Anna slipped off to work while I slept. The rules for calling in sick are so convoluted that it's wiser for flu conscripts to show up ill. "If they send you home," she said last night, "it's on them, not you."
Judging from the mess I found in the kitchen, she wasn’t feeling better.
I’m still tidying the papers the police scattered, recreating my files as best I can. Some of the documents belong to Anna, who brought them here after the 7th Precinct tossed her apartment. The rampaging 9th mixed our papers pretty badly.
So I squat every day in a sunbeam, where Sneeky should be soaking up Vitamin D. I sort documents into stacks he would have delighted in scattering.
Today I found the death certificate of Anna’s little girl, whom I knew to have died of flu in Round One, when they both caught it. It said she was three years old and she died at home, in their apartment near the Manhattan Bridge. Of a ruptured appendix.
I tried to call Anna at work, though it’s forbidden. No answer. I’ll wait.
I called the New York City Department Of Health & Mental Hygiene to ask what specific test they perform on conscripts before they force them to work closely with potential flu carriers. Presumably it was a microneutralization assay that would show antibodies from previous H5N1 exposure. It seemed wise to ask. I was told to expect a callback.
The call came from a different agency. A woman wanted to know why I was asking. I explained. She said she wasn’t authorized to address medical issues. When I called back the number her call left on my caller ID, I reached the Department of Homeland Security.