ALEX, JORDAN, BEAR AND D.C. VISIT FREYA DURING THE COVID-19 OUTBREAK
JORDAN: Wait, so you’re saying we’re stuck here? In Freya?
BEAR: Only until we’re certain we’re not sick. Two weeks of self-isolating and we should be good to go.
JORDAN: [Clutches heart] Two weeks? Two weeks! [Turns to Alex] Can’t you just open a return doorway for us now?
D.C.: We have to protect Medora, Jordan. We can’t risk bringing an unknown illness back with us.
JORDAN: But—But Fletcher could heal us!
BEAR: Possibly. But what if it takes time for him to figure out a cure? Are you willing to risk passing this virus onto the people we care about? We’re young and healthy so we mightn’t get too sick from it, but what about our more vulnerable friends and family? What about people like Gammy?
JORDAN: [Pales] Gammy’s old. She could get really sick.
BEAR: She could die.
ALEX: We obviously want to avoid that—at all costs. Which is why we’re going to stay here in my old house for the next fortnight, just the four of us, keeping away from anyone who could potentially infect us. [Looks at Jordan] Don’t worry, the time’ll pass quickly. And hey, we’re all in this together. Which means…
JORDAN: We’ll all get through it together.
ALEX: [Smiles encouragingly] We sure will. And we’ll come out the other side as better people. You’ll see.
D.C.: [Waves paper] I wrote us lists. Stuff we should run out and get to help us through next fortnight. Nothing too crazy—I hear these silly Freyans are panic-buying all kinds of weird things. [Wrinkles nose] Just how much toilet paper do they think they’ll need?
JORDAN: [Pales further] Please tell me it’s not that kind of virus? [Looks around] How many toilets does this house have, Alex? Should we stock up on air freshener? Do we need a sign that says, “Give it ten minutes to air out, or enter at your own risk?”
D.C.: [Turns helplessly to Alex]
ALEX: [Stifles laughter] He’s your boyfriend.
D.C.: [Sighs] On days like this, I’d like a refund.
BEAR: What’s on these lists, Dix?
D.C.: [Hands them out] You and Jordan are getting groceries. Alex and I will hunt down living necessities like bedding and towels and clothes and stuff. The electro-telebox thing said there’s a place where we can get it all—Doormart? Floormart? Something like that.
ALEX: It’s actually Wal—
BEAR: We should try and be as quick as we can, limiting ourselves to any exposure. If one of us starts symptomizing in a few days, we’ll have to start the two-week countdown from scratch again. So keep as much distance between you and other people as possible, and don’t touch your faces. We want to try and avoid catching anything at all, yeah?
ALEX, D.C. and JORDAN: Yeah!
BEAR: Let’s go, then. Come on, Jordan—groceries await!
— A SHORT TIME LATER —
JORDAN: [Closes front door] We’re back!
D.C. and ALEX: [Both hurry to meet the boys in the kitchen]
ALEX: Where’ve you two been? We were getting worried!
JORDAN: [Heaves grocery bags onto bench] It was a madhouse out there. I thought some guy was going to deck me when I reached for the flour. As if he didn’t already have five packets in his own trolley! Are Freyans always so crazy?
ALEX: Before I answer that, wash your hands. Both of you.
JORDAN: But I didn’t touch any—
ALEX and D.C: WASH YOUR HANDS!
JORDAN: [Hurries to sink beside Bear] All right. Jeez.
D.C.: Twenty seconds. Sing a song.
JORDAN: [Grins wickedly] Old Tim-Tom had a very big—
BEAR: [Splashes Jordan with water] Do not make us suffer through that. Twenty seconds of silence works just as well.
JORDAN: “Twenty Seconds of Silence” would be a great name for a band.
BEAR: [Musingly] “Ten Seconds of Silence” would be better. Rolls off the tongue easier.
D.C.: [Whispers to Alex] I’m not sure I can survive a fortnight of this.
ALEX: [Snickers, then looks back at the boys] To answer your question, Jordan, Freyans aren’t usually this crazy—or, not to this extreme, at least. But these aren’t normal times. People are acting in ways they shouldn’t be. Ways they’ll be embarrassed about when they look back later.
