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Bugout! A Novel Coronavirus Novel


If Dillon hated anything, he hated flamingos.

Minding his own business on the window sill snacking on a chunk of leftover veggie Stromboli William picked up across the street, he took immediate offense and fast flight as soon as he spotted a flock of the pampered pink prey.

Watching a TV documentary one night about Michael Jackson, Dillon freaked out at the prissy birds Jackson kept at his Neverland amusement park home in California. Dillon hated Jackson, too, and squawked like he was getting murdered whenever he heard one of sicko MJ’s songs blasting from a car speaker.

Still energized by his air combat victory over the predator drone Vic sent to kill him, Dillon climbed high into a shimmering summer sky. Circling with confidence he performed aerial reconnaissance to see exactly how he would strike.

Flamingos on an obnoxious Hawaiian shirt?


Obese lumbering white guy wearing said shirt plus camouflage cargo pants and worn flat flip flops.


Dopey hyperactive Irish Setter.


Just a few minutes earlier Big Bob and Clancy stepped out for a walk.

Coming the other way down the street, Vic stepped briskly, no longer caring if he lived or died. Such carelessness gave him a new air of invincibility that put more bounce in his step that he had displayed in months.

Clancy and Big Bob growled at Vic when they met up.

Darryl got up from the floor after finishing a half hour yoga practice and walked to the window.

What’s Dillon doing?

William pushed away from the kitchen table where he meticulously cleaned his special order paintball rifle. Leaning out the window he looked up into the wild blue yonder.

Uh-oh, he said.

Dillon circled Vic, Big Bob and Clancy like a desert vulture sizing up a potential carrion casserole.

Who are those guys?

The enemy, William said.

Clancy wore an Old Glory neckerchief but neither Big Bob nor Vic wore a mask.

Fewer and fewer people are wearing masks, William said. Look at those two clowns, standing face-to-face, spraying droplets at each other like smartass little kids in a spitting contest. No social distancing, either. Americans are always in everybody’s face.

Darryl turned to face William.

What about us? Our coronavirus tests came back negative. Our quarantine is over. We’re not superheroes. Now what do we do?

We ramp up the battle, William said.

We’re kidding ourselves, man.

We’re fearsome public health warriors, William said.

Do you realize how stupid that sounds?

We’re freedom fighters for a better future, William said.

Stop, Darryl said. Black and white, we don’t matter. Except for the rich and powerful, nobody’s lives matter. We’re just two zeros under house arrest like everybody else who takes coronavirus seriously. That’s why you hung up on JayJay Bone. You didn’t know what to say. I’m glad you didn’t hand the phone to me. I got nothing. We’re nobodies.

I give up, William said.

Maybe you should call your psychiatrist, Darryl said. I want to go home, call Chanise, see if she’ll let me move in with her. I’m running out of money, man. Except for the press looking for us, we’re pretty much like every other faceless citizen trying to figure out what to do about our jobs, the pandemic, racism and everything else that’s coming down around us.

Yeah, we’re screwed, William said.

Darryl got real serious real fast.

You gonna vote?

No, William said.

Me, neither.

On the street outside, loud curses erupted. Running back to the open widow, Darryl and William saw Dillon dive with an open beak and a blood-curdling series of long staccato screeches. Pulling up right above Big Bob’s head, Dillon released an explosive load from his birdie bomb bay door. A rainbow of digested color from a few days’ worth of veggie Stromboli hit the top of Big Bob’s head, splashing onto Vic’s open neck black silk shirt. Multi-colored glop covered his St. Rocco’s medal and dripped from the huge gold Italian horn he wore like a railroad spike around his neck. Clancy seemed oblivious to the dirty doggone dung discharge from above.

Banking toward Blessed Mama Mia Pizza, Dillon rose like a phoenix from the ashes of a burning land, climbing again to regroup for another air assault. Again and again, Dillon scored direct hits on his marks as well as splattering several surrounding vehicles. His targets ran for cover, racing across the street toward the pizzeria. Gina saw them coming and slammed the door, double locking the dead bolts.

No way, Vic, she said.

Finally with something to cheer for, William applauded wildly.

That’s my boy, he said.

Darryl joined in.

You go, Dillon, he said.

Crappy as it was, a rising star did just that.