The Illness by Daniel Shapiro

The contagious disease causes unease and makes people think in rhyme all of the time. We’re sick of the doctors studying our neurons. Just bring the motherfucking cure on. We’re up a creek without a paddle. Every conversation is a fucking rap battle. And there’s no winner. Mamma has to freestyle just to tell you what’s for dinner. Some have good flow. Then some other people have to talk real slow. Especially the elderly. Some people seem to like it, but it’s sure been hell to me. For example here’s just a sample of the ample problem that robbed them and us of our ability to discuss what we wanted to say every single day. Here’s the scene with no delay.

Yesterday my wife’s words cut like a knife. “It happens to every guy. I’m not going to lie.”

“It doesn’t happen to me, you see.”

“I’ll just let you be. You’ve been under some stress.   This isn’t a test.”

“But I love you best, and I want to try again. I know I can.”

“We’ll see, Dan.”

And that’s what it’s like every day and night whether wrong or right. But I’ll tell you more. I was at the drug store. The clerk and I started rappin’. Here’s what happened. “I’m aggravated, ‘cause I’m constipated. I need a laxative to be an active kid.”

The clerk said, “Say no more. It’s down isle four on the top shelf. I use it myself.” I told her I had a doctor’s appointment, and he prescribed an ointment.

“Is there anyway you know what he meant?”

She said, “I know what you mean. It’s a topical cream. Just have a seat. We’ll have it ready in fifteen.”

It’s all a lot more than we can handle, son. It’s like a never ending version of Hamilton. I thought that shit was corny when I saw the preview. And if you think this shit is funny then I don’t believe you.

So what’s next? Do we become extinct like the T-rex from this damn hex? Or do we learn to adapt even though we all have had enough of this rapping crap? But it’s not that bad. Not the worst disease that I’ve ever had. It’s made us all more witty. As witty as a titty on a kitty in the city.

The President made a speech that was congratulated. She said she wants to get us all vaccinated. She said the state of the union was improving, but we need to get the hell up and develop a solution.

All the headlines noticed those were off rhymes, and maybe we had seen the worse, and the illness will disperse. But I’m not a believer. Not when every white boy still sounds like Justin Bieber.


Daniel Shapiro is a writer-comedian from Wichita, Ks. His writing has appeared in Chicago Literati, Untoward, Hypertext, and the book Bare-Knuckled Lit. This piece was inspired by the song “Funky Shit” by Travis Barker and Yellawolf. And of course Wu-Tang is forever.