A Different Kind of Green

There was little to celebrate in the stateroom of Leigh Down and Clark Barr St. Patrick’s Day Tuesday 17 March 2020: neither of them had slept well on account of their illnesses, and Leigh’s breathing was worse.

Ratchetratchetratchetratchet WHHHHEEEEEEEZ!, Ratchetratchetratchetratchet WHHHHEEEEEEEZ!

Ill himself, Clark’s worry related to his Love Leigh had him kneeling atop the bed facing her, his hands on her shoulders, his gaze locked on her eyes. “Keep breathing, Love!”

Ratchetratchetratchetratchet WHHHHEEEEEEEZ!So hard” she gasped.

“You’ve got to, Leigh! You’ve got to! Please. Keep breathing!”

2 hours later in mid-morning, things were worse: along with the highly hitched, ratchety rough wheezy breathing, Leigh seemed to have something lodged in her throat.

Ratchetratchetratchetratchet WHHHHEEEEEEEZ! Hclckl. Glump

“Don’t swallow it!”

“Why not?” Ratchetratchetratchetratchet “It’s not very ladylike to spit things up.”

“It’s your body trying to get rid of the illness! Pleeeaase get it out of you next time!”

He rushed over to the trash, retrieving a wider-than-tall paper bowl. “Here: keep this handy and spit into it from hereon out.”

They didn’t have to wait long.

Ratchetratchetratchetratchet Hrulp. Hrrrb. Hckck.

Frantic and upset to the point of tears, with a loud male adult voice backed by a frightened child he yelled, “Cough it up! Cough it uuupp!

Hrrrr, PTTT!

One giant gray-green glob the size of a U.S. quarter and at least twice as thick sat in the bottom of the paper bowl which formerly held ramen noodles.

Good! Good girl! More! Get it all out!

Hrrrrp. Chhhhh. HAAAA PTWINNNG!”

Now the first green glob had a friend: slightly more golden, the size of a U.S. half dollar.

Hrhrhrhrhrhrhrhrh WHHHHEEEEEEEZ!This is awful.

“Yes, but you’re getting better! Keep going, Love!



Rough though it was, and less productive past this peak output though it was, coached expectorating into the ever-more-disgusting paper cup did slightly reduce the roughness of Leigh’s breathing, more than slightly irritating her throat. Some lemon-infused chamomile tea ably and rapidly provided by Clark (ignoring his own tiredness, discomfort, and start of wheezing as he fearfully focused on her) eased the latter concern.

Things remained hairy-difficult as of the early afternoon: Leigh had nothing more so far to cough up, with her breathing plateaued and still rough. Clark continued to get more wheezy.

“OK” whhhhhrrr, “We gotta do this” whhhhhrrr.

Hrhrhrhrhrhrhrhrh WHHHHEEEEEEEZ!Do what?

“We’ve gotta move around, Leigh!” whhhhhrrr “Get our lymphatic systems moving” whhhhhrrr “and flush this stuff out!”

So tired” she gasped, “So, so tired.” Hrhrhrhrhrhrhrhrh

“We’ve gotta move!whhhhhrrr “I know! We’ll march with Honks The Goose!”

A childhood favorite forgotten by oh-so-many of Clark’s and Leigh’s generation and never known by most other generations, the marching animated goose was popular amongst children in certain areas of the U.S., part of the Federal push for greater physical fitness amongst that generation’s youth.

An illin’ man on a sick mission, Clark searched and dug and scanned and auditioned all he could find on the WWW portion of the Internet. Eventually he found what he wanted, routing it to the bigger screen of the stateroom’s built-in A/V system.

“Let’s go, Chonky!” he excitedly urged her, with energy he barely had. Taking her by the hand he attempted to pull her out of bed, or at least get her moving that direction, to little avail.

Do we have tooooo?” hrhrhrhrhrhrhrhrh she whined and wheezed.

“Yes!” whhhhhrrr “Honks is going to help us heal! March with Honks, just like when you were little!”

The Kate Bush song The Man With The Child In His Eyes flashed through Leigh’s fever-fogged mind, seeing her man’s inner child desperate to save them. Touched that he, whom she’d always assumed was into her mainly for sex, actually cared about her living and thriving as much as himself, she pushed herself hard to get out of bed and follow his hand-holding lead.

“Here we go” whhhhhrrr “Ready?”

“Yes.” whhhheeeeeeez

The snare drum and one-word cartoon voiced animated video (originally on film) started up right away.

🎼 Honk! t-thh Honk! t-thh HonkHonkHonk
Honk! t-thh Honk! t-thh HonkHonkHonk
Trrump-t-tu-t-tu-t-tatata rrump-t-tu-t-tu-t-tatata
Trrump-t-tu-t-tu-t-tatata rrump-t-tu-t-tu-t-tatata 🎼

and on and on, repeating in that pattern.

Struggle though it was, marching with Honks The Goose did get both Leigh and Clark moving around and around in a repeating oval in their stateroom. {I always preferred this one to the chicken fat song} she mused.

Interestingly, she felt a little better after the march.

Clark was bound and determined for them to both push through and survive. “Let’s do another!” whhhhhrrr

“OK.” whhhheeeeeeez

🎼 Honk! t-thh Honk! t-thh HonkHonkHonk 🎼…

They wound up doing a third march after this second, before stopping. In under half an hour, Leigh’s body expectorated more phlegm into the ever-grosser cup. Clark’s was yet to be productive, though he did get some tan phlegm with a very slight green cast out and so far his wheezing was getting no worse.

Things were going far, far worse down in the Infirmary: between the time Leigh and Clark awoke and when they finished marching with Honks The Goose, 2 more fellow cruisers lost their battle with COVID-19, and their lives.