THE EPIDEMIC

I don’t want to turn this into a blame-game, but Jamie Stans was responsible. He started it.

I am Freddie Blake. I have close cropped calf-brown hair, and a gleam in my eyes that’d make you want to check whether your wallet’s still in your pocket. I am in the fifth grade, at the village school, you know, the place one does not want to go to on a Sunday.

Jamie Stans, on the other hand, is the ‘I wanna study a lot’ type. The type who suggests that all of us pick up our textbooks and start reading during a free period. Also, he simply wouldn’t miss school.  While most of us would love to miss school for a change, he’d kill for the chance to go to school on Sundays.

He has jet-black hair, flattened down with a lot of oil, and is seldom seen without a textbook or a notebook.

He would bring his math textbook and notebook to the Sunday brunch at Stephens’, and his science textbook to the football game. While almost everyone is supporting our village team, this guy stands up and yells out the definitions of inertia and momentum, and recites the three laws of motion.

He was the teachers’ pet, and it was always ‘Jamie does this, so why can’t you?’

Why don’t you just give Jamie a crown and call him Supreme Ruler of the Universe?

Anyways, the teachers always want us to rise to his standards, since he finishes his homework, his lab records and his classworks, all with extreme neatness, every answer in blue and every question in black ink.

About a week ago, he entered class late. The class teacher was worried. This boy is excellent at his work, and he’s always punctual, never a minute late. What could’ve happened?’

The teacher asked him what happened, and he said, “I’m fine-dah”

“What?”

“Sir, I said, I’m fine-dah.” Said the boy with a runny nose and a temperature.

He was sent to the sick room, where the nurse told him that he had a cold, and that he had to skip school today. A scandalous look appeared on the boy’s face.

He stood up straight, and said, “I’m fine-dah”

The nurse pushed him back on the seat, and told him, “When you put the ‘dah’ sound after ‘fine’, it means you’re not fine. You have to go home today.”

He stubbornly refused, and, like a persistent moron, stayed in school and studied through all the periods.

The whole day was punctuated with outbursts of ‘A-ah-TISHOO! (Cough, cough)’

The very next day, Avik, the boy sitting next to Jamie was sent to the sick room, and the rest of the day, he also joined in the chorus.

In the next few days, everyone in the class, except me, was at home, coughing and sneezing, and the only two students who turned up were Jamie and me.

I couldn’t believe it. Everyone in the class fell ill, except me.

Am I a superhero, with the unique ability that my blood can fight off any illness? I felt amazing.

I kept considering the possibility that I was special, and that my blood could cure illnesses.

I would be an international prodigy, I would be—

“A-ah-TISHOO!!!”

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