The Silver Lining


The plague. There hasn’t been such a worldwide global phenomena as this since the Black Death. Or perhaps syphilis, or the Spanish Flu epidemic after World War One. But of course all of them were a while ago and have faded from popular memory, leaving Covid-19 as the new grand champion. But for all the palaver, the expert opinions ad nauseam and the the deranged Presidential tweets, I think there’s more to be said and some important questions to be asked – even if there’s no way they’re likely to ever be answered. Be aware though, I think the disease Covid-19 is real, sometimes fatal and a naturally occurring virus. I don’t think it is the product of a germ warfare laboratory (it’s not lethal enough), or part of a vast conspiracy (the obvious conspirators show no signs of sufficient intelligence). While it must be acknowledged that the virus has lowered oil prices to unprecedented levels (today, crude oil prices actually moved into negative figures with the holders of crude actually [*paying] to have the stuff taken away!). Perhaps co-incidentally the winner here is China who is the world’s leading producer of renewable energy products from Solar panels to wind turbines. This is probably icing on the cake to any conspiracy theory type who is already squinting suspiciously at China simply on the basis of the virus’ origin and the fact that the Chinese are well, Chinese.

At the beginning of this article I said there were several important questions that remained unanswered. In no particular order;

The virus first appeared in several locations, Wuhan China, (where the Chinese attempted to keep it secret as long as possible), the United States and Iran. It then appeared in various cruise ships – how are these locations linked? Are they random? Did various Chinese stop in to the Wuhan market for a quick meal of bat curry before deciding on a whim to go on an invigorating ocean cruise? (presumably to test their increased sexual vigour from their bat-curry) or a road trip to Iran for some reason? The Chinese blamed “American soldiers” for releasing the virus in Wuhan (claim rendered dubious by their secretive initial attitude to the outbreak). Trump very quickly stopped flights from China (after it was already rather too late).

So we have a highly dynamic situation, the flux known as the 21st century. At one moment, we have Chinese “wet marketers” industriously chopping up bats for tea and infecting market-goers one-way or the other, by blood spray or bat curry, in droves. The market-goers probably still cheering their bat curry, suddenly remember urgent business in the United States, or in Iran, or that they’re late back on their cruise ship – though the nearest seaport to Wuhan is Shanghai – at 600 miles distance, a little far for a day excursion. But seemingly within days multiple cruise ships were infected and travelling in every possible direction.


It must be said that a cruise ship is the perfect location for a virus. Thousands of people packed into a confined space breathing piped air in small cabins. Over the last few decades there have been more than a handful of ships suffused by airborne viruses -usually of the gastro intestinal variety. The usual outcome being the cruise line attempting to keep it all quiet and offering their weakened veterans another cruise of the same value by way of compensation. As far as I am concerned, I am a writer of fiction by trade and I’ve thought for years that cruise ships make for a really excellent terrorist target. True germ warfare is a bit beyond the budget and technical achievements of most terrorists but the Aum Supreme Truth managed to make Sarin Gas, spread it (shambolically) in the Tokyo subway back in 1995 – my guess is that a similar amount of gas in a cruise ship’s air conditioning at night – the casualty rate would have been far higher – which would have made that fat pervert Shoko Asahara happy – if he hadn’t been hung. Too sad.

So, rhetorical questions: How did the virus end up on multiple cruise ships in multiple places? Was it some kind of evil plot, or as simple as someone coughing a lot and not covering their mouth in the Shanghai cruise terminal (assuming of course that there is such a place). By the same logic it doesn’t require infected people travelling directly from Wuhan to the U.S by plane (though I’m sure there were some) all it takes is a few big infected sneezes in the right airport terminal.

At this point I should probably say “Drat; I’ve dispelled my own conspiracy suspicions”
and follow that realisation up with one of my favourite sayings – a variation on Occam’s razor;

”Never attribute to malice that which is more easily explained by simple stupidity.”

Or, I suspect in this case, simple bad luck. A conspiracy theorist would say that after the first few cases showewd up in Wuhan, the Communist Party kept it quiet just long enough to export a few infected people by plane, to the U.S.A by way of sharing the damage to their respective economies – but I think a more likely explanation, is that the Chinese, like any other large bureaucracy, always err towards caution, secrecy and maintaining the status quo. While they were doing this normal travel between Wuhan and the U.S and Europe did the rest. I think that the massive outbreaks in Italy and Spain are do to their attractiveness as tourist destinations; Madrid has the Prado and Rome is well, Rome. London too, had a particularly nasty outbreak; I might even guess that some tourist ran up and touched the door of Downing street, before scuttling away, giggling – thereby infecting Boris Johnson.

The astronomical death toll in New York is, I surmise the disease running rampant through the homeless community. I’m led to this conclusion by the way the N.S.W. State Government suddenly decided to start housing the homeless in Hotel rooms, in a act of kindness so totally removed from their normal penny-pinching sociopathy as to cause serious doubts as to their sanity and party credentials. But less homeless people freezing in the streets at night, as far as I am concerned, this is the silver lining in the Corona virus cloud.

The Virus Poem

time has come, the cripple said, to talk of many things,

Of news and shit, and screaming quacks,

Of lies and naked kings

The virus first came from China, they said, where nasty people were, and deserved it.

Cruelty reaped its just deserts they said, and their pointing fingers remained steady; “Rubbish” the chinamen retorted, “the shit was probably brought by U.S. soldiers, in what what amounts to war!”

Though no-one listened, the cripple wondered why no-one else had noticed how the virus had appeared first not just in China but also in Iran; two countries with a common enemy, now with common symptoms a fever and a cough, with snot, but really only for the lucky few, who flew around in planes, in cattle class breathing each other’s noxious  vapours, up close for days on end.

”of course, Cripple” the gerbil said.” If they were really old, and already half dead, all bets were off for getting better – they’d as like as not pop their crocs from it as something else. “

“It isn’t much of a bio weapon then” the Cripple said relieved, since despite his mighty bluster his heart was perhaps too kind.

“You’ve missed the main symptoms of the sickness dear Spazz”, said the gerbil and her voice was kind. ”Shut down air travel. The Police to have far more powers. states of emergency in Victoria with police on high alert in face-masks.”

“I think I’ve got it now”, the cripple said, he really felt quite sick.

(C) Alex Rieneck 2020