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28 Days Later: The Swine Flu Epidemic

Day 1

Something strange is going on. There have been a few reported cases of some new, potentially unstoppable, virus sweeping the nation of Mexico. My grasp on geography is admittedly weak, but I'm pretty sure it's either just north of California or perhaps is on island right off the coast, though I also suspect it might be several miles above us, suspended by a series of helicopters. Regardless, I am confident that Mexico is close enough to me to warrant concern. Will monitor the situation closely.

Day 3

According to the news reports I'm pretty sure I read, the disease is spreading and no one, with the exception of many well-trained medical professionals, has any idea how to stop it. I am prepared to defend the Cracked office from the coming infection by any means necessary. The virus, at first just in Space Mexico, is now spreading to California. Also, it spreads completely without warning (or, as some "scientists" have speculated, through coughing and sneezing). Here at the Cracked offices, I've noticed some subtle changes in some of our vaguely Mexican employees, which could suggest infection or, as Shawn, our oppressive HR rep suggests, might just be in keeping with what he calls my "continued pattern of aggressive racial intolerance." Shut up, Shawn. I'd like to racially-intolerate him right in his stupid face. [Mental Note: Find out what those words mean.] As of now, the infection isn't spreading too quickly, but I'll keep my eyes open.

Day 6

Shawn made us sit through some kind of Infection Prevention and Treatment seminar, and it was a total waste of time. First of all, they want us to wash our hands, get this, every time we go to the bathroom. What am I, the Pope? The fucking Pope King? [Mental Note: If the virus wipes out human race, appoint self Pope. First order of Pope, make it a sin to be Shawn from HR.] Second of all, Shawn spoke like an inexperienced, pants-wetting bystander. He has no idea how to handle an infection of this magnitude. I've been preparing for a virus like this my entire goddamned life. I will take it upon myself to educate the rest of the office (except Shawn. Fuck that guy.)

[Enclosed, please find the "How to Prevent Swine Flu" flier posted around the office, complete with Mr. O'Brien's additions. He made this correction on all 55 fliers displayed in the building.]

Day 12

It is clear to me that the safety of this building and its inhabitants--minus fat Shawn--is a burden for me to bear. To that end, I've taken the liberty of permanently sealing up all of this building's exits. My coworkers resented this plan, but they're stupid and they don't even know. They'll come around, because this is the best course of action--it keeps the virus outside and, if anyone here is infected, we will be able to contain and destroy the infection without risk of it spreading to the outside world.

Day 13

Shit. Shit. The World Health Organization raised the pandemic (or whatever) threat level to five. Without knowing specifically what that means, I'm sure that blindly stocking up on shotgun shells and storing my urine in a jar is a solid plan. The time for quiet, listless men is over; level five (probably) means it is time for men of action to take control. To keep warm, I've taken to burning pictures of Shawn's children. Shawn objected, pointing out that the heat is still on. "Yeah," I told Shawn, "the heat is on, so watch yourself."

I don't know why I said that.

Day 14

All of my fears have been realized. One of our developers, Ian, sneezed today. He is almost certainly infected. If we're not careful, his infection will spread until we're all just a mindless, bloodthirsty, insatiable army of infected drones, feasting on brains for survival. Sweet, sweet brains. I'm going to have to talk with Ian, and if it's obvious that he's infected, I will, reluctantly, destroy his brain before the infection spreads. Despite all my training and preparation, I'm not confident I can follow through with this. This is a life I'm talking about. This will be the most difficult day of my life.

Poor, poor Ian.Day 14 (later)

Wow, holy shit that was easy, much easier than I thought it was going to be. I took the skin from Ian's face and made a hat for myself, to warn those infected that I am the destroyer of the virus, and also because I look good in fancy hats. Man, I feel alive. Still, I have to stay on my toes in case this virus--which the media is now calling "Swine Flu" and what the medical community is now calling "easily treatable and practically harmless for most Americans"--has spread to any of my other coworkers.

Day 20

More and more of my fellow employees are asking me what happened to Ian, a characteristic I've now added to the list of symptoms indicative of the Pig Virus. Shawn called the police like a big, fat baby, so I called him a big fat baby. He says as soon as they can get the doors open I'm going to be arrested for destruction of property, kidnapping and attempted murder. I said "We'll let history decide," and then I kicked him in the junk.

Day 23

I'm weaker every day, but I only slightly regret locking us in this building without food or water. A few more employees were (probably) infected with the virus, so I reluctantly dispatched them and even more reluctantly made a series of hats. I am the slayer of the infected, destroyer of the lost souls and manufacturer of fancy face hats. All those infected will run when they see me, because I'm so hella good at killing them.

Day 27

It's only me! It's only me, do you get that? I am the only one left in the office who wasn't either infected or a total dick who would probably eventually get infected on account of what a dick he is (Shawn). By my count, I've had to kill 23 of my employees. Twenty-three people I'd seen every day for years, 23 people with families, with ambitions. People who had kids, people who someday wanted kids. People who liked baseball. People who shopped at Target. And I had to carefully separate their heads and destroy their brains. Even by the 23rd, it never got any easier.

'Course it wasn't very difficult to begin with. A real walk in the park, for me, can't imagine it getting any easier.

Still, I don't know if I'll be able to hold them off much longer on my own. The rapid deterioration of my starving, thirsty, face-hat-covered body is matched only by the rapid deterioration of my (also face-hat-covered) mind. I keep sneezing and sweating, and I think I might be running a slight fever, so I want to head out and find a doctor. (Can't destroy a life-ruining virus if I have the flu, am I right?)

Luckily, I rigged this whole building up with a series of explosives a year ago (was supposed to be for a surprise party idea that fell through), and I am more than prepared to detonate it, even if it means running away and treating my own sickness. That's a sacrifice I'm prepared to make.

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Daniel O'Brien

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