My son, Alex, is learning how to be a psychic. This is in addition to his college classes at SUNY online. He goes to ZOOM classes with other Gen Z mediums and they all channel together. They listen carefully to the words of their spirit guides and practice paying attention.

He was diagnosed with ADHD when he was in the fifth grade and so has difficulty focusing. He hated the medication he was given, calling it rocket fuel. It was amazingly effective, though. He went from C’s to A’s in all his classes. Recently, he asked a doctor to prescribe the same medicine again. I was aghast. “You used to hate that stuff!” I said; “You’d start yelling each time your teacher told you to go downstairs to the nurse and take it. Sometimes they’d even send you to the principal’s office afterwards.”

“Yes, I know,” he said; “But it will help me with channeling. It will also help with math and the essay I have to write for English.”

His class of Gen Z psychics met in person this time with appropriate social distancing. Folding chairs were set up six feet apart and masks were mandatory. Things are opening back up, but the spirit guides had better protect these young people anyway. These days, we need all the protection we can get.

To get there, Alex braved the subway in black jeans, a tie-dyed shirt of mine that says Woodstock and a tie-dyed mask in slightly different shades of blue and purple. “People weren’t too close together,” he told me afterwards; “It worked out.”

We know a couple of people who died of COVID. For one, I found out on Facebook. For the second, I got a call. Both had been sick and gasping for breath. One went to the ICU and the other was found at home in her loft in Chinatown. Another friend survived, but has to take a blood thinner daily. This is someone who never took medicine. She used Valerian to relax and took thick Vitamin C tablets when she had a cold. There will be pulmonologist visits for the rest of her life.

These days, I watch more news than I would like, more than I feel comfortable with. I sit on the couch in sweatpants and an oversized pink T-shirt. I am one of many who lost a job with the lockdown. There are scenes of protests where some are conspicuously armed with semiautomatic weapons. People have been shot in the streets. Police have squashed the breath out of suspects and wounded with rubber bullets. In San Francisco, the sky is alternately red and orange, as if on another planet. The air is sooty because the enormous fires are too close. It’s hard not to think of the apocalypse, but you have to keep the faith even while watching these images play out on the screen. Just as well that Alex is more interested in what’s going on in the astral.

One of his spirit guides, he says, is an iridescent bluebird. The bird sometimes tells him to do and not do things, which was a little alarming at first. What sort of instructions would Alex get? Take off his mask and get COVID? Throw a deck of Tarot cards at somebody in the street, screaming about auras? Get a gun? But no, it was nothing like that. Most of it was general guidance that seemed benign. Take these vitamins supplements. Complete readings for English class well before the deadline. Go on the keto diet. This guide had constructive suggestions.

Alex says he sometimes sees the bluebird through his window in the yard, beyond the fire escape, flitting through the trees. Since he started taking Strattera again, he can clearly make out words spoken in low tones, the sounds of transformation, the tidal motion of change.

Elizabeth Morse is a writer who lives in New York’s East Village. Her work has been published in literary magazines such as Blue Mesa Review, Hazmat Review, Mudfish, Lynx Eye, Home Planet News, and Freezer Burn and anthologies such as Crimes of the Beats and The Unbearables Big Book of Sex.