Luis and Sonya©


It’s a beautiful and bright day. The sky is a deep blue. When you look up at the Hills, each house can be clearly seen from Sunset. The buildings and streets look clean, as if it rained the night before. Uncommon in Los Angeles.

Corona virus, now called CoVid-19 is what everyone’s life is about now. This is an even-numbered year 2020, it’s the last week of April. January 2020 was about impeachment, Kobe Bryant dying and in comes a virus to affect every human being on the planet. It’s an aerial monster in which the virus can live almost everywhere, on surfaces, hanging in the air like an invisible mist. A person has to wonder. You are told to change your clothes and wash them. Disinfect your house. Wear a mask and gloves. Keep distance from your fellow being.

“Wait long enough, and some of the information becomes questionable, such as the aerial mist and surface contamination, including the clothes. I mean come on, Luis. When, when this first started, or when we were finally informed of CoVid 19 – those instructions didn’t make sense to me, you know?

Living in California, of course you have to think and prepare for the Big One earthquake that is supposed to destroy California. Luis and Sonya are spending their day preparing for the Big One.

Luis hands her the larger of the backpacks they bought to update her old ones, including a cheap cellphone to include. Living in California, you have to prepare to be without for at least three days, if not more. In 1994, the Northridge earthquake affected the tenants of their apartment building. The electricity was shut off, and a neighbor thought they smelled gas, so that was shut off. It was the second bad earthquake in Los Angeles for a number of years, but it was too close to home.

“I can’t believe this, Luis. It’s like we’re under house arrest. During lockdown, driving around the city was fantastic. Even a podcast guest mentioned that driving in Los Angeles today is like driving in 1968. Now all we have to wait for is for the virus to mutate, and we become zombies and we all eat each other.” They both have a light laugh.

 “The lockdown is getting to you Babe. It’s tough to continue. It’s one thing for two weeks, but as the norm until a vaccine or cure is discovered? Good luck with that.” Luis takes the price tags off the items they bought earlier in the day.

Sonya hands a pair of scissors to Luis, “Here, cut the strings off please. I am fed up. I’m actually tired of streaming movies and TV shows. After you’ve seen all the good films, all that’s left are badly dubbed movies, and stupid stories that I stop watching after 40 minutes in.”

Luis hands Sonya the first backpack to update. She puts in a small portable stove, including butane. As Sonya takes it, she says “All of it. The government’s behavior, specifically the agencies that we relied on failed us. But yet, at the same time I feel like this is a blessing in disguise.” Sonya says as if she’s making a presentation and not sure how it will go over. They only met a month ago, and she really likes him. It’s been a long time, but right now they’re only friends.

“How?” Luis’s deep voice asks with a tone of curiosity.

Sonya gets a bit excited and breaks from organizing the backpack with the portable stove. “It stopped everything in its tracks. Think about it. We were living in such excess. Internet influencers, ridiculous action movies – yea, some very good, but still. We got to a point, society – I think as a whole, got to the point of overload of everything.”

“Do you believe in conspiracies? Do you think there is a cabal of billionaires running the world!” His tone changes to one of what type of person am I dealing with here. He tries not to laugh.

“Well, yea. Sometimes I do. I mean think about it. Isn’t this the perfect opportunity when a confluence of events occurs? A pandemic that wipes out the economy and creates damages that many people may not recover from. But there are benefits too.

The tech companies are ready and salivating to follow everyone around the world.  They’re so concerned about Covid-19 that this is the opportune time to have people wear or use an app that reports back to, who exactly? Don’t know. I mean, of course they’ll say “Scientific study shows that… but not yet peer-reviewed suggests…”

Luis grimaces, but Sonya doesn’t notice. He was hoping she wasn’t weird. “True. But it doesn’t mean that this was done deliberately. I honestly believe that the scientists in the lab were working with animals and somehow it got outside of the lab.

Sonya puts down the first backpack with the cooking items of utensils, matches, portable stove, butane and continues with the second backpack by first unpacking it.

