On Thursday, the fourth of April, people started feeling depressed for no apparent cause. After two weeks it was evident that this was a worldwide problem, as people afflicted by the condition multiplied a thousand fold. In New Delhi traffic stopped in the main avenues as people got out of their vehicles and fell to their knees crying; in Japan the Prime Minister choked up in the middle of a speech and called for his mommy; and in Redgulch, Utah, Johnny Montana received a call from Butch Jones apologizing between sobs for being a bully in high school.
The Surgeon General held a press conference where he revealed, “After several studies we have concluded that the origin of the so called ‘Melancholy Virus’ is linked to a small town in northern Italy.” This actually didn’t help at all because, first of all, to finish his speech he needed a whole pack of tissues to be able to carry on, and second, because the people watching the live transmission were busy writing letters to missed lovers and friends and didn’t hear a word the Surgeon General said. Meanwhile across the globe the Italian town held a party to celebrate its international recognition, but unfortunately only three kids and one beggar attended the celebration.
The world slowed down; it had to adjust to the new reality. Some people tried using Prozac and other mood changing drugs but found themselves even more depressed when they found out that the medicine didn’t affect their virus-induced feelings. In certain cities the suicide rates quadrupled, and in others people were feeling so melancholic that they couldn’t even be bothered to try to commit suicide. Even though they had not been contaminated, the astronauts in the Space Shuttle felt nostalgic for earth but still preferred to stay in space.
Nineteen days after the outbreak medics were able to find two people who were immune to the virus, the so-called Romeo and Juliet specimens. When the appointed scientists were not sighing or staring at the horizon with a lost gaze they were able to make tests on these two unique individuals. After many trials and errors scientists created a vaccine.
Everybody stopped their activities to watch on TV or the Web how the first vaccine was administered, and all cried in unison when the first in line, a little girl, displayed the first smile anyone had seen in months.
Most people forgot about the pandemic in time; but some made the effort to remember it. In Redgulch, Utah, Johnny Montana kept recalling with nostalgia Butch’s phone call.
©2009 Santiago Casares