Saturday, March 02, 2013

Cause for alarm

Shelley and I were lounging about one night when our building's fire alarm went off.

I felt the muscle memory of a thousand fire drills kick in: I snapped shut my leather-bound copy of Paradise Lost, sprang from my chesterfield chair and ran from the room.  I didn't even think to put on shoes.

Outside our door, we joined a few other tenants trotting down the stairs. Everyone seemed to be wearing shoes (including Shelley, who had mysteriously made herself ready even faster than I). Either they had already been wearing shoes (sneaky), or they had risked incineration in the time it took to put them on (foolish). Whatever the case, I looked to be the only person playing this one by the book.

But it was all for nothing, anyway. Downstairs we found the old man from flat one, doddering about apologetically. He explained: having come home in the dark, he had pawed at length in search of the light switch. At last he had found a button, so he pushed it—the emergency alarm—hard.

While he told his story, we became increasingly distracted by how tinted his glasses were.

The Brazilian woman from flat three looked at my feet, which were by now getting pretty cold.

"You left quickly, didn't you."

Shut up.

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