Duke has suffered during the coronavirus pandemic without a fully populated campus, but it has enjoyed an unintended benefit: No more crowded C1s.
“17-22 year olds are a cancerous lump on the ass of society. It makes sense that any environment that is rid of them will immediately thrive.”
Ecologist Kathleen Donohue reports that, due to a 50% capacity limit, the East-West buses’ interiors have become so serenely uncrowded that nature has moved in to fill the void. With hardly any students around to scare away marine life, jellyfish and schools of fish swim about in the C1. Buffalo and bison are reemerging in the buses as well. Rivers, streams and waterfalls abound, and pine trees seem to have popped up overnight. Without the disease of students, the C1 buses have quickly become the country’s fifth-largest nature reserve.
“I just imagine that all of the C1s are singing to each other and frolicking down their roads, giddy and gleeful,” swoons environmental science senior lecturer Rebecca Vidra. “They must be so relieved to no longer be violently stuffed to the brim like bloated carcasses festering with maggots.”
Most of us know what it’s like to spend a day using everyone’s favorite method of cross-campus transport in a pre-crisis world. In a mad dash to make it from Marketplace breakfast to your West Campus ten ‘o five, you pack onto the C1 like the confused, sleep-deprived sardine you are.
Then, once you arrive on West Campus and the doors open, you topple out like a chicken in a factory farm coop about to be slaughtered in stock footage from an environmental science student’s documentary project that they hastily threw together the day before it was due because they were a theater kid in high school and now they do Hoof ‘n’ Horn to stay in Neverland and they’ve been focusing more on rehearsals than their actual academic studies.
But that reality is no more! Now the few students who are lucky enough to travel onboard the C1 do so in the heart of a thriving microbiome. I interviewed some students right as they offboarded at the Chapel stop:
“I was kissed by a fawn. I forgot where I was even going. This place is magical.”
“I caught a deer. I suckled its gamey meat. Its moisture and tenderness were beyond description. I cried, sir.”
A third student had to be dragged off of the bus by its driver, whose uniform was adorned with twigs and leaves and who carried themself with the grace of a woodland nymph.
The C1s’ new ecosystems do not arrive without cost. With the new capacity restrictions, some students are getting left in the dust at bus stops. Said one student who’s been waiting at the Ruby for an hour and a half, “I have no home now. I have never existed. It’s like the Buddhists say: reality is illusory.” He doesn’t blink, nor do his eyes move. He speaks in a hollow monotone. A mosquito flies into his open mouth. He does not react.
Duke Eco-fascists, a recently chartered club, is thrilled by the nature boom aboard the buses.
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“Humans are the real disease. Someone said that on tumblr, and it really resonates with us” said the club’s president.
Duke’s astronomy department has snapped satellite images—taken a year apart in September—that show absolutely nothing regarding this development because the C1s are too small and you would only be able to see the roof part anyways, you silly goose.
I asked one more completely random and anonymous student what they thought about the recent surge of wildlife onboard the C1s. Here’s what they had to say:
“What? I don’t give a shit about the C1! My grandpa just died! There’s real shit going on. Why do you and all the other vultures always have to hunt for a goddamn silver lining whenever something terrible happens? Why can’t terrible things just be terrible? You’re either sensationalizing insignificant bad things whenever everything’s good or you’re hunting for silver linings whenever everything is actually bad. The pandemic just sucks. People are dying. I don’t care if ‘nature is flourishing’. Do people think that COVID is fixing climate change? It’s not. You’re a sadistic monster, Monday Monday. I hope you rot in hell.”
Monday Monday is recently single.