I stood in my living room, my robe hanging open around my waist, a steaming cup of coffee in one hand and a smile on my face. The sun was pouring in through the mostly-closed blinds in my living room, and I could hear the sounds of faint sirens from outside, but I had nowhere to be. And it was glorious.
I lifted my mug to my lips, taking a long sip of the hot liquid. “Ahh,” I let out as I lowered the hot porcelain from my lips. I had been a little reluctant to call in sick today, but this feeling was worth it. Knowing that everyone else was headed off to their daily grind at their jobs, while I could sit on my own couch, in my own underwear, watching my own television as I drank my own coffee, made me curl up my toes from happiness.
Speaking of that, I sank down onto the couch. I was careful to hold up my mug as I landed on the soft cushions, not wanting to spill any of the lifegiving liquid onto the fabric. I pulled it off, took another sip as a reward, and then rummaged around for the remote.
I found it, pointed it at my television on the far side of the living room, and clicked it on. The picture fuzzed into life to show ESPN. Ah, yes. The last thing I had been watching was that basketball game. Shame, that had been.
I didn’t really have any program in mind; what was even on the air on Tuesday mornings? Lazily, I began simply clicking down through the channels, waiting for something to catch my eye.
I landed on a news program. Boring. But as I paused for a second to lift my cup to my lips once again, something caught my ear. “California,” the announcer had said. What about California?
“…I say again, California has just been hit by a devastating series of earthquakes,” the announcer repeated, his eyes wide. “The activity has apparently triggered a massive tectonic fault shift, splitting off most of the state from the rest of the country. Emergency evacuations are underway, but they are hindered by…”
Slowly, as if in a dream, I turned my head to gaze towards the windows where the blinds were drawn, blocking out the view of the street. Now that I listened, that I really listened, I noticed that the sirens from earlier hadn’t stopped.
I leaned forward and set my coffee cup down on the table in front of the couch. I used both hands, making sure not to spill a drop. With my drink secure, I then slowly rose up to my feet.
I walked over to the blinds, my hand hesitating as it reached for the drawstring. Thinking better, I raised a single finger, pulling down one of the thin metal slats, and lowered my eye to stare outside.
My house had been built up on a hill from the street; I’d always resented that, since it gave me trouble with the mower. But now, I seemed to be on an island. In both directions, up and down the street, there was at least six inches of water covering the pavement. I watched as my garbage bin floated by, bobbing slightly up and down. It had been garbage day this morning.
I didn’t know what to say. “Huh,” I said in lieu of actual thought.
My gaze rose to stare across the street. Jenkins’ house was over there, but unlike mine, his house had been built in a slight depression. He had made the most of this with elegant landscaping that I had no hope of matching, making sure that his house always drew the eye while mine simply made it sore. Plus, I was pretty sure that the mean-tempered coot was stealing my paper.
Now, there were at least three bundled papers floating wetly outside his front door, bumping against the handle. As I watched, a shape flitted behind the door’s frosted glass, and the door opened. The water and floating paper boats came rushing in, and I could swear that I heard a faint curse from the far side of the lane.
A slight grin on my lips, I turned back around and ambled back to my coffee. I picked up the mug and the remote, hitting the channel button again.
Ooh. Community was on. Pulling my legs up onto the couch beside me, I watched the show’s opening credits roll. And with a whistle, I settled in to enjoy my day off.