One hundred people filed into the long hallway. I looked around me and most of them were men, working men of all ages. There were a few older women, even fewer children. But none were my age.
We packed in like sardines and a loud buzzer went off. A cloud of smoke filled the room and they all began to cough, I tried holding my breath and covering my mouth, but the smoke entered my lungs anyway. A couple men dropped to the floor immediately, they must have been infected. Another buzzer went off and we were led down another hallway.
We reached a waiting room, much that of an old hospital emergency room. In fact, that must have been what this building was, years ago. Everyone slammed against the the open window, where three women were at computer screens. They instructed us to tell them our symptoms, their computers would recognize our voice and record for our files. Another man dropped to the floor while a few of them developed a rash on their necks. Most of the children cried.
After all the pushing and shoving I finally made it to the window. I had to tell the truth, I needed to get out of here. “I feel fine. No symptoms.”
The lady looked at me over the glasses on her nose. “That’s impossible, sweetie. Come back in a few minutes and let me know how you feel then.”