The Days we Live

a story for our times

Most people seem to have heard of epidemiologists these days. That was what I trained to be, but currently I work for a multinational, analysing and sequencing DNA. I love my work, but I’m never going to get a Nobel prize. I am just one of many, a single drone in an army of scientists. All that I get are instructions to look into this, look into that. That’s how science is—you never get to know the whole picture.

In the spring of 2019, nobody was expecting Covid-19. Life was carrying on the way it always had. I was coming down with a cold that I couldn’t ignore for much longer. I rang my boss.

‘Hey, we can’t have you sneezing in the clean-room,’ he said. ‘Take enough time to recover, and then we’ll think whether it’s safe to take you back.’ He always made the same joke.

I decided to go to the local chemists to get a flu remedy, walking towards what passes for the high street round here, with its betting shops, charity shops and burger bars. That was the time that I first witnessed the strange performance.

Rita Draper Frazao

Rita Draper Frazão

A small cluster of people had gathered in front of a busker who was getting ready to start playing. I wandered over and stood at the back. You couldn’t call it a crowd or even an audience. It was just a few people drawn by casual curiosity—the way people will gather round to watch a paramedic treat an accident victim.

The musician was making elaborate preparations. He had hung a large sheet, fixed to some kind of scaffold structure that stood against the wall of the boarded-up building behind him. In the centre stood his saxophone, looking like a crucifix on an altar. It was placed on a stand which, in turn, sat on a low table, and beneath it, on the ground, lay a large, ceremonial embroidered red cloth. I was so absorbed in the spectacle that I forgot about my cold.

the story continues on the next page…..

14 thoughts on “The Days we Live”

  1. Hi Noel, well you certainly packed a lot into a short story! Really intrigued me, thanks.

  2. Very cleverly done, simplicity and complexity interwoven. Beautifully written, with a haunting meditative quality.

    Hope there will be more stories.
    Loved the Rita Draper Fracao artwork as well.

  3. tres interessant, meme fascinant…d une certaine facon un peu triste aussi ..mais cette historiette a fait vibrer en moi qqchose , je ne sais quoi..en tout cas ca fait du bien. Merci donc Noel . jhp

  4. Good story Noel….hope you’re keeping well, and presumably you’ll be seeing Yedo sometime in the not-too-distant future…and possibly his lovely extended family as well. Best wishes – Veryan

It's lonely round here - Leave a Reply