Covid Casualty

James was an over-achieving gregarious intellect. Last to leave the office party, pleasantly tipsy, never offensively drunk. Top salesman for too many quarters to count. Then Covid hit and the world cocooned itself.

Confined to his efficiency apartment months on end, ambition disappeared into vodka bottles. He wore the same sweats day and night. Sat slumped in a second-hand folding chair, computer on his lap. When called by HR for his end- of-year report, he slurred “I prefer keeping in mind even the possibility that existence has its own reason for being and in due time I will send you a profitable report.” To which the HR Director replied, “What???”

He slammed the phone down; slammed the computer screen shut and stood up swaying. Eyes bloodshot, James reached for a sixteen-ounce tumbler and the vodka bottle. Just another day in this godforsaken Covid world.

Pure fiction…..but I fear isolation has affected far too many in negative ways.

Written for Prosery Monday at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets around the globe. Today Merril asks us to include the line “I prefer keeping in mind even the possibility that existence has its own reason for being.” from the poem Possilibities by Wislawa Szymborska. In Prosery, we are given a line from a poem and must insert it within the body of our prose, word for word (although the punctuation my be altered), and the prose can be a maximum of 144 words, sans title. Most writers consider this a flash fiction prompt that includes a specific line of poetry. Photo from

26 thoughts on “Covid Casualty

  1. Nancy Jahnke March 8, 2021 / 1:20 pm

    Sad, but true?

    Sent from my iPhone



  2. sanaarizvi March 15, 2021 / 3:12 pm

    This is so hard-hitting and poignant, Lillian! 💝 Covid has completely changed the way we perceive things and has resulted in so many many causalities over the months.. sigh. Here’s hoping the world returns to normalcy soon.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian March 15, 2021 / 3:29 pm

      Amen to that! I think, in reality, the deaths from Covid have been excrutiating but the ripple effects of this disease, the loss of parents, grandparents, friends, relatives, children; the isolation of so many that has caused problems in and of itself; the learning lost by children across the globe; the businesses closed… has been devastating. This piece of fiction presents just one infinitesimal corner of problems caused by this pandemic. Vaccinations keep on a coming….they represent the light at the end of the tunnel!


  3. Linda Lee Lyberg March 15, 2021 / 3:18 pm

    So well written Lillian and I suspect this is a many times over scenario.Covid has change life as we know it forever.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. merrildsmith March 15, 2021 / 3:27 pm

    This was sad and chilling. I’m so pleased to read it was fiction–though like you, I could definitely see it as real. This was wonderful, Lillian!


    • lillian March 15, 2021 / 3:31 pm

      Thank you, Merril! I also believe there are so many “ripples” from this disease….I do think the isolation itself has caused many problems.

      Liked by 1 person

      • merrildsmith March 15, 2021 / 3:34 pm

        Yes, I’m sure it has. I know I’ve read domestic violence has increased (or suspected).


  5. msjadeli March 15, 2021 / 3:28 pm

    I think that those with the most attachments, and that attachment can be to anything, have suffered the most with covid emotionally. I feel most sorry for those who were already struggling in some way, physically or psychologically.

    Our former leader has been directly responsible for more deaths and tragedy than any other world leader that has ever lived.

    As the world has been strangled in darkness over these months, so too is it rising in the sunlight.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian March 15, 2021 / 3:32 pm

      Your comment is so well stated. I agree…..finally we have vaccines and finally there is a plan for the future to combat so many of the results of this disease. Sunlight is coming indeed.


  6. Ingrid March 15, 2021 / 3:41 pm

    Oh yes, I can imagine this happening! I’m so pleased I quit drinking before the pandemic happened… I like the way you managed to weave the prompt in seamlessly, which was not an easy thing to do at all!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian March 15, 2021 / 3:55 pm

      Thank you, Ingrid. Well I must be hones….I have enjoyed my evening glass of chardonnay most especially as these months of reclusiveness have worn on. But I’ve stayed with one glass….Perhaps when we get our second shot next week, we’ll celebrate with a martini! But sadly, I do think behind closed doors, there have been many casualties of many types from this year of Covid. I pray the vaccinations distribution speeds up, becomes more equitable, and the world reaches herd immunity. When one looks at history, I don’t think there was any politicization of the polio vaccine. It’s just criminal that wearing a mask and getting the vaccine has been taken out of the realm of public health and put into a political context.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ingrid March 15, 2021 / 3:58 pm

        Criminal is the right word for playing with people’s lives for profit.


  7. Björn Rudberg (brudberg) March 15, 2021 / 3:52 pm

    I think you are right… isolation wears you down, the only way of coping for me, is a very strict discipline on everything, eating, sleeping and working…

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian March 15, 2021 / 3:57 pm

      Your comment about strict discipline on everything made me smile. I have a day planner (I’ve used one even since I rejuvenated – never say retired). And for the last year every day I write in “Pills, water 1, water 2, shoulder exercises, exercise, treadmill,’ and some days “clean bathrooms, clean study, read dVerse, write and post poem, etc”…..If I don’t write things down I can check off, no matter how mundane, I feel like I’m just wallowing. So I understand exactly what you’re saying here!


  8. kim881 March 15, 2021 / 4:24 pm

    You’ve hit the nail on the head with your piece, Lill, and I can imagine people identifying with James. The pandemic has been hard on all of us, with some coping a little better than others.


  9. rogblog666 March 15, 2021 / 5:22 pm

    hard hitting and true for to many people.!!


  10. rothpoetry March 15, 2021 / 6:57 pm

    Well done Lillian. Isolation does strange things to the mind as you have shown so well in your story. Sadly this scenario is one of them.


  11. robtkistner March 15, 2021 / 7:38 pm

    Lillian, right on. This is extremely well written. Isolation is exhausting. My entire attitude has lifted now that I have both vaccinations, and know for certain that, first time in a year, I will be able to safely leave my home.


  12. Tricia Sankey March 15, 2021 / 9:16 pm

    The line worked so well in this story!! Clever how you weaved it in there. It may be fiction, but it’s still so real, it probably is happening to some salesman, if not many salesmen, out there, who are wired to be social more than others and have fought the demon of the bottle. We have to get back to normal soon and praying the vaccines do get us back there. 🙏


  13. ben Alexander March 16, 2021 / 4:59 am

    Lillian, I have no way of knowing, but you might be a genius.



  14. Mary (tqhousecat) March 16, 2021 / 3:46 pm

    I am glad this is fiction for you, but unfortunately, for some it is reality. It is nice to focus on the pisitives, but negatives are never to be ignored. Good job!


  15. Mish March 17, 2021 / 3:46 pm

    So many rippling effects from this virus…and so much is still our choice in how we react. Unfortunately for many it has caused so much change in their world that even basic survival is a task. I hope this whole situation broadens the light on mental health.
    A very vivid write, Lil.


  16. purplepeninportland March 18, 2021 / 8:04 pm

    This is so well done, Lillian. I would not be surprised to see this effect in many people,
    particularly over-achievers.


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