Sergio Cilla is introducing Tales of the Chesapeake, a collection of short stories that will certainly lead to reflection. Today, The Man Without a Temperature, a man without a semblance.
Art: Stefano Bonazzi
The Man Without a Temperature
Alan saw the girl with the thermometer in her hand and a sinking feeling overpowered his body .
-Why don’t you go first? I can wait in the car -Alan said to his daughter.
-Dad! We are all so excited! It’s the first day the mall is open. You are not going to wait in the car -Denise said with determination and grabbed his father by his arm, pushing him and her kids on the line.
Alan had left Homer, his home town in Alaska, three months before. He had never travelled to any other place in his life and he had decided to visit his only daughter and grandchildren on the Eastern Shore of Maryland when he retired.
He had arrived in Claiborne, a small town on the Chesapeake Bay, a week before the social distancing measures went into effect. He knew this was a small isolated area, and he thought he would be safe.
-Ninety-eight point three, next! -shouted indifferently the girl who was in charge of the admissions to the building.
She cleaned the tip of the devise, pressed it against Alan’s forehead and looked immediately puzzled. After she tried a second time, she changed the batteries, and got even more confused. She asked Alan to step aside.
The following minutes were chaos and confusion. Alan tried to run away and the girl called security. Denise could not figure out what was going on.
Alan had always feared this moment, and what other people’s reactions could be. That is why he had never seen a doctor in his almost seventy years of life.
-He has no temperature -yelled the man in charge of security, when Denise broke her way between two security guards.
-But you cannot take him away because your thermometer is not working -exploded Denise, almost in tears.
-I can -added the man with an angry look-, it’s a matter of national security.
They handcuffed Alan and he was taken away. He looked back to his daughter and grandchildren. He knew he was never going to see them again. He knew that leaving his home town and venturing inside the United States had been a great risk. He knew one day he could be caught.