The message came down from on high. Everyone should wear a mask in public to prevent the spread of the vermin, the CDC said.
Salazar dutifully presented the advice of the nation’s health protection agency, then noted that it was only voluntary and that he wouldn’t be doing it himself.
Mister Pants wasn’t sure what to make of this. On the one hand, following health experts’ guidelines to prevent the decimation of the planet seemed like a fine idea. On the other hand, he, too, felt sort of silly wearing a mask around. What if world leaders wanted to visit him at his fancy desk in his square office?
Luckily, he lived with an artist.
The cat mask did it all. It covered the nose and mouth, the two dangerous areas. It gave him that false sense of security that comes with separating himself by 6 feet at the store until the crazy woman in the go-kart comes racing by. And, mostly it gave him the look of the guy in the movie wielding a chainsaw, ensuring that others would keep a safe distance away. Even the racing piñata seemed a bit wary.
He ran a couple miles at the bird park, which had become the go-to choice for people getting an early start on their Fourth of July festivities. He vowed for the millionth time to find a new place, one with fewer hammocks and more space.
And then he and Mo watched “Ferdinand,” which featured many animals, but no orange-faced baboons. What more could you ask of a movie these days?
He could feel the tension taking its toll, and this was only the beginning. For the first time, he felt truly uncertain. He supposed the vermin was like the newspaper. Focus on one day at a time. He set about trying to get the sit-com theme song out of his mind.
Tomorrow would be a new day. A new course. A new mask. A new chanllenge.
He wondered if the chainsaw store was still open …