The Sickness

On day one, Jeff came in a little late. His eyes were all red, his nose was runny.

“Hey, everybody. I think I have the flu. Don’t come near me, or you’ll catch it too.”

“What the heck are you doing here, Jeff? Go home!”

“I can’t, it’s the end of the release, if you didn’t notice.”

“Yeah, yeah.”

On day three, Dora was also sick. But the two of them did not bother to take some sick days. They didn’t care if the rest of the office got it too, apparently.

On day five, four people had it. Jeff was starting to look worse. It was definitely not a 24-hour thing. No, we were way beyond that.

On day nine, almost everyone was showing symptoms, but we all contiued working to finish the release. There was a lot of sniffing and coughing and sneezing.

On day ten, Jeff got the shakes.

On day eleven, you could not talk to him like a normal person. I don’t think he was very productive at that stage, but he sat at his desk for 12 hours, typing away without so much as a coffee break. I tried to read what he wrote later on and it was all gibberish. But at the time we didn’t know.

On day twelve, Jeff started getting nosebleeds. Other people started with the shakes and the skulks. More gibberish was produced.

On day thirteen, Jeff was bleeding out of his ears and eyes. He used a tissue to minimize the staining.

“I’m fine, goddamit. I gotta finish this thing!”

On day fifteen, more people were bleeding.

On day seventeen, nobody cared about the blood anymore. People seldom spoke.

On day eighteen, Jeff stopped bleeding. He started to stink a little. He moved slowly, his eyes absent, his mouth open and dripping slime. He did not speak, just emited low growls. What he was writing started to make weird sense. It was crystal clear that the guy had access to a better, more substantial reality.

On day nineteen, more people stated looking like Jeff. I looked up the symptoms on the Internet and came up with a strange word: ‘zombie.’ I had not heard that one before.

On day twenty-five, everybody was like Jeff. They seemed stable. Productivity was through the roof!

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