Mantra for the Madness

The sounds of a cold echo between buildings.
He ignores the coughing and sneezing,
Turning up the volume on his headphones,
Blasting a rock song into his brain.
Everyone's worried for no reason.
That's his mantra for the madness.

He walks into a bar as rain begins to fall.
There are people gathered together in booths.
By looks on their faces, they're clearly concerned.
While those at the bar seemingly don't care.
He chooses to sit at the bar.

A robot bartender greets him by name,
Then asks if he'd like his usual.
He nods and looks around at the people beside him.
Most are lost in their phones, sipping on their drinks.
The guy beside him is playing Candy Crush.
He wins a level and orders another drink to celebrate.

People in the booths are speaking in hushed tones,
Whispering their worries to avoid hisses and eye rolls.
He takes off his headphones.
Right away he notices the imbalance in noise.
Everyone's worried for no reason.

Another man walks in and sits on the other side of him.
The second man nods at the first man, orders a beer,
Then sneezes into his elbow.
Those in the booths aren't pleased by his behavior.
The first man rolls his eyes.

The robot bartender hands the second man his drink,
Then asks how he's doing since his wife passed.
He shrugs, shakes his head, then takes a gulp of his beer.
The first man looks at the second man,
Wondering how his wife died.

The second man sees him staring.
A subtle look confirms his suspicion.
He sneezes again then finishes his beer.
Some sitting in the booths exit quickly,
Clearly repulsed by his cold.
He pays for the beer.

The second man nods at the first man before heading out.
Solidarity isn't the right word.
Those sitting at the bar are perplexed,
Uncertain of what to make of their carelessness.
Maybe everyone's worried for a reason?

An eerie chill moves up his spine.
Something suddenly doesn't feel right.
He pays for the drink then gets ready to make a swift exit.
As he walks out, he nods to those still left in the booths.
Escaping into the night, he leaves his music off,
Replaying what just happened in his head.

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