A father and his daughter walk down the street one fine blue skied Sunday morning. Shops are closed at mid-day. Birds chirp from the trees. Everything is deserted. A gust of wind kicks up tumbleweeds. They swirl amidst the dust and blow down the paved road.
A rabbit hops across the street, stops, twitches its nose. The little girl pulls at her father’s arm. “Look, Daddy.” Her eyes follow the floppy ears and white tail as it darts under a parked car. “It’s a bunny.”
“I see, sweetheart.” He enfolds the little girl’s hand in his own, “come on let’s go. We need to get to the farmers market before they run out of eggs.”
The little girl’s gaze is now fixed across the road, distracted by fractious tendrils of house dance music creeping out into the street from the store front. The store front windows have blue velvet curtains drawn to close off the interior. From the sounds inside of people talking and the cars parked in front there are people inside. A waft of cigarette smoke and a peal of screeching laughter slips out from under the closed door.
They keep walking.
The six-year old girl squints her eyes at the sign above. “Blue Dot Club.” She looks up at her father, whose hand she is still holding. “What’s the Blue Dot Club, Daddy?
“It’s a…uh…dance club.”
“Can we go in?”
The father sits at his kitchen table reading a worn and refolded newspaper.
“How do you want your eggs, Hank?”
“Over easy. Thanks Betsy.”
“No, trying to watch the carbs. Just bacon. Could you turn it up please?”
Hank folded his paper and put it aside. Old news anyway. Last Sunday’s paper. They didn’t deliver any more.
Betsy thumbed the television control on the counter, turning the volume higher. “NPR reporting live.” The announcer’s voice took over the room like spoiled fish. “New nano technology geothermal development has recently been deployed with overwhelming success. The FDA approved blue chip reflective forehead implants are now available to the public.”
“What’s so special about nano’s new technology?” A woman’s voice interrupted, soothing as butter on a burn.
“Well, Donna, it’s a surgical implant that detect early symptoms of corona virus and changes color to alert the nearby security the where-abouts of the individual and warn onlookers of the biological state of its host.”
“Yes, Chuck, but that’s old news. Clubs for social interaction all across the world have been using this new technology for months now.”
“Donna, the breaking news is there’s an upgrade. The enhanced 2.0 version also utilizes natural sunlight to generate a force field around the person who wears it. This new blue dot generates a protective radioactive radiotronic barrier to virus particles. It acts as a shield in addition to being a tracker and a display unit. Triple action safety. As long as you got your blue dot, you’re A-Okay!”
“I’ll be doggone,” Hank bit down into his fork full of bacon and eggs. “Wonder how much they’ll be charging for those things?”
Betsy stood at the counter spreading jam on toast, “Sally and Jimmy, come get your Sunday brunch.”
The TV announcer Chuck blared the answer. “Due to high market demand and need to recoup research and development costs the enhanced version will be available for a screaming deal of $2995 that’s only 3K to stay healthy!”
“Yikes!” Betty echoed Donna’s sentiment.
“Insurance agencies and pharmaceutical companies have pooled resources, and their generosity, to offer up these ground-breaking phenomenal health benefits at an all-time low cost.
“So, anybody who can afford 3K for one of these gadgets can go out in public now? Without encumbrance.” Donna referred to the current mandatory head-to-toe protective gear that had recently been federally suggested, but was locally enforceable. Except on Sundays.
“Yes Donna, regulatory committees and every local Pandemic Enforcement Board & Community Association Knighthood, or PEBCAK for short. These community organizations have just been given the greenlight authorization by the government to enforce full body suits to all non-blue light blue dot participants.”
“So, let me get this straight Chuck, essentially you have to wear standard issue full body cover or the blue dot in order to be out in public.”
“Right-oh, Donna.” He said with a smile in his voice.
“And how long will that take to go into effect?”
“Oh, Donna, it’s already mandatory.” He said pompously. “Across the country.” Grinning for the camera, he announced, “the militia has been deployed.”
Hank and Betsy looked out the kitchen windows. The kids came running in. Sally and Jimmy hopped up and down both talking at once, pointing out the bay window overlooking the street. The rumble of tanks and the echo of boots cluttering down the sidewalk during their Sunday morning breakfast resembled a parade. But it was not.
“We better get us some blue dots Hank,” Betsy’s frown deepened as she took in the marching soldiers.
“What about the kids college fund?” Hank scratched his head.
Betsy nodded toward the militia parading through the streets. “Do you think that’s going to matter if they suffocate this summer wearing those damned polyurethane latex suits? No Hank, this is the new reality.”