Let me set the scene for you.
It’s the end of days. The sky is orange. Silver saucers zip across the horizon, making pew-pew noises as they fire lasers at buildings. The landscape is catching fire and curling in on itself, like that paper city in Adele’s Rolling in the Deep video. The latest rumors are that the aliens piloting those gleaming crafts are Tribbles. Fear runs rampant among the survivors. There is looting in the streets. People are finding religion, losing it and finding it again. The end is near, but it seems to be taking its sweet time getting here.
I’m huddled in a room with some friends and my entire family, waiting to get blown up. I spent the last few days running, like a dog who is afraid of a thunderstorm. I fled to New York City, then had to flee New York City. I returned back to my hometown to sit with my family and wait.
The phone rings. I pick it up. It’s the Governor.
“Oh thank god, Governor,” I say, and my family’s ears perk up. They look at me with something like hope although the pew-pew noises are getting nearer. “Thank god. We need your help.”
“Ms. O’Connell? Are you all right?” The Governor’s voice is crisp.
I attempt some alien-invasion humor. “Oh you know, just waiting to get blown up by aliens.”
“Riiight. Listen, A.J., I’m going to need you to stop screwing around and tell me whether or not your paper is going to be able to cover this event down at the water treatment plant in New Jersey tomorrow.”
“New Jersey?” I had thought that New Jersey was already destroyed. “But, sir – ”
“I’ve only called two or three other reporters about this.”
“Right. But -”
“I don’t have time for this, A.J.. It’s up to you. It’s not my problem if your newspaper doesn’t get the story.”
That stops me dead. I look up. The pew-pew noises have stopped. My relatives are no longer huddled together in terror, but are looking at me with mocking smiles.
I’ve never felt so stupid.
I sigh, and pick up a nearby pen. “Okay Governor. Give me the information. I will see you in New Jersey tomorrow.”
* * *
This is what happens when I take a day off in the middle of the week to do all my errands and get no writing done. My subconscious has laid the smack down.