Social Distancing


by John Yeo

  Old Ted leaned on his hoe, scratched behind his left buttock and sneezed. Suffice to say the aforementioned buttock was currently encased in a grubby pair of creased unwashed, gardening trousers that hadn’t seen a good laundering for weeks. Ted was in his late sixties, retired after a long colourful career he was set in his ways. Since Carrie his late wife had sadly passed away a good few years ago, he’d developed a solid routine. Today was the day of the allotment.
Ted was a shortish sort of a man, short and quite stocky with a pugnacious sort of a clean-shaved face. He sported a crooked nose that apparently had been altered in a few boxing matches during his schooldays.
Ted bent to pull out a few more pernicious weeds and felt a sharp pain, ‘Flip’, he exclaimed loudly, enough to send a scavenging Blackbird, two plots away flying high in the air with a squawk of alarm.
Just at that moment, Jim, his neighbour on the next plot arrived, ‘Hallo there Ted!’ he called from a good distance away. ‘How are you keeping? What do you think of this here, virus malarkey?’
Ted looked up and moved towards Jim.
        ‘Keep back! Keep your distance! Keep at least two metres away!’ Shouted Jim.
Jim had never managed to get rid of the authoritative tone of voice he’d developed during his long career as a Sergeant Major in the Army.
Ted, who was not one to  take much notice of anyone who raised his voice, stopped dead in his tracks at the urgency that was evident in this request.
       ‘OK! No need to get irritated; I may be a dumb leper, but I’m not flipping stupid.’
‘What do I think of an evil pandemic that is sweeping the world with people dying everywhere and enforced lockdowns?’
  Ted looked around at the simple beauty of nature spread out and unfolding all around them. Scratched his right buttock and continued, ‘I think the worlds inhabitants have been pushing the boundaries for far too long and the day of reckoning is not far away.’ Ted then sneezed again into the crook of his arm and pulled up a stray dock leaf root.
   Jim straightened his well laundered shirt collar, and adjusted his flat cap to a more jaunty angle and replied. ‘We all have to be careful Ted! These damn virus spores are everywhere. I hear one of the most powerful leaders in the world is advocating the injection of disinfectant into the body. I reckon that would be like injecting weed killer into the dung heap and spreading it all over the plot.’
  ‘That sounds like a good idea Jim. That would kill the weeds at the same time as feeding the vegetables and you may have touched upon a good way of introducing the disinfectant into the body without the need for a painful injection. Of course it may kill a few vegetables until an immune response is established. Sort of a high level trial and error basis without the need for applied Science.’
   ‘You could be right there Jim. Have a good day!’

Written by John Yeo ~All rights reserved.