Short story: Dr. John Virona

John Virona is an American pediatric doctor, he takes his job very seriously but at the same time loves to put smiles on the faces of all the kids he treats. John has a sweet tooth, he often steals from candy from the bowl in his office that’s meant for kids who come to see him, however, he has a very balanced diet and works out a lot. Mr. Virona loves to laugh, most people appreciate his sense of humor and love the way he treats their kids and makes them laugh every time… But, if there’s one thing that Virona does not tolerate, it’s delinquency and insubordination. You would often see some very upset people leaving the office due to an unexpected scolding of their children by the strict Mr. Virona and you would often hear rumors around town of a rude doctor who has a dark sense of humor, has no regard for personal hygiene and also has 14 fingers, tattoos and an 8 ball for an eye. Indeed, rumors can be very misleading, especially when it comes to doctors. As you can all see, Dr. John’s life is very balanced, everything is kept in check… except for one thing, John is extremely afraid of germs.

There was this one time where John heard on the evening news of a certain virus that infected the forested rural region of southeastern Guinea, it was called Ebola. That night, John couldn’t sleep and decided to skip work for the next week. By the end of said week, his house was the equivalent of a zombie apocalypse shelter, he’d spent those 7 days very productively stockpiling food and resources and reading every survival guide he gets his extremely clean hands on. John put so much effort into preparing for this pandemic that he informed no one of his preparations or his whereabouts, one could almost say that John is a selfish man, which he probably is. During the time where the doctor was unavailable, there was a certain small boy who had an accident and required an operation that only the capable Dr. Virona could perform… the boy’s name was Eric Fletcher, Eric tragically died in his father’s arms. And the strange thing about Dr. Virona is that when he was told about the tragic accident, he wasn’t moved or saddened at all, not even a little, preparing for this so called Ebola virus was the logical choice for him and no one in the world could convince him otherwise.

A few years along the line, John’s wife divorces him and takes the kids, he is denied custody over them because of his excessive fear of germs, a fact that his wife’s lawyer took advantage of in order for her to take custody of the children. John is depressed and can’t get over it… he tries going to all sorts of gurus, but it didn’t work out for him, he can’t shake their hands so he just gets up and leaves to find another guru. Somehow he can’t shake the feeling that all the gurus he met shook hands with an overwhelming amount of depressed people like him, and they all probably wiped their tears and mucus from their faces with their hands at a certain point, and that to Dr. Virona is a big no no. the only thing he hates more than another person’s saliva is that person’s mucus. Next up were the psychologists, John knew there was something wrong with him the moment his wife told him she wanted a divorce, everything before that was peachy, even the endless piles of food he still has in his basement from 2014.

The first doctor Mr. Virona visited was a germaphobe as well, only he was a bit more committed to his phobias than pediatrician and asked the later to take off his clothes and go take a bath before they start their session. John would’ve loved to do that, but sadly there was no bathroom in the psychologist’s clinic, it almost seemed like this doctor was mocking him for having germ phobia, which he was, the stories of the crazy Dr. Virona had stretched far and wide by the time he arrived at that doctor’s clinic. The second doctor however was a different story, even though he knew who John was, he listened to what he had to say and tried his best to understand what was bothering him and all. But this doctor just couldn’t hold it any longer, it was difficult enough for him to hold it for the first 2 hours and at the same time concentrate with what his patient was saying, he waited and waited and waited…. and then came the moment of truth. ‘’ AAAAAAAACHOOOOOOOOUUUUU……’’And the rest was history, he didn’t even see him leaving the office, it was like something out of star trek, like being teleported out of a falling spaceship on the last second.

After cleaning the doorknob, John attempts to enter the third doctor’s, his eyes suddenly catch the name of this doctor written on the door: Dr. Gordon Fletcher, the name doesn’t ring a bell, but one thing certainly does. ‘’ Pfffff…. he didn’t even bother to inform people about his specialty??’’. As John enters the office he steps on a small sign that was hidden under the door, it reads ‘’psychologist’’, sadly however, he doesn’t notice it. A saddened Dr. Fletcher puts a picture he’s been holding of his deceased son in a drawer before greeting Mr. Virona and inviting him to sit on the couch so they can start the session.

‘’so what’s bothering you, Mr. Virona?’’ says doctor Gordon

‘’ well, my wife divorced me and took the kids because she got scared for them. She got scared because of a certain phobia that I have. You see doctor, I’m extremely afraid of germs and viruses and I want it to stop, once and for all, and I’m willing to do anything to put an end to it doc, whatever you tell me to do, I’ll do it.’’ Says Virona

‘’could you start by telling me why you’re afraid of them?’’

A confused John Virona replies: ‘’ I……. don’t know…… ‘’

‘’ I’m sorry Mr. Virona, but I’m going to have to ask you for a reason, we can’t continue if you can’t give me one… I need one solid, rational reason as to why you do what you do.’’

‘’I don’t know, I guess it’s just who I am, the overbearing, overly clean paranoid Dr. Virona’’

‘’do you know how to swim Mr. Virona?’’ says doctor Fletcher

‘’well yes, as a matter of fact I’m a very good swimmer.’’

‘’ how do you swim Mr. Virona?’’

‘’well, the first thing you need to do is you need to stretch, then you need to put on some sunscreen if you’re at the beach, after that comes…’’

Dr. Fletcher interrupts: ‘’ let’s get into the water Mr. Virona, please.’’

‘’oh, okay then, first you get into the water and the one thing you need to remember here is you’ve got to relax and always remind yourself that there’s absolutely no reason for you to get scared. Then after…’’

‘’ so you just give up in a sense, right?’’

‘’ well, if you put it that way, then yes, you just give up.’’

‘’I lost a certain someone who was very dear to me not so long ago Mr. Virona, and it really affected me, I tried all sorts of remedies and gurus but none of them could ease my pain…. So I eventually just gave up. The problem you suffer from Mr. Virona is basically the same. Germs are everywhere and they will remain around long after we’re both gone, so just give up Mr. Virona.’’

A confused John looks back at all the times he hurt people because of his phobia and realizes all of a sudden that Dr. Fletcher is right and that he needs to start doing something about his fears, for the sake of his wife and kids.

‘’……. okay, I will.’’

John Virona leaves the office a new man, feeling fresh and on his way to a better life. John stops at a grocery store to buy some eggs when all of a sudden he hears on the shop owner’s TV:’’ we interrupt this program to inform you about the latest information regarding the spread of the highly infectious corona virus…’’. Doctor Virona later died that day in an accident, he was hit by a truck as he was running home to hide himself from the virus he heard about in the news. He was rushed to the hospital for an operation but when the nurse called to inform the only neurosurgeon in town about the situation at hand, she found out that he was out of town. On the night John died they found in his pocket a piece of paper with a saying on it, it read ‘’ just give up, later’’.

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