Latest posts by Beerguyrob (see all)
- Your “Never On Your Terms” Tuesday Evening Open Thread – September 17, 2019
- Your AM Gold Saturday Evening Open Thread – September 14, 2019
- Your “Gonna Avoid Puns Today” Wednesday Evening Open Thread – September 11, 2019
ESPN Headquarters, Bristol, CT
The first outbreak I saw was on television. It came from a dank & darkened hellhole on the east coast. “Bristol” they called it. I was stationed in New York, hired sight-unseen by the corporate overlords at “the campus”. Now, I was expected to make my first foray, and at that moment of realization I wish I had never heard of journalism school.
The broadcast center was quiet; it had been a slow night, even for the increasing number of drunk-driving athletes the off-season usually produces. Plus, with the League as-yet undecided when it comes to marijuana use, all one has to do is wait for the police scanners to report someone pulled over. Hell, “Maybe”, I thought, “I should turn on ‘Live PD’. That could turn into something.” That’s why I was so grateful for a quiet shift. I was tired, my back and feet ached.
I was on my way out to smoke a cigarette and watch the dawn when I heard my name being paged. The receptionist that night was new and couldn’t quite understand the dialect. Something was up with the on-air talent. It was an emergency, that part was obvious, and could we please send help at once.
I had a devil of a time finding the place. Officially, it didn’t exist and therefore wasn’t on any map. “Bristol” is not just a place, but a state of mind. I became lost several times and had to ask directions from locals who kept thinking I was in the wrong state and trying to find the NASCAR raceway.
I was in an impatient mood by the time I reached the sprawling complex. I remember thinking, This had better be damned serious.
Once I saw their faces, I regretted my wish.
There were seven of them, all in cubicles, all barely conscious. The janitors had moved them into their new communal meeting hall. The walls and floor were bare cement. The air was cold and damp. Of course they’re sick, I thought. I asked the janitors who had been taking care of these people. They said “¿Eres de inmigración? Nos pondrás en libertad?” I noticed that the door had been locked from the outside. The janitors were clearly terrified. They cringed and whispered; some kept their distance and prayed. To God? To Allah? To their Libtard overlord Killary? I cared not, for no deity walked the halls here, at least not any more.
Their behavior made me angry, not at them, you understand, not as individuals, but what they represented about our network. After centuries of foreign oppression, exploitation, and humiliation, we were finally reclaiming our rightful place as humanity’s middle kingdom. We were the world’s richest and most dynamic sports broadcaster, masters of everything from outer space to cyber space to ad space. It was the dawn of what the world was finally acknowledging as “The Sports Century” and yet so many of us still lived like these ignorant journalists, as stagnant and superstitious as the earliest racially divided sports leagues that nursed America through the Depression and World War Two.
I was still lost in my grand, cultural criticism when I knelt to examine the first reporter. “Dear God”, I thought to myself, “it’s Michelle Beadle! The network’s going to have a shit-fit if she goes off-air.” She was running a high fever, forty degrees centigrade, and she was shivering violently. Barely coherent, she whimpered slightly when I tried to move her limbs. There was a wound in her right forearm, a bite mark. At first, it appeared to be a spider 2 y banana bite. As I examined it more closely, I realized that it wasn’t from an animal. The bite radius and teeth marks had to have come from a small, or possibly rabid, human being. Although I hypothesized this to be the source of the infection, the actual injury was surprisingly clean.
I asked the janitors, again, who had been taking care of these people? More accurately, I asked them, “WHY THE FUCK DIDN’T YOU CALL AN ACTUAL DOCTOR?!” Again, they asked me, “¿Podemos ir a casa ahora?” Goddammit, I thought to myself, I knew this could not be true. Also, I don’t know Spanish.
The human mouth is packed with bacteria, even more so than the most unhygienic dog or Kardashian vagina. If no one had cleaned this woman’s wound, why wasn’t it throbbing with infection? And where were the perverts I knew who worked here and would gladly pay someone to lick this woman clean?
I examined the six other patients. All showed similar symptoms, all had similar wounds on various parts of their bodies. I asked one man, the most lucid of the group, who or what had inflicted these injuries. He told me it had happened when they had tried to subdue “him.”
I found “Patient Zero” behind the locked door of an abandoned recording studio in the basement. He was fifty-four years old. His wrists and feet were bound with plastic packing twine. He was writhing like an animal; a gag muffled his growls of “Anything goes on any given Sunday, especially Monday Night“.
At first the janitors tried to hold me back. They warned me not to talk him, that he was “cursed.” “Él es el diablo!” I understood that! – they thought he was the devil, or at least acting like him. And, I could see where they were getting that impression. His eyes were wild, wide and sunken back in their sockets. They remained locked on me like a predatory beast. Throughout the examination he was inexplicably hostile, reaching for me with his bound hands and snapping at me through his gag. His movements were so violent I had to call for two of the largest janitors to help me hold him down. Initially they wouldn’t budge, cowering in the doorway like baby rabbits. I explained that there was no risk of infection if they used gloves and masks. When they shook their heads, saying “Tu no eres un doctor“, I made it an order, even though I had no lawful authority to do so. I wasn’t a doctor or a medical technician – I was a Foley artist from New York.
But I sold that statement like I’d convinced that secretary I was on-air talent. That was all it took.
The two future deportees knelt beside me. One held the man’s feet while the other grasped his hands. I tried to take a blood sample, like how all those TV doctors do, because it seemed plausibly the correct thing to attempt, and instead extracted only brown, viscous matter. As I was withdrawing the needle, the man began another bout of violent struggling. One of my “orderlies,” the one responsible for his arms, gave up trying to hold them and thought it might safer if he just braced them against the floor with his knees. But the man jerked again and I heard his left arm snap. Jagged ends of both radius and ulna bones stabbed through his gray flesh. Although the man didn’t cry out, didn’t even seem to notice, it was enough for both janitors to leap back and run from the room. I instinctively retreated several paces myself.
I am embarrassed to admit this; I had been a “frat boy” for most of my college life. I was trained and . . . you could even say “raised” by the brothers of Phi Delta Theta. I’ve treated more than my share of “combat injuries”, faced my own liquid death on more than one occasion, and had convinced people I knew were blacked out that they had, in fact, been the life of the party.
Now I was scared, truly scared, of this frothing man in a frayed sun visor.
The man began to twist in my direction, his arm ripped completely free. Flesh and muscle tore from one another until there was nothing except the stump. His now free right arm, still tied to the severed left hand, dragged his body across the floor. I hurried outside, locking the door behind me. “Call the police!” I screamed at the cowering mass of janitors. Instead, they muttered “¿Policía?” and fled the facility, not caring that – by their actions – they had created one more Trump voter.
From inside, I could hear the one arm pounding on the door, a sullen metronome of despair. “For mankind“, I thought to myself. I’m not sure what happened next, but in the confusion I remember hearing one word,