“Swut they call a catch 22, I reckon,” Harry said to the attractive doctor who was currently taking his blood pressure in response to why he still drank so much. “Booze got me on the street. But it also makes it bearable.”
Harry smiled. Sometimes he forgot how the last decade and a half years living under bridges and tents had left his teeth, on the inside he was still that shaggy haired fella that could make the girls swoon with his guitar. And twenty years ago, this doctor was the type of lady he would’ve bought a beer for. He didn’t much like the question, but he knew she was a genuine and good person, because she didn’t have to volunteer for this shit detail. The teeth were rough, but he still had a sparkle in his eyes.
“Speaking of booze, you wanna col’ beer, Doc? Well, cold enough, anyway,” he asked.
“No,” she said firmly.
“Good person, bad small talker,” Harry thought to himself.
"You know about this Corona Virus?” Asked the doctor.
“Heard rumblings,” he said. “Swhy we ain’t getting no money at the intersections and offramps, swut I’m hearing.”
“Well, it's Pandemic.”
“Sounds epic,” he said.
“It’s certainly unprecedented, at least in this country.“
"Well, am I in danger or something?” He asked.
“How old are you, sir?”
“Harry,” he said.
“How old are you, Harry?”
The doctor was taken back. She would have guessed he was pushing 70.
“You’re not in the high risk category.”
Harry chuckled. “Maybe not for this virus, I’m not.”
“Truth is,” the Doctor continued, “What we’re trying to do is just flatten the curve. And so, we are attempting to use social distancing techniques to keep the virus from spreading.”
“Social distancing, huh? Said Harry, and sort of chuckled again. “I’ve been participating in social distancing for a while now. Nobody really comes near most of this crew, dahlin. Hell, you’re the only person I talked to all week, that don’t smell just a little like piss.”
“Well, here’s the issue, Harry. The disease spreads really easily. And, if it’s thriving in one area, it will continue to overwhelm.” “So wait, you’re not just talking about us giving it to each other, you’re talkin’ ‘bout us giving it to everybody else?”
“In a sense. What I’m talking about, is the reccomenndation for the entire country is to stay at home…”
“And we ain’t got no fuckin’ homes, right?” Harry interrupted. Then said, “Ok, Flatten the curve, I guess I can go hang down in a little spot by the Cumberland. I”m the only one ever goes there much.”
“The mayor has set up a shelter at the fairgrounds,” she said. “Beds are six feet apart. It will keep you safe.”
“And keep everybody else safe too, yeah?”
“That’s right,” she said.
Harry reached in his backpack and pulled out a can of Busch beer. He popped the top took a gulp and started to sing, “Straightenin’ the curve, flattening the hills, someday the mountain might get em but the law never will.”
“Take care of yourself, Harry.”
“Thanks, Doc,” he said and took another swig.
When she was out of hearing range and on to the next person, he chugged the rest of the beer and muttered, “What the hell has “everybody else” ever done for me?