Home > Creative Writing Exercises, Social Networking, Writing > Three Words Musing 1: Bacon, Shortage, Blockade – Part III

Three Words Musing 1: Bacon, Shortage, Blockade – Part III

The third installment of a work in progress. All rights reserved!

***

The next day, Sandra Wald stood beside a slab bearing the corpse of a mottled brown and white cow that had been among the herd killed by some unidentified pathogen in Kissimmee. A veterinary pathologist from the University of Florida, Wald wore a bright yellow-orange hazmat suit and helmet as she recorded her findings of the autopsy.

“Subject is a 416-kilogram Guernsey cow from the Monmont Dairy Farm, identified for record-keeping purposes as Monmont No. 3,” she said, tracing a gloved finger along the dairy cow’s flank. “Belly manifests unusual distension, which could be evidence of prolonged starvation if not for the fact that the cow appears otherwise well fed and engorged with milk.” She tugged the cow’s ear upward, leaning close to examine. “Dark brown splotches along the inner ear suggest burst capillaries. Note: Remove brain in more advanced study to seek potential aneurysmal evidence.” She lifted the upper lip to review the gums. “Curious blue-purple coloration of the tissue indicates -”

Sandra Wald screamed as the cow suddenly lurched to life, snapping at her hand with nubby green teeth that still managed to penetrate the fabric of the glove and broke three fingers while piercing the pathologist’s skin. She dropped the cell phone that she was using to record the report and stumbled back, clutching the wounded hand as she moved clear of the beast’s thrashing hooves. The creature tumbled off the slab, bellowing hideously with eyes that now glowed a sickly yellow-green.

Sandra panicked. She didn’t want to remain in the chamber with this reanimated monstrosity. She quickly opened the airlock hatch, jumped through, and slammed it shut behind her to prevent the cow from following. The Guernsey slammed into the hatch with a willful intensity that she never would’ve expected from the normally docile creatures. WHAM! WHAM! WHAM! More furious bellowing, followed by further repeated impacts. Sandra’s broken hand throbbed as she watched blood spatter on the viewport. The cow shattered its own skull and finally collapsed on the floor.

The outer door to the lab hallway cycled open and her freshman assistant, a red-haired basketball scholarship student named Toby Beauchamp, rushed into the airlock to check on Sandra. He wore his orange and blue UF jersey, blue jeans, and high-top sneakers.

“What are you doing, Toby?” Sandra shouted. “You’re violating quarantine protocol! Where’s your suit?”

The young man frowned. “You’re hurt, Dr. Wald. That cow…what the hell?”

“Apparently, it wasn’t completely dead.” She held up the savaged hand in the tattered yellow-orange glove. “And I’ve been to exposed to whatever it had. Contact the CDC and the FDA while you’re at it. They need to recall that farm’s milk, just to be safe.”

***

Angeline Porter opened a fresh bottle of Monmont Farms milk and poured it into bowls of corn flakes for her sons, Evan and Lloyd Jr.

In the living room, Lloyd sat at the computer, surfing the web for job possibilities while he waited for responses to his email attempts to call in old favors for a new career. The severance package from the Orlando Press would hold the Porter family over for about six months. He could draw unemployment for a while after that, but Lloyd really didn’t think he could stomach it. He would just as soon go back to selling souvenirs near the whale stadium.

His wife put a hand on his shoulder and kissed him on the head. “Don’t worry too much about it, Lloyd. We knew this might be coming. We’ll be okay.”

He heard the gentle tinking of spoons against ceramic bowls in the dining room. “They don’t know yet, right?”

“Not yet,” she said.

“Good. We’ll tell them when there’s something to tell.”

“Have some breakfast,” Angeline said. “No arguments. Scrambled eggs? I’ll whip them up before I run the boys to school.”

Lloyd chuckled. “Fine. Bacon, too.”

“I’d never forget the bacon, dear. Milk or juice?”

“Juice,” he answered.

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