Tag Archives: Caribbean fiction
Sunday, January 16, 2022
Precipitation – Pack a raincoat
Residents confined to Blacktip Island’s quarantine facility are the subjects of a new pay-per-view reality show. (photo courtesy of Wendy Beaufort)
The daily interaction among residents confined to Blacktip Island’s communal COVID quarantine facility this week was put online as a pay-per-view reality drama in an effort to defray Health Authority expenses for the residents’ lodging and testing, island medical authorities said.
“We need everybody who tests positive in one house so we know where they are, and to make testing easier,” island nurse Marissa Graysby said. “This way we have the outbreak contained in one building. Problem is, housing, food and testing all cost money we’re not budgeted for. And if we have to quarantine all these people, we might as well get some entertainment out of it.
“People love reality TV, so we put cameras and mics in all the rooms, and people can subscribe to watch the goings-on,” Graysby said. “There were privacy issues, sure, but we have everyone quarantined sign waivers. Everybody on this little rock’s a voyeur at heart, and viewer numbers skyrocketed. At this rate, we might even raise enough money for improvements to the clinic.”
Island residents say the show’s format makes for compelling viewing.
“It’s not scripted like other reality shows, so there’s literally no way to know what’ll happen from moment to moment,” Ernesto Mojarra said. “All those crazy personalities trapped together in the same house is entertainment gold.
“There’s already betting lines on how long each person’ll last before they have to get moved to solitary,” Mojarra said. “I mean, I give it three days, tops, before somebody punks Lee Helm. And James Conlee’ll clog the toilets any day now and shut the whole thing down.”
Others focused on how the fabricated challenges posed for the quanantiners heighten the drama.
“Alison Diesel tore the crap out of the place apart looking for the TV remote batteries,” Marina DeLow said. “And watching Finn Kiick try to open cans of food with random hand tools before he found the can opener was a hoot. The surprise power and water outages amp things up, too. I’m gonna double-mask, sneak over there and chuck a grass snake through the window and watch the fireworks.
“Marissa’s also reducing the amount of alcohol the inmates get each day,” DeLow said. “That’ll hit critical mass sooner rather than later. Dermott’ll go bat-shit berserk when the rum runs out. It’s kind of like watching a modern version of Buñuel’s ‘Exterminating Angel’ in real time, but with people you know.”
Barring any quarantiners developing serious symptoms, Graysby said she will focus on the facility’s entertainment aspects.
“We’re working on ways to attract more, international viewers,” she said. “Tonight we’ll have Alexa play non-stop Bananarama full blast, with no way to turn the sound down or off. We also have a can’t-turn-it-down-or-off Sex and the City marathon cued up. It’ll be a miracle if anyone comes out in one piece. It’s addictive viewing, and we have multiple mental health counselors standing by for when people get out.”
House residents were not available for comment, though many have complained their test results were false positives.
Sunday, January 9, 2022
Precipitation – Soon come
Blacktip Island residents home-quarantined due to positive COVID tests have banded together to do identical beer-label jigsaw puzzles in online group sessions. (photo courtesy of Wendy Beaufort)
Blacktip Island residents trapped in home quarantine this week created an online forum to simultaneously complete a communal jigsaw puzzle in real time, forum organizers said.
“There’s a shipload of Blacktippers testing positive for COVID, symptoms or no,” Kay Valve said. “We’re all stuck in our houses for two weeks, bored out of our minds and looking for something—anything—to do. Wendy Beaufort mentioned doing jigsaw puzzles, and the lightbulb went off. We may be isolated, but we can still do things together.
“Peachy at the store had a stack of identical ‘beers of the world’ jigsaw puzzles she got shipped by mistake, so she donated one to each person who’s been quarantined,” Valve said. “It’s been a sanity saver. And what’s more appropriate on Blacktip than a beer puzzle? We can all sort out puzzle pieces while we drink beer. What else are we going to do?”
Group members praised the sense of connectivity puzzling brings.
“We were all going bug-nutty trapped alone at home,” Jack Wrasse said. “The group started with Kay and Wendy on a Facetime call, then, when they realized how many people were quarantined, Kay created a Zoom room where we could all work on the same puzzle at the same time. Mentally, that’s huge.
