Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Shouts and alarums.

It went all crazypants here last night, and I still don't know what happened. 

I was in a back room, but my wife was in the front of the house. She asked me if I saw all the flashing red lights. I had not. Sure enough, coming through the curtains were the unmistakable crimson lumens of commotion. 

Outside were a number of emergency vehicles, including at least three cars, possibly an ambulance, and two full-size fire trucks. 
A little bigger than this one.
None had made so much as a bloop of the siren when they pulled up.

Did a house burn down? I would have been sad, but not surprised. I think every house around here but ours has a fireplace, and I'm pretty sure most people don't follow the endless list of safety and maintenance guidelines for fireplaces. I did smell a little smoke when I stepped outside, but because it's chilly and people are tossing on the ol' Duraflames, so the neighborhood has been smelling a bit smoky for a month.

All these vehicles were parked all along the street, so I couldn't even tell which house they had been called to. You might have thought all the other nosy neighbors like me would have been outside being looky-loos, but I didn't see a soul but the shadowy figures of officialdom, and I didn't want to get in their way.

Eventually a guy in an SUV all flashing like Christmas pulled up, came out with some kind of light-up wand, and walked toward the hullabaloo. Maybe it was a device to detect carbon monoxide or natural gas leaks? Were the sewers about to blow from methane buildup? Would we have to evacuate? WHAT WAS GOING ON?

I still don't know. Twenty minutes later I went out with the little dog, and they'd all vanished without trace.

My suspicion was that someone called in a gas leak, and this being a fairly quiet town, the fire department just sent everyone. At least they'd get in some practice loading up and moving out. The guy with the light saber could have been with the utility company; it was too dark to see what was on the SUV besides flashing lights.

So it's a mystery, and I hate mysteries. Maybe I can find out something today, but I don't know if anyone around here was home when it happened. I don't even know which home caused the ruckus.

If necessary, I'll just make up a story in my head to explain it. Memory can play tricks on me like that. Decades from now in the old farts' home I'll be telling the nurse how the guy across the street burned down his house with his fireplace. Oh, it was a wild night, yessiree.
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