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Danse Macabre: Five Interviews from the 2013 Tarantella Epidemic

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No fucks – that’s how it starts. That’s how you gotta think of it. Like giving up, and giving in. You’re standing there, and you’ve got shit. You are shit. There’s nothing for you in your shitty apartment, there’s nothing for you in the big shitty sky, and there’s nothing for you down on the shitty street, no matter what route you take. You give up on everything – past, present, future. You just let whatever wants in, in.

You let your body do its thing.

That empty, and that open? There’s music out there, man. It’s infectious. It gets in you when there’s nothing left, and it just goes from there. It takes hold, and your body is sending you signals, riding you out, doing things you never thought it could or ever wanted to. Things maybe you never wanted to. Things you didn’t think possible, that no one did, because there’s too much fuckin’ interference from life tellin’ them it ain’t.

If you’re the first – the inceptor, the party maker – you got nothing to lose. No fucks right? Just let it ride you until you crash, and even then, it’s in you. It’ll change your life. It’ll become your life, because what else’ve you got? Shit, that’s what.

If you’re not, if you just catch it ‘cause it’s catchy, well maybe that’s different. I hear there’s people suing, there’s been fights, there’s been big dramas. I got lucky, and just went on the run. Danced right off the edge of the world. I heard stories though. Whole buildings infected, danced right out – walls and ceilings busted. I guess maybe if some stranger comes shakin’ his dick at you, all twitchin’ and practically jumpin’ out of his pants… In those moments before it takes you with it, I can see how that might not seem so cool… If it’s just passing through and now you gotta make insurance claims and go back to living with your shitty ass neighbors, when not too long ago that asshole who always plays his music too loud and gives you creepy looks in the elevator just had his face knocked about by your knockers, maybe that sucks.

But here’s the thing, man. You don’t gotta go back. No one has to go back. You can look around, see the shitty life you’ve built and the shitty people in it, and just let go! Give in, let your body do its thing, let it ride you, be free. Be powerful. Bust through all those walls. Be the music. Give no fucks. You can’t hold me back!

-Subject #15

Subject #15 is believed to be the inceptor of the second outbreak. He was detained briefly for questioning, but escaped after a series of violent pelvic thrusts allowed him to bust through the concrete wall. He infected two nurses and three out of four guards, despite the hazmat suits and other protocols. His current whereabouts are unknown.

--

My poor -----! I’m afraid to go see her. She was such a good girl, you know, did well in school, never was in any trouble. She’s tried to call me a few times, but you just don’t know if it’s safe to answer anymore. My cousin’s friend was there when her husband picked up the phone and took one of the calls, oh it was terrible, she said! His face just melted right off! The poor thing… And they still can’t figure out what it is doing to the phone lines.

It isn’t like they’re doing this on purpose…. they’re not thinking straight, not at all. Like you said, it’s not really them, it’s this music, this infection. They used to say my generation’s music was the devil’s music, but it was never anything like this! This is like - well, it’s everything our parents were afraid of, that’s what it is. We’re losing our babies to it…

I just don’t understand! She was never unhappy. They say you have to let it take you over, you know, if you’re an inceptor. And that’s what they said about ----. That it started with her, that she came flying through the ceiling of her dorm bottom first, and it spread from there to all the other girls... My baby - I wish she’d come to talk to me. And all they can think to do is spread it, you can’t really reach them, even after they’ve crashed it just keeps going. I just want my little girl back, not that mindless dance machine!

-Informant #92

Informant #92 was the mother of an inceptor, Subject #114. Interviews were held to help find commonalities between inceptors, though in this case the family assessment proved unreliable. In the case of Subject #114, personal blog entries revealed a young woman struggling with her the pressures of her responsibilities and expectations and wishing for “a way out.”

--

This is awful. It’s the worst. I don’t have anywhere to go. Even if my place wasn’t busted up so bad it’s gotta be condemned, I couldn’t look any of those people in the eye again. Either they’re gonna feel as bad as I do, or else they’re the type who feel like we ‘shared something special’ or whatever and that’s even worse. We shared some kind of mass delusion. A virus. An infection. Something that was forced on us whether we wanted it or not (I didn’t).

I still don’t feel like myself. I feel scared of my own damned tits! I used to love them, but now I just can't trust them anymore. How re-damned-diculous is that? I’ve got three sports bras on. I thought about wearing a binder. I know it wouldn’t be enough. If it hits me again, I’ll just bust out of everything and be left with artful tatters while I gyrate my way across half the city. I can’t look my barista in the eye. I used to think he was cute, but now I’ve seen him mix a latte with his dick. How can you go back to normal after that?

