My Name is Ronald by the Way

Edited by Brian J. White

February 2015

Slippery. That was the feeling I couldn’t shake after speaking to the salesman. I stood there feeling violated, a document folder in hand along with his card, not knowing what to do next.

All day today I’ve felt distant, out of place. It’s weird really, that one simple thing can shake your world like that.

I’m dying, the salesman told me so. The documents in the folder proves it. Something about the pipes has condemned the entire town to death, slow and possibly painful.

“We’ll do what we can to make it as pleasant as possible for you,” said the salesman. Some comfort.

The mere fact that they’re sending salesmen door to door scares me. Thousands of homes, I guess they have no choice since everyone has to know. It wouldn’t do to have this spreading like a rumor. Which I’m sure it did yesterday, among those who weren’t as dazed as I was.

What do you do when you know you only have months left to live?

I think I’ll start keeping a diary.

It’s spreading. People are dying all over the country. It seems as if this wasn’t a local incident after all. “The end of a nation” proclaims the newspapers. I don’t know about that, but I do know that I feel just fine so far.

We’re quarantined. I just don’t get it, how can you quarantine an entire country? It feels as if the world has turned its back on us. Sure, I get it, they don’t want what we’ve got, much like I get annoyed when someone coughs on the bus without covering his or her mouth properly. This is the same thing, only much bigger.

They don’t think it was the pipes anymore.

The first death from the illness occurred last night. I still feel fine, but others are complaining of fevers and joint pains. If it weren’t for what everybody’s telling us I’d call this your yearly flu.

Mindy from two fields over told me there’s been looting. I can’t believe it, who would want to steal from his fellow neighbors at a time like this?

I saw a man die today. In Ellen’s market, he just coughed, wobbled a bit, and spat blood. Then he fell to the ground and coughed violently for a full ten minutes. The ambulance came but he was already dead by then.

It was awful. I think his eyes popped out.

People are dying by the dozen now. I can’t take the bus to town, it’s not running anymore. Neither are most of the shops. I’m just glad that I stocked up on canned food early.

I feel a bit weak.

There was a storm and the power’s out. I hope it comes back on. Need to gather some wood when it has stopped raining.

It feels cleansing, the rain. Almost as if it brings hope.

Tried the radio, no broadcasts. I feel all alone out here in the woods.

I killed a man today. I had to, he was drooling and coughing and trying to steal my food and water or whatever. I tried to scare him off but couldn’t so I had to shoot him with my shotgun. I’ve never done that before, I was never in the army and I’ve only hunted small game.

Don’t think I’ll sleep well tonight. I guess I’ll have to do something with the corpse, bury it and say a prayer or something. I can’t just leave it to rot. I just can’t.

I buried the body. I used plastic gloves and an old gas mask but I’m not sure it will do me any good.

Feel weak.

Went into town today, took a full five hours there and back. There were dead people everywhere, I didn’t see a living soul. Tried to take a few cars on my way back but they were all locked and I didn’t want to risk spending the night in town so I gave up.

Broke into Ellen’s market and got some supplies. Not much there, some cans and dried food, candy and bottled water. Was afraid to find Ellen or Bob in there but didn’t. Already seen a few friends on the streets, at least I think I have. I try not to look too hard, there’s nothing I can do anyway.

Had a scare, there was a cat sleeping on one of the shelves. He darted by me. I think he was as scared as I was.

Made another run to town today. Only food left to find is candy. I feel nauseous and weak. Tried my luck with the cars again to no avail, had to walk home. Really tired now.

I’m running a fever. This might be it.

It’s very lonely here so I don’t mind. At least that’s what I’m telling myself. It seems I haven’t seen a living soul in ages. Sometimes I wonder if there are anyone left? Did the quarantine work or is the rest of the world dying too? There’s no way of knowing, at least not one I’m familiar with.

Getting sleepy. I think I’ll turn in now. I got an intense tickle in my throat and I’m fighting the urge to cough. The fever’s pretty bad.

I’m scared.

My name is Ronald by the way. Just thought you should know.

© 2015 Thord D. Hedengren

About the author

Thord D. Hedengren

Thord D. Hedengren is addicted to words, and the stories they make. He writes fiction, short and long, as well as freelance articles and columns for various media outlets. He’s a renowned web developer and designer, and the author of SMASHING WORDPRESS: BEYOND THE BLOG and THE WRITER’S IPAD, among other techy things. You’ll find him wasting away on Twitter as @tdh, or writing about just about anything at Thord lives in Sweden, the Land of Kings.