I want to report a crime.
Here are the facts:
About a year ago, my 85-year-old mother was kidnapped by a gang of charlatans and dragged off to Coronavirus Neverland – whence, on her captors’ instructions, she’s been making frightened phone calls to me and other relatives ever since.
What did she say, you ask? Well, in one of the first of those calls, she warned me that I was never to bring my shoes inside my apartment. If I did, according to her kidnappers, something terrible would happen – to me, if not to her.
She also cautioned me against bringing my clothes inside the apartment once I had been exposed to the outside world. Instead, I was to shower and change after each walk or shopping trip. The kidnappers insisted, further, that I was to disinfect all my apartment’s walls and floors at least once each day. (I didn’t tell my mother that the drug store and supermarket shelves were practically bare of cleaning fluids in those days, as panicked shoppers grabbed everything they could carry for daily orgies of sterilization. Apparently, she wasn’t the only kidnap victim.)
As for my hands – well, they had to be scrubbed carefully every few hours, no matter how blistered they might already be from a day spent soaping, showering, sanitizing, mopping, shampooing and sterilizing everything in sight with whatever cocktail of disinfectants my mother’s captors had told her about the previous evening.
All this came garnished with a threat: if my mother and her family didn’t obey all of the kidnappers’ commands, no matter how absurd, we might never see her again.
That was a year ago.
Now things are even worse.