And fuck it - I *want* normal! I wanna curl up with my laptop and my cat and scroll endlessly through ridiculous tumblr memes. I want to netflix and chill with a new cutie from OK Cupid. I wanna go to my job and bitch with my coworkers about the ridiculous bullshit the bosses are pulling today! Maybe it sounds dull and mediocre, but it’s my life! My friends! People I chose. A crappy job that I… okay well I didn’t choose that, but at least it’s mine, and I can pay my bills. I could quit if I wanted. I could do a lot of things - if I wanted to, right? At least I could’ve. Now I’m just fighting to pick up the pieces.

But yeah - I am fighting. I’ve gotta, if I want to be myself. So far it’s just coming here, or yelling at the hold music for the insurance company for three hours a day while scrolling through apartment listings on Craigslist. There’s gotta be a place for me, even after all this, where I can kick back with my girlfriends over fancy drinks and bitch about bad tv and guys who want you to be their mothers. I’m not asking for the moon here, I just want things to go back to normal!

-Subject #237

Subject #237 has voluntarily attended medical debriefings, and cooperated with psychological and physical testing to assist in the isolation of this dance epidemic, as well as assessment of its impacts. Subject #237 has not experienced any reoccurance of her condition, or any negative physical aftereffects other than delayed-onset muscle soreness and general fatigue. Psychological assessments are ongoing.

--

Chasers, man, yeah, that’s what you can call it, sure. Find whoever’s running the party and crash it! All them bitches shaking their asses, shakin’ their tits, having the time of their lives whether they know it or not. Ride that high ‘til you crash, then get up and go again. You can do anything, and get away with it too, when you’re in the grip. Girls who’d never look at you twice will grind themselves all over you - all over anyone. Girls you’d never look at, too, and it doesn’t matter, it just feels good.

I heard you had it here. I can almost hear the music. Can I go now? I need to find the next party man.

-Subject #366

Subject #366’s condition was assessed as severely dehydrated and malnourished. Additionally, he had several strain injuries to major and minor muscle groups, and was beginning to exhibit physical symptoms similar to major drug withdrawal. Since the subject did not sign the extended consent form and was not presently exhibiting signs of contagion, he was released from the study’s containment area. Local law enforcement have been notified, though they have been reluctant to engage with the outbreaks for obvious reasons.

--

It’s just not fuckin’ fair! I hate my life! I’m goddamned fuckin’ despondent! I’d give it all up in a heartbeat if I could! But no - fuckin’ tone deaf all my life, no sense of rhythm either, and now I’m passed over by the music gods again!

I’ve tried, man. I ran with a buncha chasers, and the rest of them would get infected, shaking their asses, shaking their dicks, tits all doin’ pirouettes on their own, starting fires by grinding, busting through walls all that shit. But me? Standing in the corner ignored. The only one in the room who’s’ gotta be careful about falling through the floor or getting hit by a flying rock. My dick is as limp as ever. My ass is flat and still. I’m a fuckin’ dance-squib.

Still, I can make it pay off, I guess. I mean it isn’t really what I wanted, but someone’s got to put these videos up on YouTube, right? I tell myself that it’s my ‘special calling’ but really it fucking blows, watchin’ everyone else get some and not gettin’ in on the action. But you guys are gonna pay me too, right? To work with these jacked up assholes? I feel like danger pay’s gonna have to be a thing, right? I’ll be a fuckin’ millionaire by the time this shit’s all sorted out. So yeah, I’m in.

-[Name Redacted]

Interview recording with [Name Redacted] during recruitment to the field team. He provided crucial information about vectors of transmission from inceptors and enabled the research team to develop a lexicon of movements characteristic of the infected. Sadly, he was killed in the line of duty when he was drawn into a circle of infected as a prop, ricocheted from posterior to trembling posterior until he was shot out a seventh floor window and ended up as a macabre scarecrow for the local community garden upon landing.

The loss of this valuable team member resulted in several other researchers abandoning their posts, incepting themselves and wreaking havoc throughout the research complex. It is doubtful whether containment and quarantine of the building can be restored at this point.

“It’s what he would have wanted,” one infected team member declared during a lull in the manic dance demolition. “Now - who’s up for another round of shots?”