We Interrupt This Program

The tanks rolled up to the balcony where I was standing and holding a little girl in my arms. The turrets made an awful racket as they pivoted their guns up and toward the balcony. The girl screamed and clawed at my arm. And then the tanks fired: This was my dream.

I awoke with the cat in the crook of my arm. She was yowling and trying to get away from me. There was a freight train coming at the house, and an explosion, from outside. The cat vanished, and I jumped out of bed and stood under an archway.

I opened the front door and saw wires and cables strewn all over the front yard, the power still on. Rain slashed northeast, and lighting repeatedly flashed to the north, like a lamp light turning on and off. A 20-foot tree limb lay across the wires, at the corner of my study. The car, I thought, the car.

I called 911, and within minutes two firemen pulled up in a pickup truck. They shouted at me to stay inside. They had been making rounds in the storm’s path, Stanka Lane to Stroke Hill and up to the highway. The storm, it seems, took the Genehouse path.

The firemen told me that several house fires were being fought, power lines were down, and thousands of people and homes were without power. They checked my yard by flashlight. My shed roof was punched in. The street light pole next to the shed had snapped, and the wires all fell. My carport was listing toward the house but the car was fine. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO DRIVE, STAY INSIDE.

So, I had a beer and typed a message on Facebook, and I discovered that friends all over the area were awake, many without power. We had been scorched by 108-degree heat the day before, and we all had looked forward to sleep.

I was dead tired. I lay down, intending to check back in with friends, but I drifted in and out of dream states. At least I was cool. And Scout the cat rejoined me in bed.

And then the power went out. My box fan stopped singing white noise. The storm had passed; there was deadly quiet. I meditated until dawn.

And walked outside, and saw the damage that the tank in my dream had caused. I went back in the house and read the Sunday paper. By 10 a.m. the heat started rolling back in, and steam rose off the tall corn across the highway. The humming birds fed in a frenzy. But there were no insects, squirrels, birds.

The tree that crashed my carport bounced and rolled off to the right onto my shed. Had the carport not been there, in front of my bedroom window, Scout and I might have. . .

I’m fine, staying with a friend down the road, cool. I imagine that a lot of people who live alone are bearing the heat, as they bear life itself and wait.

And wait.

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