… You know, Fauci and the CEE DEE SEE would have you believe that their covid flu is so much worse than last year’s flu, but listeners, you and I both know what this is all about.  My friends, this is another hoax trying to scare us into not living our lives or going back to church, and for gosh sakes, getting a haircut!

Kathleen Cassidy stared past the occasionally ticking windshield wipers to the foundations of mountains whose peaks had been overrun by broiling gray and black clouds. It felt good, cruising in her four-wheeler down a lonely stretch of county road. For what seemed like ages she had tolerated the warnings and angry eyes of those lambs being led into the slavery of communistic oppression sanctioned by the so-called pandemic. After two shouting matches and a tantrum, Kathleen eventually gave grudging toleration to the concept of wearing masks at the grocery store or the doctor’s office. But when her Dad invited the whole family to an old-fashioned Thanksgiving turkey dinner, it was all the excuse she needed to gas up her beloved Ford Bronco and head up over Rocky Pass. Of everything lost to Kathleen Cassidy in this supposed pandemic, the costliest was companionship. She had hoped to bring along someone, even another girl, but nobody jumped at the chance to drive five hours to go see somebody else’s family. Two girls she really thought she knew brought up the so-called pandemic hoax. Singing along with the old classics by Toby Keith didn’t come close to a good, flesh-and-blood conversation, especially along the slow, winding ascent from the river bottom to the foothills in the cloudy distance.

When Kathleen first saw him far in the distance, it looked like a pronghorn walking along the right edge of the pavement. He was a square-shouldered form marching onward, a shadow more than a person. The misting rain created a sparkling shimmer on his wet leather jacket. His boots were muddy but not caked, his trousers water-stained to the knee. He did not hold out his thumb nor even acknowledge Kathleen Cassidy’s vehicle slowing down on the slickened pavement as it approached him from behind. Through the passenger window she recognized Bryce Smith, the boy of old Charley Smith who owned a spread just south of town. She pulled off the narrow road about a hundred feet ahead of his progress and opened the passenger door. He slowly walked up to her vehicle and peered inside.

“Bryce, what are you doing out here?” she laughed. “Please, jump in and get yourself warm. I assure you, I don’t have the phony flu.”

“I wasn’t hitching,” Angry brown eyes stared fiercely ahead but shivering calves told another story.

“It’s raining up there,” Kathleen said, pointing through her windshield at the clouds hovering over the mountains like dark steam. “To the other side, maybe? Come on, get in before you really get wet.”

Bryce looked up at the clouds and then at her before he eased himself with an uncontrolled moan of pleasure into the electrically warmed seat. “Thanks.” He removed a wool cap from his partially balded head of short hair. He took a mask from his pocket and affixed it to his face. He gripped the door’s armrest when Kathleen gunned the four-wheeler’s big engine and roared back onto the pavement. They rode north for several minutes and only met two pickups and a logging truck going south on that quiet back road.

Kathleen finally broke the silence. “Bryce, it’s cold out there. What’s going on?” She touched him and her fingers drew back reflexively from the chill enveloping his wet leather coat. “Is everything all right?”

… There is another study out there that completely exposes the lies that Fauci and the CEE DEE SEE wants us to swallow. A noted doctor in Texas has concluded that 43 percent of the deaths linked to covid have nothing to do with the fake flu! Just more socialist lies!

His right hand gripped the door armrest tighter. “Please,” The lone syllable came out in a gruff tone of mixed anger and pain. “Turn that off, or change stations, please.”

“Sure, sure,” Kathleen said. From her steering wheel she chose a collection of Waylon and Willie greats. “And listen, if you want to put on a mask, who am I to judge. But I’m the least contagious gal you’ll find. And, I just don’t buy into it. Do you, really?”

He looked over at her for longer than socially acceptable. “Everybody’s choice, they tell me.”

Kathleen stared back at him in between glancing at the road. “That’s all I want,” she said. “To do whatever I want. I mean, Bryce, you got that job at the new home improvement store over by the fairgrounds.  You guys who get constant exposure to the so called covid, you see it, don’t you? The big hoax? You don’t have it.” Kathleen laughed with a slight edge before shrugging her shoulders. “You don’t have, do you?’ How can you, it doesn’t exist!”

The road began to climb a steep canyon carved by a small stream meandering a hundred feet below. The talk waned while Kathleen careened through the turns with an aggressive foot controlling the gas pedal. Her passenger gritted his teeth beneath unblinking eyes and grimaced at each approaching curve.

“I guess you’re talking face to face with people all day long but I feel like I’ve been robbed of the sheer act of having a simple conversation, do you know what I mean?” Her question died in silent response. “I just want things to be normal again, but so do you I guess. Business probably been terrible.”

“No,” came another single-syllabic response. “No, I had it.” His words came in a high-pitched wail. “No symptoms, they call it.”

“They just want you to think you had it,” whispered Kathleen conspiratorially. “That’s part of the big lie.”

And then he laughed. Not like she said anything funny, but like he was a deranged killer or something. He laughed too long and his voice quivered as his ejaculations contorted his face into weeping sobs that wracked his body. “Oh, I had it,” he bawled. “But I’m a big tough guy. My wife, Connie, she’s Shoshoni, and she’s a little plump. Okay I like her that way but she has the diabetes and our little girl April’s just like her Mommy.” He cried out, almost soprano in a shriek that almost reminded Kathleen of a cougar but his wild, terrifying eyes never left hers, never blinked. “April got sick first and we thought it came from her school and then Connie got the fever. So, I was at work, talking to people, just like normal, when my little angel passed on. Her mom left me a couple hours after she heard the news.” And then, like a shrieking chalkboard, he wailed on. “And I didn’t get to see either of them, at the end.”

“Oh my god, I am so sorry,” Kathleen said “But surely it was something else. The covid is just a big lie. I heard on the radio that the flu strain is really strong this year. It comes from France, you know.”

And then, as if he had been possessed, his voice turned to a resonant baritone. “I’ll get out here.”  He pointed abstractly at the side of the road. “Right here is fine.”

“We’re only halfway up is all,” Kathleen replied. “There’s no place to …”

“RIGHT! HERE!” His words filled the cab of her four-wheeler with reverberating anger.

She did what he said, slamming the brakes in the middle of a curve. He lunged out the door and she hit the gas pedal. The big tires of the four-wheeler lurched back into motion and a second later the shadow of a man standing in the road disappeared from her rear view mirror and Willie wailed away about a redheaded murderer.