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  • Writer's pictureWJ King


It was February, 2021 and it was colder than a well digger’s ass. An inherently gloomy time of the year to be sure and the pandemic only threw on ten more sheets of shade. Depression was worn like an old familiar sweater. People, sometimes couples, were working from home, tutoring their children, seeing more of their beloved family than they had ever bargained for. Many spouses or better halves were trying to recall at what juncture, “I do,” was the correct answer.

Moe Weissman, was a reporter/columnist for the Cleveland Plain Dealer, now primarily writing from home, living with his retired school teacher wife Wendy. Two grown sons, to Moe’s delight, lived out of state. Moe and Wendy were surviving the plague fairly well, aware and for the most part comfortable with each other's habits and idiosyncrasies. They debated politics, sports and their taste in television was compatible. It was always Wendy who changed the channel to the Hallmark network, lest Moe’s masculinity be left to swing in the wind.

Critiques and evaluations of the pandemic’s impact were fairly consistent. Economic repercussions and the emotionality of losing loved ones were no brainers. Human interaction was diminished not only with adults but with the development of it, during the formidable years of kids. As if a higher power had spied a vacant section on the human plate, a generous scoop of prevarication was glopped on it in the world of politics.. Veracity? Certainly an option in the multiple choice quiz of life but no longer mandatory or even a reasonable expectation. Moe was not unscathed in the blender type shakeup 2020 brought with it.

Moe’s realization had been a suspicion he had willfully dismissed during the hibernation of the twenty-first century. In general, Moe was basically not very keen on people. Sure, he missed beers with his fellow news hounds, at the Press Pub, downtown but in his life’s journey for eternal happiness, he had never met anyone who could make a Manhattan, like Wendy. Although never spoken of, it was understood a two cherry garnish meant “I love you madly,” a lone one indicated he should tread lightly. His work only received a cursory review from his editor, Frankie Malone. Her work was cut out for her, editing/tutoring less experienced staff.

That his writing was becoming more and more cynical, only bolstered his circulation. Zoom meetings drove him to distraction and it was all he could do, not to berate other staff members, managers included. Wendy had taken to monitoring his closed circuit meetings. Off screen, she knitted or read and offered a nod or shake of her head, as if to say, “I know what you’re thinking and before calling everyone a horse’s ass, take a breath.”

Moe avoided biblical reference. but he was well aware that if the Lord’s science project of humanity did not go up in a ball of fire, mankind was at best becoming a different breed of rat, navigating a very unfamiliar maze.

Moe sat next to Wendy on the couch and she put her head on his shoulder. He cleared his throat, “you know I’m not going to ask.” Wendy pointed the remote, “Murder She Wrote it is. You're such a girl,” she sighed.


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