The View from the Mushroom Cloud


We watched the mushroom cloud from Don Ryall’s back deck. The family and I were visiting him for a bit of a vacation, when terrorists launched multiple nuclear attacks simultaneously throughout the United States.  San Jose was a target, or maybe San Francisco.  We could hear the deafening roar and the late evening sky turned pink, then orange. It was like day.  The cloud of debris was high above the redwoods atop the Santa Cruz mountains.

Surprisingly, the house still had power, so we rushed into the front room to turn on the television to see what was going on. Okay — here’s where the dream gets weird: Don channel surfed for a couple minutes, unable to find CNN, or any other news channel.  He looked at me with a brow arched. “I never watch the news: why would I know what channel it was?” He paused on ESPN. They were in the middle of a taped episode of SportsCenter so obviously, no breaking news there. I shook my head, and he flipped the channel to Nickelodeon. He remembered that my now-teenaged kids used to like watching Dora the Explorer, so he naturally thought it would hold their attention.  I was getting furious with him so I left and went into the kitchen (newly remodeled with blue and white tiles from ceiling to floor).

Finally, I checked my iPhone for information, which seemed more able to provide us with some coverage. I was more worried about our flight home. Would flights back to Washington DC be canceled during a nuclear holocaust? We could find no information, other than enormous tornados spawned through the midwest due to weather conditions produced by the attack.  So we began cleaning kitchen: my aunt and uncle were there. We cleaned Don’s kitchen with a garden hose and put dishes away.

Fortunately, the bedroom alarm went off at this point, and I woke up to get ready for work.

Okay. So, I was dreaming of The Big Kaboom again. It seems like this is becoming a habit, or at least a quarterly ritual. I know I’ve blogged about it before, but it always fascinates me. I know what triggered the dream this time, at least. I have my son Daniel to blame.  Three or four days ago, he asked me to download the earliest episodes of the classic British science-fiction series Dr. Who.  Last night, the nasty pepper-shaker-encased Daleks were on our nightly installment of the Good Doctor.  They had survived their own nuclear attack, deep underground, while encased in metal cones that vaguely resemble enormous steel badminton birdies. Everything organic supposedly died on the planet, while the Daleks waited 500 years for the radiation levels to go down. Our intrepid time-voyagers began to suffer the consequences of radiation sickness. It was too hot in our house to watch more than a couple episodes last night, so we left the computer and decided to sit under a fan for the remainder of the evening.  Surely, Daniel planned this because he knew I’d have bizarre Taco-Bell-And-Dr.-Who-induced dreams.

In other news, our car is in the shop, enjoying $1,200 dollars in automotive surgery today. I’m waiting for the mechanic to call me back, so I can plow a rather large chunk of change. The “check engine” light came on, about a week ago. Yesterday, the car died at a stoplight–twice.  So, the diagnosis? The car has the vapors, or a rash, or something. Don’t look at me like that! I know less about cars than I do about just about anything on the planet. It’s how I manage to maintain my girlish figure.  Meanwhile, if you care about the things, I’ve posted a few new book reviews from novels I’ve recently read. I’m still ranked 66,000th on Amazon’s Top Reviewer list, but hey: who cares? at least I’m adorable. New reviews are two more from Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series (The Laughing Corpse and Circus of the Damned) and one of Frank Herbert’s desert sci-fi classic, Dune. I decided I would no longer annoy my Facebook friends with auto-links to my book reviews. If you want to see them, they’re available on my blog. Enjoy them, if you enjoy that sort of thing.  If you don’t, well, I’ve made them skippable for you. They rarely get any traffic anyhow.

Speaking of traffic, I want to thank all my readers, and those who have linked to my blog. My nonsense has recently seen its 5,000th read, and I’m very proud to have you all enjoying, or at least viewing, or at least tolerating, my blog.  Especially my wife, Judi, Dawn, Lee, my two Susans, Mikhail, Jonathon, Ben, Walter Wesley Womack, My cousin Heidi, and last but not least, Rich & Cedric Israel. Your regular comments encourage me to keep with this writing thing. You’re all the best!

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