Plague mice disappear from NJ lab

In a real-life fuck-up that could serve as a postscript to Camus’ most famous novel, three mice infected with the bubonic plague disappeared from a New Jersey lab three weeks ago. The FBI wants you to know that there is absolutely no cause for alarm. (Via I Can’t Believe It’s Not a Democracy.)

Whew, that’s a load off. I mean, given the way the Bureau got to the bottom of the Anthrax mailings and the federal government so expertly handled more recent calamities, how could we not be reassured that we’re safe from the disease that once wiped out a quarter of Europe?

From The Plague:

The word “plague” had just been uttered for the first time. At this stage of the narrative, with Dr. Bernard Rieux standing at his window, the narrator may, perhaps, be allowed to justify the doctor’s uncertainty and surprise — since, with very slight differences, his reaction was the same as that of the great majority of our townsfolk. Everybody knows that pestilences have a way of recurring in the world; yet somehow we find it hard to believe in ones that crash down on our heads from a blue sky. There have been as many plagues as wars in history; yet always plagues and wars take people equally by surprise.


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