By Nick Reid aka Comrade Hermit
Exile in Happy Valley
It’s the end of the world as we know it and the rich feel fine. In fact, those greedy motherfuckers have never seemed better. The ozone layer is evaporating, the oceans are rising, and the plague just keeps on raging, but you would never know it by looking at all the beautiful people in the global power elite. They just keep on shining like diamonds in all their opulence; jet-setting from coast to receding coast, dancing the night away maskless by the light of the not-so-distant wildfires in exclusive galas devoted to saving the very planet they pillaged. Together they shimmer, CEOs, senators, tech giants, generals, movie stars, lobbyists, heads of federal agencies and captains of industry, dressed to the nines in gowns and tuxedos that cost more than your mortgage and your college debts combined.
Rubbing shoulders, shaking hands and posing for the cameras. They drink and laugh and schmooze, then meet up at even more exclusive and decadent afterparties where they snort their weight in cocaine served up on gilded mirrors by half-naked servants younger than their grandchildren and fuck each other’s addled brains out. You would never think in a thousand years that all these beautiful people were in the midst of committing mass suicide and taking the rest of us lowly plebians in flyover country with them, but that’s what got them invited to this party in the first place. After all, they only got so sickeningly rich and powerful by destroying the world around them and bringing all its shrinking inhabitants to the brink of the apocalypse. You see, dearest motherfuckers, this revolving door of incestuous big business oligarchs and big government plutocrats are in the doomsday business and in this, the year of their lord Satan, twenty-hundred-and- twenty-one, business is good. It’s damn good.
Nobody saw COVID coming. The pandemic seemed to come out of nowhere two February’s ago to smash the world beneath its massive tires like a groundhog beneath a goddamn Mack Truck. One day you’re bouncing back on the rebound from a decade long mental collapse, preparing to run a walk-in center for your local AIDS resource center and the next- Bam! Your life has been obliterated in a bloody mess by the side of the road and you’re reduced to hiding in your house again like the agoraphobic shut-in you worked your fucking ass off to leave behind, popping Ativans like Tic-Tacs and counting the spiders on the walls while you try not to swallow your own tongue. But mentally ill savants like me got off easy, well, at least the ones who didn’t blow our fucking brains out or switch from benzos to fentanyl.
This plague that seems to have no end in sight has murdered over 5 million people worldwide and nearly 800,000 and counting in the United States alone, most of them, naturally, have been poor people. It’s obliterated the economy, ransacked Main Street and given the police state a license to quadruple in size in the name of public health. But scientists have been warning us frantically for years about the plausibly catastrophic risks of playing God with gain of function research, genetically modifying zoonotic pathogens to make them deadlier and more transmissible to humans so Frankenstein virologists can get rich curing what they caused.