The old man felt strange, He felt almost good. There was pain. Always is. But, wow, just, wow, he felt full of his real self. If you know what I mean.
Dawned on him… must be adrenaline. Must be fear.
He was okay with that.
You know you’re in trouble when the state police officially open the northbound shoulders on the Interstate.
All the way to the Georgia line.
Not easy to evacuate the whole state. We are heavily armed and notoriously cranky. Short on gas and nowhere to go.
I have one goal. One prayer. The four of us get out alive and whole. When this is over. And it will be over.
The four of us, there’s the old man, the young redhead, her little dog Lily and his dog, Hagrid.
The little dog weighs twenty-five pounds. You can put Lily in her secure red plastic kennel and head to safety.
Hagrid has a reinforced cage, solid bars, about the size of a Manhattan NYC studio apartment. He’s big as a mountain lion.
Over six feet long from snout to tip of tail, weighs one-eighty-five on an empty stomach.
There is no room at the inn for this canine.
What is going to happen to all those butterflies, I wonder.
Only option, shelter in place. Shelter in place. Sounds like same advice you get in an active shooter situation.
Time to go to the mattresses. Helmets, too.
Do you know anything about the love a man can have for his dog?
We might have evacuated if not for Hagrid. I can leave my house behind, not my dog. I can leave my books, my bicycle, my art.
But not my dog.
I can take my woman, my car, but not my dog. He’s too big to bail. So, we stay.
Disaster is a great way to get rid of shit.
And there comes the moment when you realize – without some much good luck – you may shortly be the distressed woeful victim interviewed on cable television.
The old man could almost hear himself now.
“I just thank Whomever, the four of us are alive and whole.”
And he’d mean it.