OF MICE AND MEN in the time of Covid
I was inspired by a teacher twitter user, @MrsRLowman, who imagined the reactions to Covid-19 of the characters in Priestley's play, An Inspector Calls, to do the same for another much-loved and much-studied text, Steinbeck's seminal novella, Of Mice and Men. A piece of fun amidst the horror and the tragedy - my heart goes out to anyone affected by the pandemic through their own illness or the loss of loved ones. It's all too enormous and hideous to fully take on board this terrible disease and the way it's going to affect all of our lives for years to come.
Anyway, for a lighthearted moment - here goes:
George: has trouble convincing Lennie of the need to self-isolate after he broke the 2-metre rule with the girl in Weed. Gets Lennie a mask-exemption on account of his special needs but wears one religiously himself. Keeps to himself his worries that the pandemic has annihilated their dreams of living offa the fatta the land.
The Boss: furloughs all his ranch hands to get the government cash but carries on making them buck barley anyway. Bans the playing of euchre, horseshoe and any visits to Clara’s cat house. Puts half the bunks in the barn to comply with social distancing. Culls the puppies just because...
Curley: believes Covid-19 is a hoax designed to put people like him out of business. Takes the Trump/Bolsonaro view of mask-wearing. Ditches the glove fulla Vaseline in favour of bare-knuckle fighting to show he ain’t scared of no one.
Candy: paranoid about catching Covid and getting canned. Spreads rumours that Curley’s wife has brought the virus to the farm and that the end of the world is nigh. Spends his time figuring but the size of the national debt is beyond the numbers he knows.
Crooks: at high risk of the virus due to BAME status, replaces his liniment with sanitiser and makes masks out of horse bandages. Blockades the entrance to his room to bar entry to Lennie, Candy and Curley’s wife; this is no time for idle chit-chat in an enclosed space. Re-reads the Californian Civil Code but there’s nothing in it to advise on global pandemics.
Carlson: secretly a full-on prepper, Carlson momentarily mistakes himself for a resident of a Cornish village. He dons his hazmat suit, cleans up and polishes his Luger, and unfurls the rolls of barbed wire he ordered from Amazon around the perimeter of the ranch. The only thing left to do is dig out his pitchfork…
Curley’s wife: persists in ignoring stay-at-home instructions and roams the ranch in her fruitless pursuit of Curley. Wears a red mask adorned with ostrich feathers but frequently takes it off because it smudges her lipstick. Half way through the pandemic, she suddenly recognises the oppression of the patriarchy, divorces Curley and becomes a Youtube phenomenon, finally achieving her dream of being in the pictures.
Slim: his Godlike eyes enable him to develop a 100% effective vaccination against Covid-19 and the prince of the ranch is hailed as the new Messiah. Seated upon the lead mule in the train, he makes a triumphal entry to Soledad to hand over his formula to Anthony Fauci.