- Tales of our Times: The Sneeze of Doom
Tales of our Times: The Sneeze of Doom
By Didi Gorman
The moment I sneezed I knew I was toast. Hundreds of droplets spritzed out of me, spraying my shopping cart, drizzling on the canned goods aisle, and sprinkling the only other customer who happened to be walking by the tuna shelf at that unfortunate moment.
He stopped in his tracks, eyes wide with horror. Then he narrowed his eyes, shot me a dirty look and snatched his cellphone out of his pocket.
Covering his mouth with the palm of his hand, he whispered into the phone, “Oh Hi, I would like to report a sneezer.”
Dang. The sneeze police would be here any moment. I’d better make a run for it.
I charged towards the exit but I was too late. A screeching sound came from a loudspeaker: ‘Alert! Alert! Alert! A sneezer on the loose! A sneezer on the loose!’
Two officers now burst into the store, fully armed, and headed in my direction. “Ma’am, you’re under arrest,” one of them announced. “You have committed the felony of sneezing in public. You have the right to remain silent. Anything you exhale – coughs, wheezes, sighs, and sniffles – will be used against you in the court of respiratory crimes.”
He was about to handcuff me when I gasped sharply. Upon this, he jumped back. “Back up everybody! Back up everybody! She’s spewing more droplets!” he yelled to a small circle of customers that had formed around the scene.
I was brought before a judge that same day. “Ma’am, you are charged with illegal use of a biological weapon against innocent civilian targets,” the judge said solemnly. “However, as a first-time offender, the court is willing to show clemency, and replace your prison sentence with a fine. A dollar for every droplet you have discharged. In addition, you will be sent to rehab, where you will learn to control the urge to sneeze.”
With that, the gavel was banged, and that was that.
I was ecstatic. A dollar for every droplet? That should amount to no more than twenty-thousand bucks, which, believe you me, is a very small price to pay compared to what would have awaited me behind bars. (Everybody knew what other respiratory convicts, such as coughers and throat-clearers, did to sneezers. They would blatantly hack in your face all day! I’m shuddering at the thought. )
I breathed a humongous sigh of relief. So humongous in fact, that it sounded more like a roar, to be perfectly honest.
And that’s how I wound up with ten years in the dungeon, no chance of parole…