Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Something wicked this way comes

Last night, as I sat with my prayer group on the patio of our favorite bar, Juliet sneezed explosively, three times. Then Aimee started coughing. I thought to myself, "Damn, we old girls are not used to smoking this much anymore, are we," as I started hacking too. Soon we were all four coughing, our eyes watering and our throats burning, and we kind of stared at each other incredulously.

We couldn't figure out what was going on. There was no unusual smell in the air, and we didn't think it was exhaust from a particularly noxious truck - and besides, that deck is well back from the street.

We made a couple cracks about anthrax, and then we ordered another round and went back to alternately bragging and bitching about our families. Aimee and I formed the Doug Ubelaker fan club. I congratulated Cathleen on turning 40. Juliet described her recent MRI. The usual. We may have managed to work in the word "cunt" - that's always a goal, but sometimes we forget.

But I think that dire thoughts crossed all of our minds during those minutes. Sarin. Fallout. A ruptured container down at the docks; a venomous plume passing over and through town. It made me sad to realize that such outlandish possibilities were presenting themselves for serious consideration in my mind.

I don't encounter the inexplicable all that often. The look on all of our faces as we looked across the table at each other, coughing and wondering... I won't forget that for a while.