BEAR: Their behaviour is only adding to the problem. Making a scary thing even worse.
D.C.: [Nods] That’s why we need to lead by example. We keep away from other people—to protect ourselves and them—and we stay as calm as possible in the process. Anxiety is a shadow that grows in the dark. We need to flood it with light. With hope. Like you said earlier, Alex, we’ll get through this. We’ve just got to wait out the storm, then we’ll come through to clear skies on the other side.
BEAR: Well said, Dix.
D.C.: [Smiles modestly] Enough about the chaos—did you guys manage to get everything on the list?
BEAR: [Turns to Jordan] How’d you go, mate?
D.C.: Wait, weren’t you with him?
BEAR: There was no toilet paper, so I left Jordan to gather the food and went to find another store. Then another. Four shops later, I finally struck gold.
ALEX: [Peering at the grocery bags] I, uh, can’t see it anywhere?
BEAR: [Scratches cheek and turns pink] Well, the thing is, I did buy us some… but as I was walking back to Jordan, there was a woman crying on the sidewalk. She had a baby in her arms and a toddler holding her other hand, and when I asked what was wrong, she said she’s been trying to get toilet paper for days, but they’re always out of stock by the time she arrives. Her husband is a nurse and she’s barely seen him since the virus broke out, and now he’s had to quarantine himself to keep her and the kids safe, and she’s so worried about him and about them and about—
ALEX: [Places hand on Bear’s arm and gently interrupts] You made the right decision giving it to her, Bear. We can go without.
JORDAN: [Nods firmly] I agree. But… [Pulls a face] Did you at least get a sign for the toilet door? Because without TP, the gross factor has just multiplied—exponentially. Some might even say catastrophically.
D.C.: [Chuckles] We’ll be fine, Jordan. There are way worse things to run out of than toilet paper.
JORDAN: Name three.
D.C.: Air. Water. Food.
JORDAN: [Blinks in surprise] Okay, name another three.
ALEX: Sleep. Shelter.
BEAR: Human connection.
JORDAN: [Blinks again, then shrugs] Can’t argue with all that. And hey, catastrophic toilet adventures will be a bonding experience. [Claps hands] This is going to be fun, guys. Two whole weeks together. Woo!
ALEX, BEAR and D.C.: [All look worriedly at each other]
D.C.: [Clears throat] Yes. “Fun.”
ALEX: It’ll only be fun as long as we have enough food. [Squints at Jordan] You did get what we need, right? [Peers at the grocery bags again] Wait—did you say “flour” before? Was that even on Dix’s list?
D.C.: [Frowns] No—I assumed there wouldn’t be any left since it’s such a staple. I mean, it’s clever of you to grab some, Jordan, since we can use it for all kinds of cooking. If, of course, you managed to get the other things I wrote down…?
JORDAN: [Shifting guiltily] Now, don’t get mad. But I may have deviated from the list. Just a little.
D.C.: [Frown deepens] How much is a little?
ALEX: [Reaches for the closest bag and starts pulling items out] Sugar… butter… here’s the flour… all good so far. Eggs—that’s protein. Apples—oooh, these look nice and juicy. Great for Vitamin C. [Pulls out the next item and pauses, realisation hitting her] Oh, Jordan. Tell me you didn’t.
JORDAN: [Defensively] Protein. Vitamin C. You said yourself these are good things.
ALEX: [Places cinnamon on the bench, then continues to pull everything else out until the bags are empty]
D.C.: [Makes choked noise]
BEAR: [Mutters] I should have sent you for the toilet paper.
JORDAN: [Folds arms] I don’t know what you’re all looking so upset about.
ALEX: Jordan, you—you’ve literally bought two weeks’ worth of ingredients for apple pie. That’s it. Nothing else.
JORDAN: Right? This is going to be the best two weeks ever!
D.C.: [Weakly] But… all the things I wrote on the list? All the actual food?
JORDAN: Pfft, we have all the food we need right here! You know what they say: “An apple a day…”
ALEX, D.C. and BEAR: [All groan]
ALEX: [Sighs] Is the fortnight over yet?