As the days of COVID restrictions continued, Pru became restless. True, she filled her days with Facetime chats with Amber and Lizette, and she organized a regular Zoom meeting with all the members of her rugby team, the She Devils. She caught up with all her classwork and read some of the suggested texts for her courses. And she continued practicing meditation, distance Reiki, and online sessions of both yin and yang yoga. Still, she missed being around people. Pru’s parents were essential workers, so they were gone most of the day. And she missed her friends. Penn was so busy at the hospital and she rarely got a text back from him. She had texted Ellowyne a couple of times and occasionally they chatted. Unless he had his nose in a book, Rufus joined the conversation. But Pru had a vague, unsettling feeling about Ellowyne and Rufus, like they were going to face something cataclysmic sometime soon.
One morning, she woke with nothing planned. She threw some juice, yogurt, and fruit into the blender for a healthy, tasty smoothie. But when she finished making it, she had an urge for doughnuts. Mmmm. Crullers glazed with sugar. Fruit-filled kolaches. Jelly doughnuts bursting with cherry jam. Krispy Kremes. Pru popped her smoothie into the refrigerator, then got into her car to find the nearest, open drive-through doughnut shop.
Her mission was successful and, with a bag of delectable doughnuts and a large cup of coffee, Pru settled in front of her laptop. She grabbed a chocolate-frosted chocolate doughnut and took a sip of her coffee, and decided to wander about the Internet. She checked Facebook and noticed that Ellowyne had changed her status from “single” to “in a relationship with Rufus Rutter”. He changed his status as well. Prudence sighed with relief. Maybe she was wrong in thinking they might be on the edge of catastrophe.
Otherwise, Facebook was boring. Lizette posted about her work at the shelter and how she was enjoying learning different crafts. Amber posted nothing except a terse “I thought this COVID nonsense was supposed to be over by Easter.” And there were few posts in the She Devils FB group. When Pru found herself perusing her parents’ pages, she decided to move along.
Hmmmm. Prudence had decisions to make: kolache or jelly doughnut, TikTok or YouTube. She chose the doughnut and YouTube. Previously, she found great guided meditations there, but she wanted to look at something different, something way outside the usual videos she watched. As she scrolled through the suggestions, she found it. The motherlode of consequential, life-changing, earth-shattering videos: Dr. Pimple Popper.
She smirked when she clicked on the first video. She remembered the time, about a year ago, when she brought Penn to a party at the house of one of her teammates. One of the girls had a nasty zit on her back, and, knowing Penn was in nursing school, asked him to pop it. He drank enough beer to agree to do it, but not so much that he would do it under unsafe conditions. So the She Devils went looking for sterile gauze and alcohol. One found a sterile needle and gloves among the hostess’ sister’s diabetic supplies. Penn took a gulp of his beer, and had the teammate pull her shirt up to reveal the biggest pimple he had ever seen, well, at least the biggest one he saw that night! Prudence opened the gloves and the sterile needle, and Penn gingerly pierced the angry-looking cyst. The girls all ooohed, aaahed, and giggled as the furuncle exploded with watery goo and the ribbon of pus Penn extruded from the opening. A couple of the girls nearly gagged but Pru was steadfast, not queasy in the least. She held the gauze, wiped up the exudate, and handed Penn some hydrogen peroxide, iodine solution, and a Band-Aid so he could finish cleaning and dressing the wound. She and Penn shared an Uber and a few drunken kisses in the backseat of the car. Good times indeed!
She clicked on another video, then another. She nibbled on the doughnuts that remained in the bag while she searched for even more videos. Her coffee had gone cold and all the only things left in the bag were doughnut crumbs. Only then she looked at the clock and realized that she had been online for nearly five hours! Her parents would be home from work soon, that is, if they didn’t have to do overtime. Prudence put the ingredients for lentil soup in the pressure cooker and sliced some homemade sourdough bread. Then she scurried back to her room to get her laptop, and watched a couple more videos while the family’s supper cooked.
To be continued…