I witnessed the coming of the apocalypse … well, I witnessed what it would FEEL like to be at the coming of the apocalypse.
My four oldest sons and I were visiting my grandmother at her apartment. To be specific, it’s an assisted living facility for senior citizens who are mostly able to live on their own but are … to be blunt … super-duper old. My grandmother is in her late 80s and thinks of herself as one of the “youngins” who lives there. We were wrapping up a nice visit when we began our goodbye process. It’s a process that involves saying goodbye a lot but no one actually leaves. My grandmother and I were near her open door while my sons were waiting patiently just outside, in the hallway. Then, during one of the ineffectual goodbyes … it happened.
A shrill noise pierced my chest and exploded up through my head! The unrelenting, audible carnage shook me so intensely I was sure my teeth would crack and fall from my head like a cartoon character.
The noise was so profound it rendered rational thought null and void for an eternally long couple of seconds. Seconds of time my mind used to have my life flash before my eyes a couple of times (my life has been so mild and boring, it had time to flash twice).
Clearly this was the trumpet of the four horsemen. They wisely chose to start their killing spree at an assisted living facility, I’m guessing to get an easy start as a group confidence builder.
It was around the moment I began to accept my death by apocalyptic cavalry, when a new thought popped into my head … maybe this horrific noise was an alarm of sorts. The mind-shattering sonic assault didn’t change pitch like a siren but … maybe …. yup …. It was definitely an alarm.
It happened to be one of those good news, bad news situations. Good news, apparently the world isn’t ending quite yet. Bad news, one of my sons most definitely pulled a fire alarm in the hallway. My legs were already moving when this thought just began to form. I channeled my inner Usain Bolt and managed what felt like 10-foot strides as I flew out the door and down the hallway. I arrived at the end of the hall, near the elevator where my sons stood. Number 3, Malachi, stood with an outstretched arm, pointer finger extended and pressed against Sammy’s temple. Number 4, Sammy, had his arms wrapped around himself, his entire body shook as his face looked like he just saw Samara come out of the well.
(If you didn’t watch The Ring, I apologize for the abstract reference)
As I arrived, Malachi added a completely unnecessary, “Sammy did it!”
I found the red lever with raised white letters that had been dislodged from its long-established home and attempted to push it back into its place of comfort. I could not … apparently this alarm had a firm “no take-backsies” policy.
As soon as I had begun to accept my inability to stop the mono-tone death cry from the walls, the noise just ended. I took a deep breath, just existing in that moment where my mind was finally not under siege from that awful noise. Then I turned to face the one who had caused this.
There was no anger when I stared into the face of that terrified child who was frozen in place while his entire body trembled. As I started to talk to him, the manager stepped into the hall.
The level-headed individual calmly walked up to us to access the situation but before he had said a word, Malachi barked, “SAMMY PULLED IT!” while bringing his finger back to Sam’s temple.
It was then that I realized, if I break any laws, Malachi will definitely turn me over to authorities. Maybe later I’ll explain to him that no one likes a rat. You know what, that’s actually going to NEED to happen.
The manager lowered himself down next to me and helped explain to Sam that it would be OK.
Even after minutes of talking to poor Sam, he still just shook, unable to respond. Wonderful, my son broke and it was on my watch!
We eventually got Sam to stop shaking and then said a real goodbye to my grandma. It was my hope that we could leave the building before too many people popped their heads out to see which terrible father allowed his son to wreak havoc in their home.
As we walked out of the main entrance to the building, two fire trucks pulled up. They were filled with young eager men, prepared to battle a foe that didn’t exist. Malachi opened his mouth and began to raise his arm towards Sam. However, this time I anticipated his rat tendencies! I quickly slid my hand over his narc hole and used my other hand to casually waive to the firemen.
“Not a WORD!”, I snapped at the boys in harshly whispered breaths and guided them toward the car.
It wasn’t until we were on our way home that I realized one of the reasons Sam was so traumatized.
“How long will I go to the joo-vees?”
I took the time to explain he couldn’t go to the “joo-veeys” …. At least not for another couple years.