"The Smell of Lilacs"  by Jeremy Althof 

"It’s just a quick prick, and then we can get your paperwork squared away, "said the Food and Beverage manager. He was a heavyset man, with watery brown eyes visible over his N95 mask. His was a bright Marriott red and looked both expensive and effective.

“I turned in my paperwork when I applied. It had all my numbers and clearances’, "Shane said. It’s true – he had gotten the full workup before applying for this job dropping plates as a cater waiter for weddings, work functions, and the occasional bar mitzvah. That meant he had paid out of his own pocket for a doctor’s visit, blood work, mouth swab, nasal swab, and stool sample. The exact same stuff he had done before he started driving for Uber.

“This function has asked for ‘Elevated’ screenings. That means we prick and scan everyone before they go out on the floor; no exceptions. If it was up to me, you wouldn’t even by allowed on the property until we did a P and S on everyone. "

“I should talk to the shop steward...”

“Feel free to talk to him, but you ain’t in the union and this is covered in the contract even if you were. This is going to be more and more standard, so you might as well get used to it. Do you want to get someone sick? Do you want to be liable for that?”

“I feel fine.”

“So, get scanned and go about your day. It’s kind of a status thing with some people. They want to be able to say that they know that Grampa is not going to catch Trips and that every person they interact with as clean as a mountain stream. It’s actually being courteous. If you have something, do you want to be the one that puts Gramps in the hospital?”

Shane sighed. “I hate needles.” He lifted the seat guard and sat down in the medchair.

“Then you were born in the wrong era.”

A tone rang out from the chair, clear and minimalist.

“Please move your arms away from the testing area” Two long, anime-style arms emerged from the back of the chair. “Spraying to commence”

The hentai-style tentacles sprayed down the entire chair, the clean scent of lemon mixed with the hospital tang of bleach. “Place your arms in the testing areas.” The chair chimed brightly. Shane slid his arms into place.

“Testing to commence” He felt a slight pressure on the tips of his middle fingers.

“Can’t even feel it, right?”

The med-chair whirled audibly. Stopped. Whirled again. Stopped.

He felt more pressure o