NaNoWriMo: Day 18, The End

Day’s Verse:
The more words that are spoken, the more smoke there is in the air. And who is any better off? And who knows what’s best for us as we live out our meager smoke-and-shadow lives? And who can tell any of us the next chapter of our lives?
Ecclesiastes 6:11-12

This post is just shy of 11,000 words long. Brace yourselves.

Friday, July 20, 4:00 pm


Well, fuck. I told Carl I didn’t intend to die in here, and now Dan has as much as told me that I am going to die no matter what I do. That is just wrong. I didn’t get up this morning planning on dying. I would have done everything differently. God, I wouldn’t have gone to work today at all! Then I wouldn’t be here, and none of this would have happened, and I’d have who knows how long with my wife and kids.

I can’t stop thinking about them now. Are they okay? Were they somewhere safe when the earthquake hit? Are they together and secure now? Can they get food and water? Are they away from downed power lines, safe from who knows what else? Is Jean wondering about me, too? I left as usual, gave her a perfunctory peck on the cheek, really just a show for the kids, who were sitting at the breakfast table texting or whatever they do all day on their damn phones. They sure don’t use them for phone calls, that’s all I know. Thousands of text messages a month, and sometimes less than 100 minutes of actual calls.

Oh, God, I haven’t prayed in forever, but if you exist, if you’re out there…keep them safe. I don’t expect to come through this, I won’t even ask for that, because you’re probably not even real and I’m just talking to myself. But if you are real, take care of my family.

“Jon? What do you think?” Dan, patiently squatting next to my car, breaks me from my reverie. “What’re you thinking?”

He doesn’t actually mean what was I thinking; he means “Have you decided whether I dig you out or not?” I have decided, and he’s going to think it’s the wrong call, but I cannot remain here like this, just waiting to die.

“Dig me out, Dan. I can’t stay here.”

“You know what that could mean.”

“I know. Just do it.”

He looks into my eyes, and whatever he sees there convinces him. With a firm nod, he stands up, strips off this coat and steps out of my field of view, presumably to lay it across his backpack, which is somewhere in the vicinity of the back of my car. Continue reading “NaNoWriMo: Day 18, The End”