Once upon a rainy evening, while I worked but dreamed of leaving,
For the tasks I dwelt upon were all a most insufferable bore,
While I typed away, unceasing, suddenly I heard a wheezing
And the sound of someone sneezing just outside our office door.
“‘Tis some passerby”, I muttered, “sneezing near our office door –
Only this, and nothing more.”
I would like to state, moreover, this occurred in late October,
When the mood is dark and sober and imaginations soar.
Eagerly I wished this stranger would be gone and quell the danger
That seemed sure to strike our chamber should he think to linger more –
Silently I willed the man to quit the threshold of our door
And to trouble us no more.
But, despite my quiet pleading, no footsteps were heard receding,
And the sound of labored breathing filled the air beyond the door.
“Scoundrel!” thought I. “Who’s this man to walk up to our door and stand
With no hello and no demand, and pant upon our office door?
Who’s this creeper, why’s he here, and why’s he breathing on our door?”
Then the stranger sneezed some more.
Presently, to quell my fears, I stuck my fingers in my ears,
But I could not help but hear the stranger knock upon our door.
It was nearing closing time; surely it would be no crime
To leave him out there in the grime left by the heavy rain downpour –
Leave this man to think us absent, and those knocking sounds ignore,
And my peace of mind restore.
But he knocked again, determined, and I felt unduly burdened,
Duty-bound to find out what had brought him to our office door,
So I called out, “Just a second!” as I walked in his direction,
Praying that no grave infection would attack me from his pores,
Hoping fervently that what this man was bringing to our door
Was a cold and nothing more.
Suddenly the door flew open, and I rued that I had spoken,
For this man was rife with tokens of the illness that he bore;
Glistening with sweat excess, he claimed he was from UPS
With a box for our address, a package we’d been waiting for.
This he uttered, then he coughed all over me, and box, and door,
As I stared at him in horror.
Terrified out of my mind, I grabbed his clipboard, quickly signed,
Shut the door and closed the blinds upon that sickly, fevered form.
Though by panic paralyzed, I knew that I must sanitize,
Hurrying to improvise, I snatched some Lysol from my drawer
Used its disinfecting spray to cleanse my hands and box and door –
“Please protect me,” I implored.
But it was with spirit sour that, within that selfsame hour,
I could feel the fever start to burn into my very core,
Slow at first but then more dire; soon I was a walking pyre,
Blazing with a savage fire like that which doth from Hell outpour.
Curse thee, wretch, for bringing this Ebola to my office door!
Quoth the virus, “Wait, what?”
Then to my computer turning, fever still within me burning,
I began to Google like I’d never Googled e’er before.
“WebMD, what’s my prognosis? How to fight this plague ferocious?
Which the meds and what the doses? Tell me truly, I implore!
Tell me what the pharmacy can give me for this viral war?”
Quoth the virus, “Dude, wtf, I’m just the flu.”
But my thoughts I could not vary from that dratted Typhoid Mary
And the sentence that he carried and delivered to my door.
Death he brought me, death and pain! I’d all to lose and naught to gain!
This evil flowing through my veins would be my end – I was done for.
Too soon the sunset of my life had come to pass on Death’s dark shores!
Quoth the virus, “Will someone please explain to this nutjob that I’m not Ebola?”
And Ebola, cruel and chilling, still is killing, still is killing
My poor body hour by hour as I lie shaking on the floor.
Prithee do not weep with sorrow should I fail to wake tomorrow
But this slice of wisdom borrow: stay inside and bar your door,
Trust no others – all are foes – and set no foot outside your door!
Quoth the virus, “You’re a fucking idiot. I’m gonna go find someone sane to infect.”
My sincere apologies to Mr. Poe who I’m sure is currently rolling in his grave, likely put there by Ebola.