Jolted

I crunched into the last of the chips. The evening was fading and I was reclining into my chair in front of the television. It was time to open up my laptop and begin writing up the essays that I had been struggling with for a while now. And then I heard the roar. It sounded like somebody landed hard on the floor above me. I sat up startled. It was not the usual noise of someone running around or dropping something. No, it had an unearthly hollowness to it.

I looked up at the ceiling annoyed at the inconsiderate neighbor. It was 8:03 pm. Then it happened again. Bump! Bump! Now I knew it wasn’t the poor lady upstairs. I realized that the crisscross of fault lines over which I have lived with careless abandon for eight years has finally come to haunt me. My head was racing. Run for cover! I thought to myself. Do I have enough time to get out of the building? I guess not. The dinning table in the corner of the room looked like Fort Knox under these circumstances. I ducked under it. Bump! Bump! Rumble! Rumble! Wow this is taking for ever, I thought to myself.

Suddenly I remembered the wise words of an obscure news anchor suggesting that the door frame is one of the safest places during an earthquake. I got up from under the table and opened my front door. A gust of cold air hit me like a thousand needles. The night seemed chiller today. Never mind that, I stood firmly under the frame and looked around. I saw bewildered faces staring back at me from other aprtments. They all heard it. Ok so it was not just me. But for some reason that was no consolation.

I suddenly realized that the night had grown silent again. The knock from down under had stopped. Now it was just me in my pajamas standing at the front door in the darkness of the night. But I was not taking any chances. I grabbed my keys and rushed out. I was greeted by a large gathering of people standing around with a nervous smile on their faces. They all seemed to realize that the law of averages had caught up with us. We were due for a rattle sooner or later. This just happened to be as good a night as any.

After exchanging casual pleasantries we dispersed the impromptu gathering. I opened the door expecting things to be strewn around but everything seemed to be in its right place. The only sign of the event was the water that jumped out of the glass and spilt over the dinning table. I managed a grin. Apparently I was not the only one jolted out of my comfortable position.

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