Larry Kahaner

Archive for the tag “coronavirus”

God Returns from Vacation… Boy, Are We in Trouble

By Larry Kahaner

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(This article first appeared in The Bigger Picture.)

“Good to have you back, boss. Where would you like your bags?”

“Just toss them in the corner. I’ll unpack later. The Lakers are on, and I wanna catch some of the basketball game. LeBron is some next level. Where is the remote, Keith?”

“Here, sir, but we need to talk.”

“Can’t it wait? I just got back from the most relaxing vacation in the universe and I’d like to keep my afterglow. The beaches were exquisite. The drinks were out of this world. I met someone, too. It was a fling, but you never know.”

Keith hands over the remote, and God watches the large screen come to life. He cleans his glasses on the bottom of his T-shirt and squints. “What the… why does it say ‘encore’ in the upper left-hand corner? What the hell?”

“Sir, that’s what we need to discuss.”

“Okay, okay.”

“Well, sir, while you were gone, earth was, er, is, experiencing a pandemic.”

“Are you fucking kidding me? Again? It’s those wet markets in China. Isn’t it? Isn’t it?”

“We’re not yet sure, sir.”

“Me-dammit. I warned those guys not to eat my animals unless they were fully cooked. Didn’t I? No one listens to me anymore.” He throws the remote on the couch, walks to the frat boy fridge next to the TV and grabs a beer. “You know, when I set up this operation I didn’t specifically tell people not to eat animals — I wanted to give them some free will — but I made it difficult. Didn’t I?”

“You did, sir.”

“I had all these ridiculous rules about what you could eat, what you couldn’t eat. Shellfish was a no-no if I recall. Something about cloven hooves, I forget. No pigs. That was in there, right?”

Keith nods.

“I thought they would take the hint to cut down on animal consumption, eat more veggies and grains, but they didn’t. You can only do so much, you know.” He slumps into the couch cushions. “That Dr. Fauci fellow, is he in charge? I gave him so much freaking experience and wisdom.”

Keith cleared his throat. “Well, sir, at first people listened to him like a… a… god. No offense.”

“None taken.”

“But then people were all worried about money and wanted to get back to work before they should… People started to discredit him, he got death threats, they waved guns around… it was a whole thing.”

“But at least everyone’s wearing masks and keeping their distance, right?”

“Not exactly. Most of your children are working hard at staying safe but, as usual, the Americans… they’re the problem.”

“Let me guess. They claim that I will protect them, so they don’t need to wear masks. And they won’t wear masks because of being made in My image, and they don’t want to hide My creation… yadda, yadda. Same old bullshit.”

“Uh, something like that,” Keith says, as he opens the drapes.

“Did you talk to my Son or any of the prophets? What’s their take?”

“They were waiting for you to return. We called you several times.”

“I turned off the ringer. I’m entitled to some ‘Me’ time. What’s the prayer count?”

“Off the charts. We brought in some temp angels.”

God stares out the window. “OK, here’s what we’re gonna do. All the first responders, doctors, nurses, truckers, teachers, all of them, they win the lottery, their kids get college scholarships, they live to be old and healthy. You know the drill. The assholes doing bad shit in my name…”

“Say no more, sir. I will take care of it.”

Keith turns towards the door when the boss asks, “When are the Lakers going to play again?”


Larry Kahaner has been a serious writer and journalist for decades. Now he’s not — serious, that is.

‘Quality,’ not ‘Quantity’ of Infections is How I Judge my Work, Says Kevin the Coronavirus

By Larry Kahaner

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This article first appeared in The Haven.

Me: I am honored that you chose me among all other journalists to be your first interview. Why me?

Virus: You’re not wearing a mask. I find them offensive. Can we move a little closer?

Me: Umm, okay. Mr. or is it Ms. Coronavirus, tell me a bit about yourself.

Virus: Please, call me Kevin. We are asexual, by the way, and Kevin is a nickname that I prefer instead of Coronavirus which sounds pompous to me. I’m not anything special. I work hard, I evolve. I like to think that I’m giving a 110% when I’m out there in the field.

Me: But you’re a novel virus. That means you’re new and never seen before.

Virus: I’m not out there alone. It’s a team effort. All of us viruses — and a shout-out to my bacteria colleagues — we’re all out there just doing the best that we can. Working together to infect mankind. Wait, is that offensive? Do you say humankind now?

Me: Either is fine. Did you always want to be a virus?

Virus: Yes, ever since I began replicating. It’s in my RNA, so to speak. My great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great-grandfather, was responsible for the 1918 Spanish Flu. As a youngster, I would sit and listen to his stories about how he spread chaos and death. It inspired me to be the best parasite that I can.

Me: He was responsible for 25 million deaths. Is that your goal?

Virus: If only. (Laughs) I sit on the shoulders of giants. If it weren’t for those who came before, none of us viruses would be here. Lookit, my second cousin, once removed, H1N1, my half-sister Ebola, and HIV — I think he’s like a distant relative through my mother’s side but I haven’t done the genealogy — they’re all winners in their own right. They paved the way for microbes like me. You asked me about infection rates, so I’ll be honest with you. I don’t look at the numbers. Sure, they’re a measure of success. I know that humans are obsessed with the count. I get that. Hell, CNN has a daily tally, but I’m more interested in the quality of my work.

Me: Quality?

Virus: Sure. You want to display some verve, some joie de vivre, you know, something special. I’m proud of how my viral spike peplomers enter the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 receptor. I’m also particularly delighted at how I can spread even when my host is asymptomatic. Truth be told, it’s my best feature, and I don’t mind saying so.

Me: Can you give our audience an example of viruses that don’t quite meet your obviously high standards?

Virus: Let’s be clear. I don’t set the standards. It’s you humans. If it weren’t for you, we’d be stuck inside bats or pangolins. But since you asked… I know that I’m not going to make any friends here… but take Norovirus. Her husband and I have been pals since we were kids. I was best man at their wedding. She has since cheated on him, but that’s another story. What do you have with Norovirus, some diarrhea, vomiting, and that’s all well and good but how many deaths? A few hundred, and it’s cruise ship people for heaven’s sake. I don’t like to brag but I’ve infected heads of state. That Boris Johnson fellow, for instance. I turned that guy around. Nobody with Noro was singing from their balconies in Italy.

Me: Sounds like you don’t like Norovirus.

Virus: Look, she should live and be well. We all have our jobs to do but she gives a bad name to the rest of us with high R-naughts who are causing worldwide chaos. That’s all I want to say on that. I’d like to keep personalities out of it. Do you think you can move a little closer?

Me: What’s next for you?

Virus: I’m just going to keep on doing what I’m doing. I show up every day and do what’s expected of me. Things may slow down a bit for me during the summer but I’ll be back in the autumn. I got a call the other day from seasonal Influenza and we’re working on a… I don’t know exactly what you call it, kind of a partnership you might say. We’ve got some routines to work out but I think it’s gonna be a real showstopper. Team work make the dream work.

Me: Our time is up. Thanks for coming into the studio.

Virus: My pleasure. I hope we’ll talk again. Let’s shake on it.

Larry Kahaner has been a serious writer and journalist for decades. Now, he’s not — serious, that is.

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