A Fish in the Percolator

Power outages, boil water advisories and loss of major appliances due to microwaving your favorite spoon are merely exercises in living in a post-apocalyptic world, where one seeks alternative ways to survive the elements. During the most recent drill, Sister Madly came to the conclusion that her own survival skills, though artistic, are suicidal.


It was Tallulah who first notified Sister Madly about the citywide Boil Water Advisory that weekend. Had it not been for this sibling intervention, Sister Madly would have gone on chugging down beakers of tap water with reckless abandon. Instead, she received the news mid-swallow, with the same look as one being told that there was a fish in the percolator.

There is nothing that Sister Madly wants more than the things that are forbidden her. Never had the allure of the faucet been so strong as it was in that moment- so strong, in fact, that Sister Madly began to rationalize. What if this was E. Coli’s way of reaching out? What if he’s merely lost, or just wants to be our friend? What he wants to come and meet us, but thinks he’ll blow our minds?

And is it not a little impetuous in calling the little guy unsanitary? Perhaps it’s a free range E. Coli, grass-fed and organic. After all, Sister Madly survived the Listeria Tainted Onions without incident, and it was one of the most delicious moments of her life. The Listeria added that certain je ne sais quoi to the tagine- what if E. Coli held the same secret to great tasting water? What if he changed the water into rainbows? What if Skittles began pouring out of all the faucets? Or limited edition commemorative coins? What if every time she turned on the shower, Leonard Cohen began to sing?


But Sister Madly is an adult(ish), and as an adult(ish), she must be responsible (again, ish). While E. Coli could be all the wonderful things she imagined, he could very well be the opposite. He could be planning a hostile takeover of the planet one reservoir at a time. He could be after her Social Security Number, or her collection of Mystery Science Theater 3000 DVD’s. He could be out to move the bookmark back several chapters in A Confederacy of Dunces, which is currently in close proximity to several different water sources and may go undetected for some time. He could be a used car salesman peddling Pintos faucet-to-faucet, or a missionary from some rogue splinter sect.

Since it is better to be safe than sorry- and since the high fructose corn syrup in soda pop will apparently bring about the zombie-garden gnome apocalypse- Sister Madly was resigned to drinking nothing but alcohol for the duration of the advisory. Besides, it was a friend’s birthday, and it would be very irresponsible of Sister Madly to drink tainted water and ruin the big day.*

* Tallulah came to the same conclusion, in which case it must be true. Tallulah is, as we all know, selectively wise.

You see, to rationalize with the enemy can lead to your undoing, and Sister Madly needs no more of that. Thank you.

POST’S THEME SONG: Starman, David Bowie

6 responses

  1. Bramble R. Gray

    Those look good!!!


    May 28, 2014 at 1:19 PM

    • Sister Madly

      They were! 😉


      May 28, 2014 at 2:16 PM

  2. How delightful! I too frequently live in a post-apocalyptic world. If you get up early enough you can actually see some of the survivors crawling out of the bushes. Yesterday I saw a man with a bone through his nose wearing nothing but a loin cloth.

    My survival skills are actually pretty good, although I do admit to also drinking nothing but alcohol, since soda riddled with high fructose corn syrup is bad for you.


    May 28, 2014 at 6:15 PM

    • Sister Madly

      Sounds like you live in an interesting place, post-apocalyptic or not!


      May 29, 2014 at 9:47 AM

  3. I have twice had close calls with water-unfit-for-drinking, one in which I happened to (somehow) hear about the water before starting my daily routine (happily I could put off getting up; I think it was the weekend), and one a couple months ago where the water was cut off just after I’d finished showering. I have no explanation for these lucky breaks.


    May 29, 2014 at 10:04 PM

    • Sister Madly

      The patron saint against tainted water must have been smiling upon you those days. I think his name is Boris.


      May 30, 2014 at 9:14 AM

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