“It’s not the same as being together in person, but at least there’s interaction,” Cobia said. “It creates a sense of community while we’re all stuck inside.”
Some noted a competitive turn to the puzzle solving.
“It started as a social thing, sure, but cooped-up folks can get belligerent,” Gage Hoase said. “Especially with their nerves on edge thinking they might have The Vid. Started with Sally Port and Lee helm racing to see who could put together the Heineken label first. Next thing we knew there were six, seven people all trying to get it first.
“We had to end the call once obscenities started flying in four different languages,” Hoase said. “There’s still puzzlers in the group who won’t talk to each other. And Lee’s set a real Heineken bottle on his puzzle table, just to rub it in.”
Others praised the competition.
“It lifts peoples’ spirits, the arguing and the oneupsmanship,” Stoney MacAdam said. “There’s no real violence or hard feelings, just a bunch of jawing. So far. And there’s usually multiple beers on the line for each puzzle piece, so it gets pretty heated.”
Island authorities encouraged the sessions.
“It keeps people occupied and in their homes, when, before, they might have been tempted to break quarantine,” public-health nurse Marissa Graysby said. “Also, when they’re in the Zoom room, I know right where they are. Anybody goes missing, I call the constable straight away.
“The big worry now is Peachy’s store’ll run out of beer,” Graysby said. “Beer consumption’s gone up 15, 20 percent in the last week, and if folks run out of beer, they’re likely to go roaming the island looking for more and start an uncontrolled virus outbreak.”
Sunday, January 2, 2022
Precipitation – Seriously?
Happy New Year!
Blacktip Island scuba equipment manufacturer Bamboo You this week launched a line of enhanced neoprene scuba hoods designed to block the effects of 5G transmissions above and below the water, the company’s owner said.
“With everybody wound up about these 5G waves zapping their brains, we decided to seize the opportunity to make scuba diving safer for everyone,” Bamboo You founder Piers “Doc” Plank said. “We put a layer of stretchable titanium-and-manganese webbing between layers of neoprene. That suppresses any harmful high-frequency electromagnetic fields.
“This isn’t some whack-a-doo, tinfoil-lined cap craziness,” Plank said. “Foil only protects up to 3Gs. G-oprene blocks everything. University tests proved it. And combined with our G-oprene masks, it’ll block COVID, too.”
Local scuba divers praised the hoods.
“Folks laugh, but the hoods work,” Chrissy Graysby said. “Since I started diving with G-oprene, I can concentrate better and don’t panic during dives like I used to. On the boat, my head’d buzz whenever anybody’d pull out a cell phone. Now the voices have stopped. The fish can talk to me, too. I can’t talk back, of course, but still . . .”
Others stressed the hoods functioned when not diving.
“I wear mine all day, even at meals,” Rocky Shore said. “Used to be, I’d hear music buzzing through my teeth. Show tunes. Always damn show tunes. You can only hear ‘Annie Get Your Gun’ so many times before you go bug-nutty. Now, wearing the hood, I finally got some P-and-Q.
“Your head sweats a good bit, and the smell’s pretty ripe at the end of the day, but it’s worth it,” Shore said. “My wife’s not a fan, but, bottom line, it’s not any more pungent than a nice Époisses cheese. The main drawback’s it makes me hungry. But it does pair well with a young Côte de Beaune.”
Some local divers remained skeptical.
“I’m not buying into that nonsense,” Nelson Seagroves said. “You look the damn fool. And are out several hundred quid. From what I’ve seen, they actually do quite the opposite of what Doc claims—they make people crazier by bouncing all their brain energy back at them. Or not, depending on the person and their brain. Or lack thereof.”
Island retailers have embraced the new hood technology.
“I don’t give a damn if they work, so long as they sell,” Eagle Ray Cove resort owner Rich Skerritt said. “And they’re flying off the shelves. Are they goofy looking? Sure. That’s how fashion crazes start. Give it a year or two and folks’ll be wearing ‘em everywhere.
Some islanders, meanwhile, saw more nefarious uses for the hoods. “Hostile foreign powers co-opted Doc years ago,” government watchdog Wade Soote said. “Got to be an idiot not to see he’s totally compromised. The Cubans’re using him and his gizmos to control peoples’ thoughts. Turn us into communists. Or socialists. Or whatever the bad people who aren’t like us are.”