Luis then says, “Yes, of course, because it had to have been planned. God forbid, that researching animals might have cause an accident. You think governments would actually kill its people?”

Sonya looks at Luis’s face and she can tell he’s becoming uncomfortable. But she continues, “Yes. You know, what they call ‘culling the herd’ instead of a regular genocide.”

Incredulously Luis says, “Sonya, it seems when there is a catastrophe and a lot of people die, you say ‘culling the herd.’ Why?”

“Because the world is overpopulated. That is true. Half a billion people I think they think would be ideal. It will keep the earth and its resources in good health. No way can more than seven and a half billion people be sustained. Read the United Nations Susceptibility report. That’s what it’s about, how will the world be sustained and how will it be implemented. They want a utopian world, and if you’re a person of power and influence at the highest levels of government and corporate leaders – well? What is Davos about? What is The Bilderberg Group and their annual conference about?”

Luis stares at her, “Well, you have given this a lot of thought.

Sonya laughs. “Yea, I have. I grew up watching X-Files – every single episode. Then she stretches the words as she says, Trust No One.” She laughs at the thought. But she can’t help it.

“It’s perfect timing to implement what the techies and governments always wanted. Control of the population. And I mean worldwide. Think about it, Luis the economy is shot to hell. People can’t work. People lose money, more people on the street. Angry people because they have lost everything they’ve earned and worked for. A young generation that will have to live through lockdowns? It just bugs me Luis that we’re locking ourselves in. I feel like we’re in a movie. This is so surreal.”

Luis hands her the aluminum blanket, radio, batteries, flashlights, and first aid kit to Sonya. “That is your fear and anxiety talking. We all kind of feel nervous and scared one way or the other. But you’re also saying you don’t trust our government, our system, and our leaders. Didn’t know you’re an activist. What groups do you belong to? Just curious.”

 Sonya makes room in the backpack for toiletries, and light clothes and other items. “Oh, I don’t belong to any groups. Are you a member of any groups?

Luis moves his arms back and forth physically accentuating the word – “No!”

“I don’t like it” Sonya continues “when you vote for something, and the governor or mayor thinks they know better, and doesn’t follow the vote. I mean we do live in California, for heaven’s sake. That’s dangerous to me and untrustworthy.”

They’re almost finished with the backpacks. Now Sonya is thinking about organizing her emergency clothes and shoes she has under the bed now. At the same time, Sonya is now afraid she may have been too opinionated and turn Luis off. “Sorry I went off on this. It just bothers me that we have no control, you know.”

“It’s okay,” Luis says a little disappointed.  “I was a bit surprised at your passion over the pandemic, but I see your points. Now, regarding the politicians, I don’t like them either. Don’t trust them either. But a lot of people keep voting the same way and putting the same people in.

California is interesting because it’s beautiful, it has a great climate, spacious. Its people are creative and colorful. But I think all of that creates a delusion. Being broke in Los Angeles is not the same as being broke in New York City, okay? Big difference. But I do have to say that I don’t like it when groups meet to discuss conspiracies.”

“Why?” Sonya says.

“Because a group of people can make a lot of government actions a conspiracy if there are enough power players that they can point their finger to. And because it doesn’t go anywhere unless you are in a position to do something about it. And if what you say is true, well honestly, I don’t know what to say. Other than let’s get through this year, and move on.”

“Hmm, I didn’t mean to make this a discussion about the pandemic and politics. I think about the big picture, you know. And I’m afraid. I’m afraid of what future repercussions of all the decisions we are making today. There is so much anger.”

“Ready to close it up?” Sonya nods yes. Luis zips up the backpacks and places them by the coat closet. Luis turns around and takes a hold of Sonya, and kisses her.

“Oh yea, we’re going to be more than friends.”

by JoAnn Rodriquez

All rights reserved. No part of the short stories may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the author, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law. For permission requests, write to the author, “Attention: Permissions Coordinator,” and email to

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