Collision Course

It was about this time every morning, as the alarm was going off and disturbing if not some pleasant dream then at the very least a comfortable sleep, that Ella would reaffirm that five-thirty AM should be taken out behind the proverbial woodshed and shot.  Further, when she had finally made it big and opened her own studio, no one would start before eleven AM.  And brunch would be catered in the employee lounge.  With mimosas, and Irish cream in her coffee.

All praise the snooze gods with their far-too-short nine minute worship sessions.  Alas, even the power of that almighty button could not overcome the cats who had decided that it was time for Ella to get up and feed them.  A double attack of relentless yowling by the empty dish and a ticklish, whiskery nose to the face had her admitting defeat.

Dean jumped off the bed, victorious, as Ella’s feet hit the floor and hunted around for two warm slippers to hide in.  Eyes only half open, she plodded down the hall to where Dean was waiting impatiently and Sam had taken to rhythmically banging the cabinet door as he tried to get to the bag of food inside.

Feed cats, pour coffee, turn on TV, two halves of bagel in the toaster; her morning routine required zero conscious thought and only the barest of motor skills to accomplish, not counting the acrobatics required to keep from tripping over the cats if they decided to weave around her feet.

The television was on mute and she wasn’t really watching it anyway, instead picking the little sleep crusties out of her eyes and contemplating the lack of coffee gods among ancient peoples.  Her musings were interrupted by way of a knock on her door.  This was entirely out of the scope of her reality at this time of morning, so it took a second, more urgent knock for her to relegate this anomaly to reality instead of something next door, the television, the cats, or her imagination.

In utter disregard of her appearance – hair sticking out in gravity-defying directions, flannel kitty pajama bottoms, and the ratty ten-year-old robe – she opened the door and stared at her upstairs neighbor.

“What are you doing, aren’t you paying attention?”  Judging by the wide-open eyes and the way he was pointing over her shoulder, she guessed it was something important.

“Tanner?”

Pushing past her, he went over and turned the volume up on her television, where the anchor was putting years of training to use in speaking in a calm and clear voice, advising people not to panic, remain in their homes if there was no need to go out, and if they already were, to find a safe area to congregate.  They would be updating as new information came in.

Elle blinked.  “Is this an April Fools joke or something?”

“It’s March.”

She thought for a moment, then countered, “Is this a late April Fools or something?”

“No, it’s real.”

She stared at the screen, deciding this was yet another good reason to outlaw five-thirty AM.

[Next]

Don’t know where I’m going with this, so we’ll just have to find out together.  Also, you can stop whining now, Evan. 😛

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