Paranoia sets in. And I know I’m not supposed to be paranoid. It’s not rational, but it’s like telling a homeless person, to get well. Locked up, stocking up, waiting for the world to return to normal. Visiting the necessary places, only when absolutely necessary, as my world shrinks into my shriveled mind. Who was the last person I talked to, other than myself? And nobody knows and nobody cares.

KNOCKING. Who could be calling? I walk on quiet footsteps to check, and my email bings. Dear sir, our previous tenant wants his mail. We suspect it wound up in your box. Please return it, as soon as possible.

But I tossed his mail, the day I found it. Best not to say anything. I don’t know the mail laws, but I suspect I committed a federal offense, waiting for the officers to arrive, imagining so many scenarios, lying in bed, clutching my grandfather’s pistol, pretending to be asleep.

FURTHER KNOCKING. My body shaking. Tremors. People who bring disease. I have nowhere to go. Get out. Get out. But I don’t say the words. And the manager turns the key in the lock. And the strangers enter, while I lay in bed, frozen. They reach my doorway, with my arm stuffed under my pillow.

“Mr. Udall?”

“Out! Out!” I scream. But they don’t move. So, I level my piece at their heads and fire. Brains cover my kitchen counter and flop into the sink. The smell of gunpowder lingers, as I start cleaning and mopping, wrapping the corpses in a towel, disposing the invaders in the dumpster. Armageddon is here! They’re coming. They’re coming…

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