ANTHRAX

We're all very scared about the persistent threat of Anthrax in our little town of Shoreline, WA., and today I went down to be fitted for my very first gas mask. It was quite difficult; my right hand is in a cast from over-enthusiastic flag waving but I finally managed to try on a mask that fits (see picture) and also brought a nice one home for my neighbor, Miranda Nussbaum (pronounced noose-bomb).


Was she grateful? Not hardly! She right away began croaking about things I don't want to hear, like, "Don't these dummies know that George I killed one million Iraqi children and now George II is going for two mil?"

"Now, Miranda," I said soothingly. I brought her her CARE dinner and we were dining together on her tiny balcony that overlooks the Shoreline Courthouse Building. We were watching the Mayor and his staff going in and out with petitions to escalate the war in Afghanistan in hopes of ending the depression in the U.S. (oops! I didn't mean to say the D-word; it just slipped out).

But Miranda wouldn't be soothed. She gulped her chicken soup greedily, saying, "Don't they know that when you kill innocent people, no matter how sweetly your government presents it to you, you are still subject to the laws of karma?"

"Now, Miranda!" I reproved, "what would you know about the laws of karma, you're a Jewish lady!" Then I laughed brightly to take the sting off my words.

"And another thing," she growled. "They interviewed a lot of psychiatrists on TV and most of them said: 'The men who destroyed those buildings were NOT psychotic.' Are those shrinks nuts? What is their definition of the word 'psychotic'? Mine is, any person who wants to do harm to others chronically. But those dolts--they can't define the words they use and they have no technology for curing anything at all; their cure ratio is exactly the same as for witch doctors, did you know that, Smarty-Pants?" (That's what Miranda calls me when I seem to be calmer and wiser than she is, which she hates.) "And they can haul you away and give you shock treatments or a lobotomy and destroy your brain in a heartbeat and the Government licenses them to do this--and they don't know a psycho from a turnip farmer, were you aware of that? I'm with Sam Goldwyn! Sam said 'Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.' What's for dessert?"

"No dessert till you finish your haddock cutlets," I reproved, chewing.

We ate in silence for a few minutes. Then Miranda said, "And they brag about how much they pray. Do you have any idea what God REALLY thinks of such hypocrites? Why, she told me--"

"Ready for your blueberry compote?" I called gaily on my way to the tiny kitchen. It's Miranda's favorite and serving it is the surest way I know to shut her big, blabbering mouth. We went to high school together you know, and the last thing she said before I left was: "This war stinks, do they think they are 'punishing' the men who blew up those buildings and who are safely dead, by raining bombs day and night upon innocent women and children and animals and pets? Think they give a fuck how many women we kill? Why those Fundamentalist goons hate and despise women, they are not only misogynists (like most people in this country when you scratch their surface) but are absolute gynophobes! Gynophobes? Look it up in your Funk & Wagnalls. It means they LOATHE women. They WANT women dead. We're doing them a favor by bombing women--Oh, you're leaving now? Thanks for the dinner, sweetie, see you tomorrow, this war stinks but I'm forced to agree with you that from my perspective up here on my tiny balcony, high school was worse."

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Novels:

I, Vampire
Read Chapter 1
Reviews on Amazon.com

Passing for Human
Read Chapter 1
Malzberg Review of Passing for Human


Columns:

An Orientation
Censorship in Our Time?
Anthrax
I See Dead People
The Elements of Disaster
Dog Park Incident
Florence of Arabia
Hannibal
PEOPLE SHOULD NOT SAY "YIPPEE"
The Silence of the Hacks
A Nutshell in India
Seatbelts
Sleep Tight, Ya Morons!
Spin Control
When This War is Over
Iraqi Children






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