Rogue Virologist Behind Unexplained New Illness Pens Manifesto
by Johns Salk
October 15, New York—Three patients have now been placed into negative-pressure quarantine units at Mount Sinai hospital following infection with a mysterious new illness. Two further patients have checked into SUNY’s Downstate Teaching Hospital in Brooklyn with similarly bizarre symptoms. The CDC has yet to release a public announcement regarding the outbreak, but a whistle-blower reports panic at the agency’s Washington, D.C. headquarters as new case-reports flood in from hospitals around the northeast.
Caused by a novel pathogen most similar to a virus, the syndrome responds to no approved medication and spreads via unknown mechanisms. Before this morning, experts thought the pathogen had emerged from prehistory, released from melting permafrost. However, a woman named Jane Dee has submitted a manifesto that claims she herself invented the disease in an ad hoc laboratory in her Hell’s Kitchen loft.
Her strangely-phrased letter to the Times belies a deranged mind; but she claims that, if we publish her manifesto, entitled “Love Sickness,” she will send the CDC and Johns Hopkins University the chemical formula and manufacturing instructions for a vaccine against her creation. She has further demanded that, in all future reporting, we refer to her vaccine as an “enochulation,” but she refuses to clarify this requested misspelling.
Ms. Dee, according to her own letter, was a high-ranking virologist for WHO and lecturer at Cornell’s Weill School of Medicine before, in late 2019, she abruptly quit both positions after overhearing what she calls “disturbingly cold hypotheticals” through a locked conference-room door at the WHO’s Manhattan office. Since then, she writes, she has “occupied herself with the grand question of HOW TO PREVENT those “”hypotheticals”” from becoming reality.”
The disease Ms. Dee claims to have invented presents, at first, with chills, oddly viscous sweat, heightened libido, and a distinct feeling that the infected’s skin is stretching. Anyone expressing any such symptoms, especially in Kings, Orange, and Queens counties, is encouraged to contact emergency medical personnel immediately. The duration and severity of the disease are not yet known.
Love Sickness: A Manifesto in Seven Parts
Dr. Jane Dee, MD, Dr. theol.
1. In Plato’s Symposium, the philosopher and playwright Aristophanes tells the most important story in human OURstory. “Humans,” he says, “were once plural and singular at once: There were no men and no women, but duets. Our bodies were connected, so that we moved through the world as pairs. But so configured, we were too strong, and the gods felt threatened and separated us. Our bodies and souls remember that connection and strive throughout life to achieve it. This is the origin of the feelings of attraction and love.” I paraphrase, but I trust my readers recognize the story. It has happened again. The powerful need their subjects as separate as possible. Not a social sphere, but a fragile foam of isolated bubbles. I won’t explain. If you don’t get it, you don’t have the ears for this MOUTH. If you slice a foam down the middle, you pop a few little bubbles, but you retain the structure. You can only pop a big sphere once. It’s STABILITY they’re after, above all else, which amounts to hatred of life.
2. I don’t care about that whole men/women fiasco. Pathological novelty. We must RETVRN to connection. I myself, I’m attracted to anyone who deserves it. Hetero/homosexuality, nothing but social ideas. Everybody’s pansexual who realizes that there are things they cannot know, who is ABOVE guilt, who knows they will die, really knows. The anus is the sun, creator of all life, in fusion. The vagina is the sun, creator of all life, in fusion. Dick comes and goes. Praise be to GOD.
3. THEY are planning a fully foam future. Everyone split up, call it pod world if you like, call it “socially distant but not alone,” call it SOLitude (the sun). THEY will make it happen by calling connection dangerous. Pathological. Infectious. As always THEY LIE. THEY need us to fear connection. To hate it. To hate the only thing that makes life worth its death.
4. So I have made THEIR propaganda reality. The Love Sickness. Oh, the “”experts”” will never figure it out. They don’t have the theological acuity. Lemme getchu, I gotchu: It is the first metavirus. LOVE.
5. The tech specs: Most viruses are quantitative. They force cells to make other things like them. Ribosomes mRNA hijacked replication blahblahblah. My metavirus is physical and spiritual and QUALITATIVE. It infects the whole being at once and makes the human into a virus. Sweat becomes thick glue. The pores open, straining the skin’s collagen. Chills, high libido…the infected doesn’t just want but needs to CUDDLE, to hold and be held. When two infected people touch, they are stuck together. Eventually their pores fuse and they will be connected. Like Aristophanes said.
6. Still more technical: My dear metavirus hijacks the epithelial cells, the fastest-replicating in the body, and forces them to produce an external plasma of pluripotent stem-cells. It blocks aromatase and skyrockets testosterone to increase libido. It forces the pores to relax and open, causing rapid heat loss. Like Toxoplasma gondii in mice and rats, it makes those infected into the perfect vectors of spread. It won’t kill anyone…unless they go too long without CUDDLES and die of hypothermia. When two of the infected touch, they will connect permanently, and their organs will learn to act as though they are one collaborative body, and they will experience the heights of pleasure of the best sex for the rest of their lives. And yes, theoretically my disease will pass if you treat the symptoms—wear a full-body suit and drink soymilk to tank your test levels and sit next to a heater for weeks on end (hybridized with mononucleosis for long-lasting effect teehee, of course, right, the KISSING disease). But none of that matters unless somebody figures out how my baby spreads. And the “experts” DON’T KNOW THAT TYPE OF GOD.
