Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Two Named Women Taking Shelter From the Storm

Flashing and frightening, the lightning comes down around them. Nancy and Andrea huddle by a puddle, under a tall tree, childhood lessons about storm safety forgotten in the rush for shelter. Fate will smile upon them this time, but there will be adjustments to be made later. In the end it will be one more bad debt to pay off, when they least expect it. But for now they are dry.

"God damn is this wet," says Andrea, looking up with furrowed brow.

"Yes, rain usually is," says Nancy, looking down at her glasses as she tries to dry them off with her soaking wet shirttail.

"Yeah but this is like, extra wet rain. Like it's got more hydrogen in it or something, you know? I'm pretty sure I read about that."

"I...can't say I've ever heard that myself."

"Yeah, no, it's a thing. They call it 'super rain' and it's because of jets or something. Maybe missiles. Anyway there's like chemicals in the atmosphere and they get in the water and make it more hydrogen-y, which makes it more wet. It's a real problem. You haven't heard of this?"

"I haven't heard of this," says Nancy. She puts her glasses back on and finds them unsurprisingly streaky.

"I can't believe you haven't heard of this, Nancy. You have got to start living. In the real world." Andrea taps herself on the side of the head with her index and middle finger. It makes a tiny splashing sound that is somehow audible over the sound of rain falling. "You spend way too much time up here, in your head."

"Do I? I didn't think I did."

"No, yeah, really you do." Andrea looks up. "Still raining. Cripes. Anyway, some people think it's a good thing that we've got more hydrogen in the rain now. Because hydrogen can be used for fuel, right?"

"I've heard about that."

"Sure you have, everybody has. So if the rain has more hydrogen in it, and we collect the rain, and then get the hydrogen out of it-"

"How's that done?"

"Chemicals and electricity I think. So like if we get the hydrogen from rain instead of normal water we get extra hydrogen. It's a bonus."

"Everyone likes a bonus."

"Of course they do. And it's more efficient and environmental too. Because you're using water that's been contaminated in the first place, yeah? It's totally sound."

"It certainly sounds sound." Nancy tries to clean her glasses again. "I think it's letting up a bit."

"How can you tell?"

"I can almost see out of my glasses now." Lightning flashes across the sky, turning everything briefly to day. "Still pretty wet though."

"Still pretty extra-wet."

"Extra-wet, right." Nancy frowns. "Andrea are you absolutely sure that's a real thing?"

"Positive. Just because you don't know about something doesn't mean I made it up."

"No, that's true."

"You don't pay attention." Andrea taps vigorously on the side of her head again.

"Guilty as charged."

Lightning strikes the tree across from them, shattering it into fragments and filling the air with the smell of vaporized sap.

"Huh," says Andrea.

"Indeed," says Nancy.

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