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Moment of Truth: The Fall of Gary the Gray

Welcome to the Moment of Truth: the thirst that is the drink.

The virus came to the lumpy orange buffoon at midnight, Eastern Daylight Savings Time. “Who are you?” asked the human insult.

“I am Covid-19.”
“Well, I’m Donald 45. The best president America has ever had.”

Then the virus got into bed behind the self-import flatulence and spooned up nice and close to his blobby carcass.

“If I don’t touch my face, you can’t hurt me,” said the chief executive idiot. “And I never ever touch my face,” he added, touching his face.

Meanwhile, all across the land, people were either coughing, or listening to someone else cough with dark foreboding. There was nowhere to escape to. Italy was closed. China too. The sandy echoes of coughing capered around among the population, like a million snakes with the legs of goats, the little goats who caper in the little goat capering videos. Echoing layers of coughs, a palimpsest of coughs, a sneeze, and coughs dancing around the sneeze, as far as the ear could hear, as far as the heart could fear.

Covid-19 hissed softly into the overbaked narcissist’s earhole: “Listen. The children of the night, making phlegmy music. Those symptoms are the offspring of your denial.”

“No they’re not,” squeaked the executive putrescence, his voice quivering like a statue sculpted from butt fat and bad cholesterol. “No denial. No denial. Denial no.”

The words “denial no” echoed away into the diseased and polluted world, folding itself in amidst the cacophony of sickness, a worm in the labyrinthine tunnel of a collective intestine. Somewhere in the darkness, Joe Biden punched a voter in the face.

Salvos of gunfire percolated across the farm belt. It was farmers, tilling their fields at night to avoid the instant melanoma sunshine brought, harrowing the fields with automatic rifles. At one point, the clown president had issued a clown presidential order banning all technology except guns, creating crises of impracticality so numerous and severe that the order had to be rescinded within five minutes of its proclamation. Such an extravagant taste of the Second Amendment, however, engendered a heady rush of patriotism in the people, and they refused to give up many of the new practices they’d instantly adopted, citing the inviolability of venerable tradition.

In the cities, packs of feral health care workers, long unpaid, terrorized the streets. They all carried diseases picked up from their patients, Covid-19 being only the most prevalent contagion. There was Ebola, measles, Legionnaires’, SARS, TB, rabies, trench mouth, and kennel cough. The lay populace hunkered in fear as gangs in scrubs, self-segregating by institutional color, colloidal bismuth pink, cinder block green, Necco wafer gray, moribund blue, swarmed the dumpsters and looted the shops in search of what vestiges of food, toilet paper, and hand sanitizer remained.

Canada closed its southern border. The wall at the border with Mexico had been so cheaply made, thanks to contractors pocketing most of the cash, halva never crumbled so easily. In the moonlight slouched its silhouette of ruin, a papier-mâché Parthenon left overnight in the rain. Texans lacking health insurance stole into Mexico, felled as they emerged on the southern bank of the Rio Grande by machete-wielding, hazmat-suited Central American refugees and other thwarted migrants, out-of-work smugglers with rifles, and sundry other guardians of the as-yet- relatively-unaffected Latin quarter-hemisphere.

Out on the high seas, one of Betsy DeVos’s stray yachts drifted, rolling up crests and sledding down into troughs, unmanned and derelict, an uncanny conceptual art portrait of its owner’s intellect. A lone gray whale rose to the surface, took a look around at the vast, swelling and slithering ocean, opened its mouth, and coughed.

Back at the White House, the virus’s voice slipped into the ear of the blemish in chief like a cursed Japanese girl sucked over the lip of a well and down into emptiness: “I will take your family members one by one.”

“Start with Eric.”

“Then each of your friends will fall to me.”

“Joke’s on you. I don’t have any friends.”

“Then the voters. First to die will be the old and infirm.”

“Good, I prefer the young and firm.”

“By then, the bulk of the nation will have expired. Your base will be especially hard hit, thanks to your rallies. By election day, though, all that will be left will be children.”

“I’m very good with children. Children love me more than any other person. I am their favorite. I’ll lower the voting age to four.”

“They’re all going to vote for Bernie.” “Crazy Bernie will still be alive?”

“Why are you surprised? If you’re still alive, anything is possible. And the Senate has very good health care. But the CPAC vectors will take out the GOP in both houses. You are destined to be the worst, most incompetent, losingest president in the history of the United States.”

“Is there anything I can do to get popular with the kids? I mean, besides the Nazi dog- whistling?”

“I’m only telling you this because I feel sorry for you, and because you’ll never be able to accomplish it: you should become friends with Gary.”


“Gary the Gray. The gray whale. Gary the coughing whale. Kids on Instagram love him.”

“How am I supposed to make friends with an ocean-going, I guess some people call it a fish, but they’re wrong, they don’t know it’s technically a mammogram – I can’t even swim. I mean I can, very well, in fact, I’m better than Aquaman, but I don’t like it.”

“You have to go on Instagram.” “I prefer Twitter, obviously.” “He’s not on Twitter.”

“What kind of fish doesn’t have a Twitter account?”

“A popular one. Look.” The virus produced his cell phone and reached around from behind the executive spillage’s ample buttocks to show him. The screen’s glow illuminated a shaken, unhappy, deflated jack-o’-lantern of a man. “He was up to 6.5 billion followers, now down to three. Oop, two. Oop, one billion. Uh oh.” Together they watched the numbers tumble, 500 million, 100 million, 40 million, 6 million and plummeting.

Outside, the sounds of panic, violence, and chaos fell away like the feathers and beak of a Chernobyl chicken. All that was left was silence sparsely sprinkled with coughing, the lonely pertussis percussion once heard after speeches by Jeb Bush before he wised up and started begging for applause.
Everything was damped under a swiftly-falling blanket of silence. It seemed the world had died.

Then a delicate hiss arose, and strengthened, fattened, grew rich with jangling and rattling like a trillion saltshakers shaking simultaneously. Just cockroach choirs, at first, but soon it was a chitinous chorus of every bee, wasp, beetle, cricket, mite, flea, fly, and mosquito, singing, as one, their grateful prayer to the 4 Horsemen of Disease, Toxin, Radiation, and Human Stupidity, a prayer of praise for delivering the apocalypse.

This has been the Moment of Truth. Good day!

Moment of Truth


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