A large man stands handcuffed, surrounded by six police officers by the side of the road. Nearby two citizens have their iPhones out recording. The man does not mince his words. "I'm going to kill all of you. I hate cops. I'm going to eat you. You're gonna be in my belly."
It is clear that this man is having a manic episode. He will not shut up. On and on, he goes about the horrible things he's going to do to. "Give me back my guns! I already took my drugs! Now let me go!"
The guns it seems are two plastic toys with flashlights taped to them with masking tape. "I'm going to kill every motherfucking last one of you."
I walk up to an officer to get the story. "Have you dealt with him before?" she asks. "This is not unusual for him."
I don't recognize him, but he is not unfamiliar at the same time.
I nod and then approach him.
"Look at what they doing to me," he says. "I'm going to kill them and eat them!"
"You like drugs?" I say. "How about Ativan? I'm going to give you some benzos. They'll make you feel a whole better."
"I already had my drugs!"
"More the merrier," I say. "I give you a shot in the leg, tiny needle, no pain. You'll feel better and we can get you out of these cuffs."
"Take me to the hospital," he says. "But my guns are coming to."
"We'll put them in your bag."
He takes the shot – I give him 10 of Versed in his thigh. He takes it like a champ. It takes a little while, with pushing and prodding, to get him on the stretcher, and he keeps jabbering away. We get his two bags and put them on the back of the stretcher.
I ask the cop to take his cuffs off. "He's agreed to behave, isn't that right?"
The cop looks dubious, but I don't want this guy lying on his wrists. I am counting on the Versed and my own powers of persuasion to keep him distracted, and keep him from wrecking any havoc on me.
The cuffs come off and he doesn't take a swing, though he keeps up the verbal barrage about how he hates cops and will come back and kill them all for his dinner.
He doesn't stop talking in the ambulance, but at least he is not aggressive towards me.
"You know who I am," he says, as he reaches into his bag and pulls out a long wig of purple hair, which he sets on his head.
"You're Rick James!" I say, referencing the 70's funk star, who he has become the spitting image of. "Super Freak, Super Freak," I sing.
"No, man I am death. D-E-A-T-H. You know who lives in my wrist?" He points to a large scar.
"Jesus Christ. He lives in my wrist. He comes and smokes weed with me in the mirror at night."
"Interesting," I say.
"You look stressed."
"Well, all this COVID stuff has me a bit drained."
"You know where COVID came from?"
"No, it came from my right eye ball. I set it loose on the world cause I'm death. D-E-A-T-H."
"Are you planning to summon it back to your eyeball?"
"No, I got a girl staying there right now. My soul sister. I'm getting mine." He punches his fist against his hand several time rapidly. "You follow?"
"I think so."
"We all got soul sisters in our eyes. You, too! Don't tell your wife about her." He makes that motion with his fist and hand again. "Get yours."
"Maybe you could make some room in the other eyeball and get that corona back in there somehow."
"You look stressed," he says, again. "You should quit this job. Go buy yourself some weed, smoke it in the mirror and talk to Jesus Christ. Then go get yourself a good job. Go work at Stop and Shop. Take the load off, you're old.
He ends up four pointed in the psychiatric wing.
When I punch out, my partner says if it works out for me at Stop and Shop, maybe I can get him a job, too.
I am feeling old. The COVID quarantine with the swimming pool and gyms closed, my workout routines have gone to seed. I find myself sitting in front of the TV most nights, and when I watch TV I need to be eating. I have gone from raw vegetables and berries to bags of potato chips and Oreos. My pants are starting to feel tight. I do exercise with my daughter. We film part of a one on one game we play. I realize she is getting by me not just because as a twelve year old, she is quicker me than me, she is getting by me because I am slow.
I am an old man with a bent back and a shuffle to his step it seems. A friend at the hospital tells me with my lack of a haircut, my thinning hair on top, and my corona mustache, I look like David Crosby. I don't think he means this in a good way.
I waiver back and forth from I already had COVID-19 (either I had it in the end of January/early February when I was so sick or I got it on the job and didn't have any symptoms other than the general symptoms of being 61 or I had it and was completely asymptomatic—how could I not get it doing the calls I am doing with the PPE I am wearing if this thing is infectious at all) to it is only something people in nursing homes, prisons and group homes with major medical problems need to worry about to being concerned the ache in my bones, the slight sore throat, the cough a little worse than normal, are the beginning of the end for me. Maybe I will be one of the ones the germ sinks its spikes into as it climbs down into my lungs and makes waste of me.
I'm not sleeping so well. I am trying to eat better and work out more, but like tonight when I came home, I was tired and outside it was cold and windy and damp. I ended up just taking the trash out. I had several trips with it because tomorrow the garbage truck comes. That was my work-out for the day.
I am watching TV now and trying to make sense of what I'm seeing. Today the President ordered meatpacking plants ridden with the virus to re-open. The Vice-President visited a hospital and wouldn't wear a mask. The Dow Jones was up another 532 points. You would think this thing was over, that it was all going to be sucked back up into D-E-A-T-H's eye.
Something doesn't seem right.