“We Are All Connected” © Anannya Dasgupta


It’s All Contagious

This mass hysteria makes me want to buy a gun, go to my local grocery, and fire three shots in the sky. I’m desperate to remind people that real fear comes from something more immediate than expecting “The End.” We are witnessing a slow-moving train with failed brakes. Reality’s fabric subjected to surgical unstitching.

The scene on TV was that of a low-budget disaster flick. A glimpse of cops and traffic, adult shoppers turned children, playing tug of war with packs of paper towels and toilet paper. Impossibly long lines. No narrator, just the sounds that accompany social chaos … sirens, car horns, and a crescendo of indiscernible shouts that grew louder and louder until—I swear to God—I was assaulted by the noise alone. I fell to the floor as if I’d been hit.

I need my prescription. The pharmacy I go to is tucked in the back of the store that’s starring on the news. The gunshots would interrupt everything. For a second at least. And I would welcome the ephemeral silence like a warm, gentle wind. Like a voice I hadn’t heard in 20 years.


C.J. Pendergast comes from Long Island, NY. He received his MFA in Creative Nonfiction from UNCW and now resides in Oakland, CA where he often finds himself talking to strangers.

Anannya Dasgupta is a poet and artist who lives in Chennai.