Artwork © Eric N. Peterson
“Big Bird Here. If You Come to My Street Unvaccinated, You Will Catch These Hands- Not Covid”
I’ve been in this game for over fifty years.
Fifty. Long. Goddamn. Years.
Yet, I don’t get even an ounce of appreciation from any of you. Who do you think was teaching you about numbers and shit when you were plopped down in front of the television? Don’t you dare say it was that Eggplant looking mother fucker, Barney. It was me, Big Bird, and my homies on Sesame Street. You think I wanted this job? Huh? Look at me! I’m an over eight feet tall mutant condor for God sakes. I live next to a fuzzy blue meth-head and two “life partners” who aren’t allowed to come out because, apparently, puppets don’t have a sexual orientation.
Day in and day out, we’re told that because we were stuffed together by Dr. Jim Frank-Hen-Stein that we’re devoid of rights. We have no control over who sticks their nasty hands up into our anal cavities. There’s literally a guy that zips up into my skin and wears me around for hours every day of filming. I try to follow my catch phrase, “asking questions is a good way of finding things out?” You know what happened when I asked about Covid safety guidelines on set? The director laughed in my face.
“Ha, ha, ha, ha, oh Big Bird,” he said before waving me off. That encounter reignited my PTSD from the days when no one believed that Mr. Snuffleupagus was real. I told everyone, for years, that he was real, and no one listened to me. I thought I was losing my damn mind at one point. It wasn’t until parents complained about their children possibly not sharing important things out of fear of being unheard that the writers decided to finally make Snuffy “real.” Now, no one even bats an eye at that wooly mammoth as he stomps onto the set with his Starbucks Americano.
That’s why all the Muppets banded together and demanded Covid vaccines. We’re tired of being denied safe working conditions and being ignored. For once, I felt like I was finally able to stick it to the man. I made a post on Twitter, just to really drive it home. Little did I know that would ignite a complete political shitstorm. Now, I have republican assholes like Ted Cruz calling it “government propaganda” and others calling me a communist. Shit, you know what, man? Fuck all of you. I did this for me, and for my coworkers. I’m sick of hearing about people dying from a preventable virus. Clearly, some of you didn’t pay attention to my lesson of taking care of each other and kindness. Whatever, I’m done trying.
Get the vaccine, or don’t. Have fun choosing to be a complete idiot while holding onto your conspiracy theories. Either way, my neighborhood is good to go, man. But if you come up here thinking we’re letting you meet on our street unvaccinated, you best believe you’re going to be catching these hands. I promise you that.
Bethany Bruno is a born and raised Florida author of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. She holds a BA in English from Flagler College and an MA from The University of North Florida. Her work has been previously published in numerous publications, such as The MacGuffin, Ruminate, Lunch Ticket Magazine, Litro Magazine, and DASH. She’s working on her first novel and recently earned a 2021 Best of the Net nomination.
Eric N. Peterson is from Atlanta, Ga. He’s been drawing cartoons all his life. He leans towards the absurd, imaginative, and the surreal, as that’s where all the flavor is.