Today on my bus ride home from work, I started to cough- the flu is going around , so that probably explains why the people who did turn around to see who was hacking their lungs up looked a little angry, even a little scared and very put out.
My parents met by chance in Hawaii in 1963 just so I could sit behind YOU and make you sick.
Still, I busted into my purse and downed some Cold and Flu gel caps and lucky for me I stopped coughing. The guy sitting across from me, that’s about the time he started to cough and it was more than a few people who turned around and probably more who forced themselves not too.
I must confess here, I faked a cough just to see what would happen and if looks could kill I’d have been dead and buried out on I-5 in not one but several shallow graves.
So as I sat down to write tonight I went over that little moment because I knew I was going to put it into my writer’s notebook and as I started to write it occurred to me that little snapshot in my life reminded me of a Twilight Zone episode called, “The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street”
This episode was written by Rod Serling and briefly the storyline goes like this: On a peaceful suburban street, strange occurrences and mysterious people stoke the residents’ paranoia to a disastrous intensity.
I’m going to let you in on a secret.
The first time I saw that episode that story scared me. it gave me nightmares. When it turned up on tv again a short while later I left the room. It creeped me out. It wasn’t the Aliens or the spaceship that scared me. I understood that kind of monster.
What scared me were the human monsters.
It was that look on the characters faces that terrified me- the viciousness, the desperation, the anger .
Today on my bus ride home, I saw flashes of those looks, but I’m not a little kid anymore. I’m an adult. I write ghost stories, I worked in a funeral home. I wasn’t scared. I was amused.
This is how Monsters ends: On a hilltop some distance away, two aliens observe the panic, explaining to the other that mankind is very easy panic, and that they can just as easily turn on the other, which will make domination over their species by the aliens rather easy.
Today I learned a cough can make people turn on each other.
And one little cough can make a monster.