In April 2020, TMI Project put out a call for COVID-19-themed stories. Most of the submissions we received were from adults. Except one: enter 7 year-old Jibril Shepherd. He sent us his own version of a COVID-19 story. And we just had to share. With the help of Jibril’s mom, a blanket fort, and the power of stay-at-home technology, we were able to capture Jibril sharing his story… in his own words.
EPISODE #2 | Dusty Childers
TMI Project storyteller Dusty Lynn Childers grew up in Gaffney, South Carolina. As a kid young Dusty felt pressure to fit in and that meant assuming a masculine persona that didn’t quite ring true. Dusty’s story is about the day his straight-talking mother, who he calls a “rainbow dipped witch,” called him out on it.
To say I didn’t fully appreciate this primal, backyard symphony before the onset of coronavirus would be wholly inaccurate. It served as more of an exotic fun fact– an antidote to banal small talk and a special morsel I had in common with my literary heroine Nora Ephron.
“Spider-Man and the Coronavirus” by Jibril Shepherd.
It was a sunny afternoon in New York City and Spider-Man was watching the news. On the news he sees Doc Oc, the Green Goblin, the Sandman, the Lizard and the Vulture. They are mixing the dangerous corona serum. Spider-Man quickly puts on his Spider-Man suit and jumps out of the window to stop these villains and find Gwen Stacey. He finds her as she exits OZ Corp and she says, “Peter, is that you?” Spider-Man replies, “Yes, it’s Peter. “These villains are busy mixing the dangerous corona serum “which will make everyone hate Spider-Man. “There’s not a lot of time to talk. “We have to hurry. “I need you to go back to OZ Corp “and get all the corona samples so I can erase the code.” Gwen replies, “Okay.” Spider-Man heads over to his dad’s underground science lab to find the original corona sample. He looks through his dad’s research. On the computer he finds it in a locked safe underneath the subway bench. Spider-Man heads over to the New York City Saint Patrick’s Day parade. The crowd is mostly in green but the villains are in plain site. The villains have set the device to spray the virus. In 10 seconds it will force all humans to love villains and hate Spider-Man. Spidey arrives on the scene and takes out the Vulture first. “I know what you’re trying to do. “Your time’s up, Vulture.” Next, he tackles the Lizard. “You need to regrow a brain, not a tail.” Then Spider-Man webs him up. Next, he tackles the Sandman. “You hammer head, you’re as light as quicksand.” Then Spider-Man tosses him into the water tank. Next, he gets the Green Goblin. “Your glider’s got a little scratch. “Let me give it another.” Spider-Man webs his glider as the Green Goblin falls to the ground. Last, he tackles Doc Oc. “Hi, Doc Oc, I thought all nerds were cool, what’s up?” Then Spider-Man webs him up. Spider-Man dashes up to OZ Corp tower. He has 2.1 seconds to stop the virus from spreading but he can’t figure out the code. Now it’s too late. The gas sprays out all over the crowd. “I’ve failed,” he says. The people begin to look mad and angry. Spider-Man looks like he wants to cry but then he remembers he has the original corona sample in his pocket. “This is the antidote,” Spider-Man says. He switches out the villains’ serum and presses the button. The gas sprays over the crowd and soon the people return to normal. Spider-Man says, “I did it!” Once again, the villains are taken to jail and Spider-Man saves the day.
– [Mom] Say the end.
– [Jibril] The end!
– [Mom] Good job!
We’re dedicated to helping you tell your stories and stay connected even if we can’t be in the same room with each other. To that end, we invite you to submit a story of up to 1000 words about hope, resilience, loss, loneliness, silver linings and the unexpected gifts you’ve received during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In this uncertain time of social distancing, TMI Project’s mission to ignite human connection through true storytelling has never been more important.
We’re working hard to move our canceled in-person programming online and to create virtual storytelling experiences that ignite human connection. But we need your consistent support to stay afloat and to make these adjustments more than ever.