‘Back to Normal?’ by Cathy MacKenzie

Welcome to The Spot Writers. This month’s prompt is to write a story inspired by the phrase “back to normal.” It could be a pandemic-related story about getting back to normal, or one about not getting back to normal, or a story about something else entirely.

This week’s contribution comes from Cathy MacKenzie. Cathy’s novel, WOLVES DON’T KNOCK, a psychological drama, is available from her locally or on Amazon. MISTER WOLFE, the sequel, coming soon, as well as MY BROTHER, THE WOLF, the last of the series.


Back to Normal?

I thought for a little while

We were back to near normal—

At least here in Nova Scotia

With two active cases as of this writing

And a mere handful in the Maritimes—

Though I doubt the world will ever again be normal;

Perhaps it never was.


I was petrified when Covid first hit,

Didn’t leave the house for months,

And now when I venture out

All the fun has vaporized;

After going here and there

And avoiding masquerading peeps,

I yank the mask off my face

And get the blazes home.


Mandatory masks

Hinder breathing and

Make jaws sweat

And hide faces as if we’re gangstas,

Covering expressions, too—

Are we happy or sad

Or deceitfully dastardly?

For eyes don’t give true reflections,

And assumptions have dire consequences.


Stores are freaky and frightful:

Customers lined up,

Counted and herded through doors

Like cows going to slaughter,

Arrows like daggerly darts point the way,

But one misstep and

We’re screeched at like toddlers

About to walk into a fire.


Dining out ain’t enjoyable,

Sitting in plastic-covered booths

Void of decoration and condiments,

Reading limited choices on disposable menus,

And, oh, how disconcerting

The mask-wearing mannequins

That occupy off-limit tables and

Watching banditos entering and exiting,

Following directional arrows

As if imbeciles unable to find their way.


Everywhere we go:

Sanitize, sanitize, sanitize!

Keep two metres apart!

Don’t touch!

Masks are mandatory!


“Normal” is not back,

But for a short time I felt it was

And I was elated to be free,

But my heart’s dampened

And my mind’s dulled,

This new normal is not normal.

I’m gonna stay the blazes home!



The Spot Writers—Our Members:

Val Muller: http://www.valmuller.com/blog/

Catherine A. MacKenzie: https://writingwicket.wordpress.com/wicker-chitter/

Phil Yeats: https://alankemisterauthor.wordpress.com

Chiara De Giorgi: https://chiaradegiorgi.blogspot.com/

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