Friday, March 13, 2009

Our Great Adventure

We weren't in our usual places. She was at my desk, using the computer. I was was in the front room, on the couch. She was buying fabric and patterns, that sort of thing. I had the laptop propped up on my knees and had just laid down about 750 words of deathless prose. I was trying to get to the end of the chapter. She was having a little trouble with the computer and wanted me to come in to the other room.

“Hold on. I just want to finish this.” She drifted away. “Hey, do you hear that?” I yelled.

“Hear what?” she said, coming back into the room.

“You'll hear it now.”

“It's a truck backing up.”

“Nope,” I said, not looking up from the screen. “It's some kind of alarm.”

“It is?” It was. A few seconds later the building fire alarm sounded.

“Do you smell smoke?” she asked.

“No.” I went into the kitchen. “Yes.” Acrid, like a grease fire. The smell was coming up the stairs.

“Should I get my coat?”

“Yup,” I said, reaching for the cat carrier.

The cat didn't like the look of this. She bolted. I had to move the couch to get her. Getting her into the little carrier wasn't all that easy She's a champion squirmer when she wants to be. It was a two person job.

Out into the hallway the klaxon was really loud. No smoke, just a lot of frightened looking neighbors and and their cats. I sat on a curb, cat carrier on my knees. One guy told us that it wasn't a fire, but that the guy in one of the downstairs apartments had been cooking and had kicked up a lot of smoke. Ah. Well that's better than seeing your apartment burn down. We sat around for a minute or two. The firefighters rolled up and went in where we had just come out. They went into the downstairs apartment, then they put a really powerful fan in the door.

Other than the fact that it was 32 degrees it wasn't such a bad night. We got to talk to the neighbors, which we don't usually do. We got to meet their cats, which we never do. Damn, but that one black and white kitty was a big one. She didn't have a carrier for it. She may have at one time, but it's probably outgrown it. It didn't like being outside one bit, and wanted everyone to know it. After a while it got tired of hearing its own voice and it relaxed, a big cat held by a small woman.

The firefighters where quick, efficient, and polite. The guy from the smoky apartment kept saying how sorry he was as we all filed back into the building, and we said it was okay. Back in the apartment the cat ran around meowing. I took care of the little computer issue, then finished up what I was writing. My friend collapsed onto the couch, saying that she had had her heart attack for the week. The cat began to patrol the apartment, looking skittish.

And that, my friends, is what passes for a great adventure around here.

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