7. Yeah, yeah, oh yeah, I’ve gambled hard. What if it gets everybody, and we become perfect again, like ANGELS? All the world will have to be rebuilt for higher beings…we will speak the ANGELS’ language, henceforth only understood by Enoch and John Dee, my great-great-great-whatever granddad. Humanity will have ended. But for the BETTER. Better, at least, than the hyperisolated world THEY want. Everyone in separate apartments doing phone calls and doing video chats and doing antidepressants like that’s any kind of LIFE. So, like, trust me. Unlike all these “eXpErTs,” I have your best interests at heart. Oh, but yes, there is an “enochulation”…catch me if you can, you agents of SATAN.
Jane Dee Plays Pranks While Hospitals Overflow
by Johns Salk
October 22, New York—Dr. Jane Dee has proved quite the elusive figure for the NYPD. The return address on her letter led to an underground sex club beneath the Poseidon Greek Bakery near Theater Row in Hell’s Kitchen. After the Times ran her manifesto on Sunday, the CDC and Johns Hopkins received identical postcards, each with a panoramic photo of the Parthenon: “Stare into your patients’ beautiful eyes for at least seven  seconds, then hug them. Oh, how they NEED it.” Greek authorities have begun a search for the fugitive virologist but have hit upon no leads.
Meanwhile, hundreds of those infected with her new “metavirus” have checked into hospitals around the country, and cases have surfaced near international airports around the world. Singapore, Puerto Rico, and Portugal have closed their borders to all travel, and more countries are expected to follow.
Once-opposed crowds of gender equity activists, posthumanist academics, and incels have gathered outside all of New York’s major hospitals, demanding to be let in so that they can become infected. Famed accelerationist philosopher Rick Lake tweeted, “RETVRN to dualman to live a life of constant fuck,” to record-breaking levels of support.
Health agencies around the world have instituted extreme lockdown protocols, with seemingly little effect. One hurriedly published blog post from Cambodia claims that affectionate eye-contact with an infected patient in a video chat can spread the disease. The team of authors links this illogical behavior with Jane Dee’s emphasis that her creation is “physical and spiritual,” but no controlled peer-reviewed study has yet corroborated these findings.
The CDC has yet to issue an official announcement on the new metavirus, but a frontline doctor, who has chosen to remain anonymous, has penned a hasty series of notes to the Times via email:
1. Eye-contact rumors true. Learned day 3 to blindfold patients. Many nurses, docs lost.
2. More abstract: Affectionate words, written/spoken, spread it. Coldness contains.
3. Coldness does not cure. Day 6 learned over-coldness toward patient kills.
4. Theory: Metavirus makes metaphor real. Vocal coldness=physical cold.
5. Patients have escaped and touched several others. Conglomerate beings. Metavirus does not stop with a pair. Highest number conjoined so far=7.
6. At least one connection seems enough to stabilize illness indefinitely.
7. Those with no connection begin to improve day 5. Can be reinfected. No immune mechanism known. Similar to infatuation.
8. Worst possible scenarios: More conjoin than can be moved. Or conjoin strategically, retain independent mobility as superorganism
9. Repeat coldness contains.
Jane Dee Publicizes Enochulation Formula as Riddle
by Jenny Salk
October 29, New York—I have stepped in on request of the Times senior editors to replace my esteemed brother, Johns Salk, on account of his infection with the metavirus that he so courageously covered in its first nascent week. Oh, forgive what circuitry my words may follow; count on a concrete poet, who reads no later than the nineteenth century, for an electric prose style—I’m talking pre-alternating current, Franklin with kite and key electric; which is to say, the Times shall, for a time (or times, depending on my dear brother’s time in hospital), come to resemble Lamb’s and Hazlitt’s Blackwoods. Don’t worry about it. It’s a good thing, I assure you; I am no adept at self-minimization.
So much of a preamble to the real new, or, say, the inked news reel: Famed pathogenicist Jane Dee, descendent of mystic John, has penned her promised enochulation, albeit in but brief, confounding form. (All who expected otherwise from such a novel mind have not, to my mind, read sufficiently of novels.) And this when, since the ides when her new metavirus first metastasized beyond its birthing lab, her child has taken some few dozen thousand in its grippe (the flu-like chills justify the liberty I’ve taken there). Of the States, not one of fifty boasts it’s unaffected. Elsewhere, now-universal lockdowns and border-closures and curfews prove incontinent; which is to say, no continent remains unstricken, and several countries find themselves, on each new morning, stricken from the list of healthy havens. I’ve got to hand it to Ms. Dee; her two hands’ deed has locked down a place in history, to such an extent that it has closed the book on history before it, begun another volume, and so loudly so as to approach Vesuvial amplitude.
