Flying Saucers and Sad Songs

The Quarantine Diaries, Part Three

Hengtee Lim (Snippets)
Human Parts
Published in
6 min readDec 17, 2020


A masked woman standing beneath a flowering tree.
Photo courtesy of the author.

This is part of a series of short stories. To read them all, head here.

When the virus put the city into lockdown, I got hit in the back of the head by a flying CD case. I don’t know where it came from, but it hurt. I suppose I could have been more careful, but who expects a CD to come hurtling through the sky, you know?

I was on my way to the local coffee shop when it happened. I just wanted to pick up some coffee beans, head home, and make a cup of coffee. I didn’t plan to stay out long. We were in the middle of a pandemic, after all. I just never expected to turn up at the coffee shop with a swollen head, either.

“What happened to you?” my friend said.

“Would you believe I got hit in the head by a flying CD?”

My friend looked behind me as a CD case came crashing to the ground. It shattered on the pavement, and we watched as a lone CD rolled off into the distance.

“Yeah,” he said. “Yeah, I would.”

I got my coffee beans but decided to wait at the coffee shop for a while. At least until the rain stopped.

My friend said the CDs came every morning. He said they were probably getting launched from somewhere, like a rooftop or something. He said you could hear it. Thwack. Silence. Crash. Every morning without fail. This pandemic, it’s making everybody crazy, he said. All that stress, it’s got a weird way of releasing itself when you keep it bottled up. Then he smiled.

“But get this,” he said. “Sometimes, some of those CDs? Sometimes they’re still good.”

“What do you mean still good?”

“I mean you can still listen to them. Sometimes they’ll be a bit scratched and so they jump in places, and most of the time the cases and the booklets are long gone. But usually, you can still listen to them.”

My friend grinned and showed me a small plastic container filled with CDs.

“So you’ve been collecting them,” I said. “The flying CDs.”

“I have. And actually, it’s a pretty good way to discover new music. There’s all sorts in here. Pop, jazz…



Hengtee Lim (Snippets)
Human Parts

Fragments of the everyday in Tokyo, as written by Hengtee Lim.