipe and apply hygiene spray, and by the time I finished he was gone. Oh well. I wasn't really in the mood to kill, and having just survived internment at Gitmo, I didn't need any dramas with the police. I tucked Herr Kommando away and pulled the handle to flush. As I left the bathroom, I coughed.

The Next Day. 1300 hrs. The McFab compound.
"MOM...Momma, please..." I couldn't finish the sentence. I was too weak to cry out. I had been coughing and sneezing since I'd left Quang Troc's, and my military training told me that when you think you have a cold, you probably have a rare and virulent disease that's going to kill you. I had been in my bed since I got home, and couldn't leave it if I wanted to. I didn't want to.
"Mom, please...Come here...I'm dying..." I knew my mom couldn't save me, but I figured it would be nice to say goodbye before I met my heroes in Hell.
"Randy?" She tried my bedroom door, but of course it was quadruple-locked. "Honey, I can't get in, your door's locked. Should I use my key?"
"Your key?" Jesus, a man can't get any privacy. "Sure...key...Only--Mom! Don't come in yet. There's a gasmask and ABC gear in the pantry." The military issues NBC suits for protection from Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical attack. I couldn't forgive them for ending Seinfeld, though, and thus used the alternative ABC gear.
"Oh, honey," she said, and I heard her key turning a lock.
"No, Mom, really! I'm contaminated...Dying...Please, suit up...Please..."
My bedroom door opened fifteen minutes later, and my mom walked in with full protection on. She's a large woman, bless her, and looked like a camel stuffed into a very bright yellow condom.
"Oh, Randy," she said, her voice muffled through the gas mask, "Your nose is running!"
"Yes," I said, "I've got the...Sniffles." I'm a hard man, but I broke down crying. Lord Suffering doesn't care how much of a bad ass you are, He dispenses pain equally.
"It's probably just a cold, honey," Mom said. "At least you're laying in bed, as usual."
"But I coughed, too!" She didn't want to accept what was obvious. I was on the red-eye flight to Valhalla, and she couldn't stand to see her son go.
"Randy," she said, "let me take your temperature. I know how you get when you have a fever."
A few minutes later, I pulled the thermometer out of my mouth and read it.
"Why's it say 'rectal,'" I asked.
"Don't worry about that, Randy. I rinsed it. Now let's see...You don't have a fever, honey. I bet it's just allergies. You haven't been eating paint again, have you?"
"Not a lot, no, but..." Holy shit. It suddenly came to me. I knew where I'd gotten it.
"But what?"
"Don't worry about it, Mom. If I recover, you'll read all about it in the papers...The Pentagon papers, that is."

Two days later. 1400 hrs. Quang Troc's Mexican Restaurant and Notary Public. The bar.
I'd been on the stakeout since they opened. It was obvious to me that I'd gotten the deadly virus from the urinal handle at Quang Troc's--after all, there were foreigners in there, and where there's foreigners, there's terrorists. Someone had left a dose of bio-terror for the unlucky bastard who used the pisser after them, and that unlucky bastard was me. I had recovered due only to my superhuman constitution, developed from years of hard Jazzercise. That I survived didn't matter, though. I would find the bastard who left the germs, and when I did, I'd kill him. Twice.
Three hours and two Zimas later, a likely suspect headed for the crapper. He was Arabic, or at least dressed funny, and that spells tango to the educated eye. I followed him in.
He was already at a urinal when I entered the head. I took the urinal beside him and watched his hands for any moves. With any luck, I'd catch him in the act of planting his deadly seed.
He finally noticed me watching and stared back, trying to hide his fear.
"Dude," he said, "are you watching me piss?"
"Damn right I am, Mr. Jihad." I'd brook no bullshit from this bastard.
"What? Leave me alone, you perv!"
Oh, he looked and sounded American...He was crafty as heck with his blonde hair, California accent, and teenaged appearance.
"I'll leave you alone, alright," I said. "I'll...Well, I have no witty comment that goes with that, really. 'I'll leave you alone...In Hell?' Does that work?"
"No," he said, "you freakin' weirdo." He finished up and zipped. I pounced.

Later that day. 1800 hrs. The McFab compound.
I held the ice-pack to my blackened eye, thankful that it didn't hurt as badly as my busted lip did. Seems the virus that tango unleashed was deadlier than I thought, because it had slowed me down to the point that I couldn't fight properly. He had gotten away, and chances are he has spread the germs all over America by now. You're probably all dying as you read this, actually. If you're not dying, let me give you a piece of advice that may well save your life: Don't flush. Ever.