One more volley of straightforward news before moving to Dee’s enochulation-riddle: Chicago is riddled with infection, and half downtown has formed into one giant superorganism. Statisticians guess no fewer than two-hundred are connected in the biggest behemoth, joined at the pores and horny and hounding after any other; and another dozen prowl Hyde Park in search of other metavirus-opened hides on which to park their own. New York is lost. New Orleans seemed awash until its largest metaviral complex (a fused group of some hundred-strong, lumbering down Bourbon Street) was stricken down in Jackson Park. (Picnic. Lightning.) Los Angeles and Fairfield, Massachusetts fare no better. Boston seems fine; those most paranoid should likely venture there.
And so, Jane Dee’s vaccine, exactly as she sent it:
Metavirus—metacure—metaenochulation. So far so obvious. There are ways out. Perforations. Not to be made but to be found. Here, pharma ploughs a barren field. Forget a chemical. My baby is no such. Coldness contains, doctor? What’s a coldness below zero Kelvin? Have you played horseshoes, learned the game’s theory? Have you yet admitted a committed spouse? No? What’s the opposite of cold, where cold must go when past its limit? What’s the plural of spouse? When my metavirus connects ten, twenty, a thousand…mouse-mice, spouse-spice. Get it? Wordplay punctures the language, punctures its world. Dig your hole, then, thus, to noumenon and back up, or dig your amorous grave, dear doctor, puella docta, Dr. Puella. I know who I’m writing to. How long has Johns Salk been infected? My meta, like any virus, has its incubation period. Like any virus, it can find its target. How long has Johns Salk been infected? Call me a phisher of men. As for his sister, Jenny—we’ve been like peas and carrots since childhood.
Do with all this what you will.
Jane Dee Caught, Metavirus Cured
by Johns Salk
November 5, New York—I am overjoyed, for personal as well as humanitarian reasons, to report that Jane Dee’s metavirus has been cured. Teams of surgeons in most of the world’s countries have mobilized to separate those connected in the grip of their infections. Some small nations, too overridden by the virus to want to eradicate it, have chosen to forego the cure. These, mostly islands in the Caribbean, Indian Ocean, and South Pacific, are now cordoned off from the world by an international coalition of military blockades. To prevent infection, no surveillance has been done, so we do not know the condition of these outlier islands.
At risk of sounding like the conclusion to an old detective story, I will report this historic outbreak’s end.
My sister, Jenny, recognized Jane Dee’s writing style and mention of “peas and carrots” as indicative of a childhood friend, whose name cannot be released until the conclusion of her trial for bioterrorism. Tracing credit card records, Jane Dee was found in a small cabin in the forest of Montana, surrounded by an ample library of saccharine love poetry, as well as esoteric tomes by John Dee, Meister Eckhardt, and Lou Salome. Scholars from the University of Michigan are now hard at work to decipher how she synthesized her metavirus from such an eclectic collection.
The editor of a small newspaper south of Baltimore, steeped in literary and medical history, cracked Jane Dee’s riddle: “The horseshoe-opposite of cold is hot. Do any of these connected folks actually like each other? My wife and I been going to the hospitals and praying for the afflicted since day one, and ain’t neither of us been taken with the stuff. How ‘bout you find folks they can fall in love with?”
Armed with this advice, a team of newspapers and Craigslist experts rounded up an international team of old-fashioned matchmakers to find lovers for each of the affected, upon the approach of whom the infection subsided.
Those who had already fused to genuine lovers before the cure was found have largely chosen to undergo the de-fusing operation voluntarily, though their symptoms had already subsided. Many of these have expressed frustration with their physical connection post-illness, calling it “redundant.”
Well, then, love wins. I end my report with Jane Dee’s brief statement, upon being taken into police custody in Montana:
Have I not improved the world? Improved all your lives? And in ongoing fashion? My metavirus is not smallpox. It will never die completely. Every time you call a friend, talk with a stranger in a cafe, log into a video chat for work, you will risk infection. There are borders on maps, but they are purely legal. For virtual space, ha! So what have I done? Made you more honest with yourselves? Found you love? Bioterrorism past its limit…is that not biocharity? Right back around the horseshoe? Make sure Jenny’s at my trial.
Jane Dee has been extradited to Manhattan, her last known place of official residence, and her trial is set to begin on November 15. It will be open to the public. Since her incarceration in an isolated cell on Rikers Island, thank-you letters have poured in from all over the globe; Rikers Island Prison officials have decided not to deliver any to her until after a judge has decided her case. She faces a maximum sentence of life in prison and a minimum of ninety years. All those wishing to comment upon her case are encouraged to submit their thoughts as letters to the editor at email@example.com. Jane Dee and her public defender, Casi Pava, have already announced that they will appeal any conviction to the Supreme Court, in order to establish legal precedent for the divide between bioterror and biocharity.