False Alarm

He watched himself in the mirror, running the waxed thread between his teeth.  Why do gums have to bleed when you have gum disease?  Can’t you just have the disease without the blood? Thank goodness no puss.  He could imagine that decaying smell.

He’d have to bite the bullet, of course.  But a little surgery never hurt anyone.  Did it?  Well not him.  Not so far.  He’d had his share of operations.  Both hips.  Two disc fusions.  His shoulder.  That stray tooth in his upper palate,  growing upwards toward his nose. That had been gory. 

He always did worry about the anesthesia part.  Listening to them talk about the infinitesimally small chance of it killing you. Whether he’d be one of the statistical few who wouldn’t waked up always worried him.

Although that wasn’t applicable here, since it would only be a local.  But what about the statistically few who died from allergic reactions to locals?  Not him.  Not now.  He was too young to die.  Approaching middle age. That’s what he always told himself.  Plus he was enjoying retirement too much to die today in a reclining plastic covered chair with drool running down his chin.  Not feeling a thing.  Then The Abrupt End.

The news played on his shower radio.  He switched off, every other day, music, news, music, news.

WTF was that?  A missile?  No.  It couldn’t be.  From North Korea.  He rinsed and repeated.  It had to be a joke.  But . . .

What station would make a joke like that?  Well, it had to be one doing a swan song.  One that wanted to be banned from ever broadcasting again.

Was this like War of the Worlds or something?  A new Orson Welles emerging.  What would be, he wondered, his own last word?  Kalbi, maybe.  Or pizza.  Two of his absolute favorites.

If this attack were real . . . They were definitely sounding like they were making a BFD out of this.  So serious.  Good job on the tone of desperation.

He scrubbed his back.  If he were going to die in the chair, he wanted to be as clean as possible when the morgue handled his body.  For him, it was just like the clean underwear bit, for if you’re killed by like a speeding car while you’re in the crosswalk.  Whatever.  Clean underwear and a clean body.  Wow, the coroner would say, this guy was really into hygiene.

He stepped out of the shower.  More and more desperate sounding, these guys, huh.  The missile coming in fast.

He looked at the clock.  Get a move on, buddy.  He dressed with lightning speed.

This was sounding real AF now.

Hey.  Who should he call?  He was single, had no children.  Friends?  Gordon?  George?  Kiri?  The ones he could think of had spouses and children of their own.  They’d want to say goodbye to them.  First tier goodbyes.  Him, second tier.  Second tier would be dead before anyone could return any messages, so no use leaving any.

Should he blast out an FB post to all his FB friends, bidding them fond aloha?  Would they actually be on Facebook right now?  Of course not.  FB was only for leisure time.  Not the countdown seconds to incineration.

Then suddenly the news guy said that the attack was canceled.  A false alarm.  A miracle.  He breathed a sigh of relief and headed for the car.  Kim Jong Un.  What a steaming pile.

If had been real, he thought, ah hell, man, we have missiles to shoot down those missiles.  What were the chances it would get through?  The U.S. would throw everything at it.  Then we’d bomb the bloody hell out of the North Koreans.  Where his grandfather was from.  Relatives he didn’t know of would be killed.  Crap.  No. No, he didn’t want to see that kind of suffering, that kind of pain.  Donald Trump.  An even bigger steaming pile.  He’d have been the root cause.

He parked his car in the basement of the building.  It was two floors below street level.  What if the missile had been real?  Would this have been a safe place to be?  If he’d taken less time in the shower, he’d have been down here if the missile had managed to get through our defense system.

The elevator dinged.  The door opened.  It was his periodontist.

“Mr. Chan,” he said, “I’m sorry, we didn’t have a chance to call everyone.  I sent my staff home.  To be with their families.  You know.  So we won’t be able to do the procedure this morning.  I’m sorry we didn’t get a chance to warn you.  My apologies.  We’ll call you to reschedule.”

He turned and walked back to his car.  Great news, actually.  He’d dodged that bullet.  For the time being.  He sucked on his tooth and tasted blood, truly thankful for the reprieve.

* * * * *

Today’s writing prompt is

false alarm

Use it to inspire a piece of writing, and then post that piece as a comment below. I would love to read it : )

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