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November 13, 2006


Tell us about a new and exotic fatal disease.

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Jim: Night Fever

The soldier carefully verified my identification. “Go on in,” he grunted.

White-coated technicians scurried throughout the laboratory in meandering orbits around a steel-haired doctor. “You called the CDC?” I asked him.

He pumped my hand. “Thank God you’re here! We hope it’s isolated.”

“You’re sure it’s Strain BG-2?”

He nodded. “And even worse than the ‘70s pandemic. See for yourself.” He pointed to the quarantines beyond the glass.

I checked off the symptoms. Feathered hair, polyester blends, bell-bottoms… “But disco is dead,” I gasped.

Then I noticed the doctor’s platform shoes. He caught my eye and confided, “So are we.”

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David: Epidemic

“Watson, I’ve done it! I’ve isolated an entirely new form of disease!”

“Good for you.”

“Although its symptoms are psychological, it can nevertheless result in physical death. It removes all impulse for aggression from the victim, and renders such impulses repellent, possibly painful.”

“And that’s fatal?”

“The fascinating part is that it’s transmitted mimetically. It’s not so much a virus as the idea of a virus.”

“Is there a cure?”

“Theoretically, a counter-meme could immunize the patient, perhaps something about righteous self-defense. But one symptom is the rejection of such counter-ideas.”

“Have you named it?”

“I’ll call it, ‘U.N.’s Syndrome.’”

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Ted: Answers from a Press Conference

You folks of the press was already calling this the "polka-dot flu." I would like to discourage that. We don't need a catchy name to make the big headlines even more sensational.

It isn't an epidemic; so far there have only been sixteen patients worldwide.

We think the vector may be direct exposure to certain cosmetic products in conjuction with some other factor.

We cannot confirm that. The appearance of a circus shortly before the onset of each infection has not been ruled out however.

Yes, the victims were prostitutes.

No, clown cars are not being impounded. Not yet, anyway.

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