Apartment Blizzard

Christo looked out the window. The windsock across the street wasn't fluttering in the wind anymore. It was standing straight out, pointing south. "It's really blowin' out there," he said.

"Hush," Marie-Helene said. She was sitting in front of the TV, watching Bugs Bunny cartoons. She giggled as Bugs held up a sign saying "Dirty Skunk Season" and Elmer Fudd blasted Daffy Duck with his shotgun.

Christo looked out the window again. Now it was starting to snow. The snow was traveling almost horizontally. The sky got swiftly whiter and whiter, until Christo realized that he could no longer see the windsock; the air was too thick with snow. "Now it's snowing," he said.

It was a commercial now. Marie-Helene turned and said, "What?"

"The wind's really blowing, and it's snowing hard."

Marie-Helene came to the window as the Lucky Charms Leprechaun led a Martian invasion of Earth. "No shit," she said. "Fuck, it is coming down."

"I told you."

They turned back to the TV just in time to see the picture disappear. Marie-Helene said, "Shit. TV conked out."

"Not just the TV--look." The VCR clock had gone out, as well. And the overhead light. They hadn't needed it before--it was the middle of the afternoon--but the snow was blotting out more and more light.

They stood in silence for a minute or so, looking out at the platinum maelstrom. "You got one of those battery-powered radios?" Marie-Helene asked.

Christo shook his head. "Nope."

Then Marie-Helene's face brightened. "I brought my Walkman with me. I almost forgot. The batteries are dead, and it's pretty staticky, but we can find out what the forecast is, if you can find some batteries."

After a prolonged search, during which the snow continued to fall and Marie-Helene's temper grew increasingly frayed, Christo found an old pair of AA's in the back of his sock drawer. "What a dumbass place to keep batteries," Marie-Helene fumed. "I bet you haven't even bought any fuckin' batteries since you moved in here."

Christo ignored her and put the batteries in her Walkman. He put the headphones in his ears. He flipped the switch to Radio and was immediately greeted by a deafening burst of static. He quickly turned the volume down and searched among the stations. Finally he managed to find a station still broadcasting, although its signal was weak.

"...abnormal weather......from the northern...hours...teen feet......alarm." Then the batteries died.

"Well, what're they saying?" Marie-Helene asked.

Christo shook his head. "It went dead. But it doesn't sound like this'll be over for a while yet--they said something about hours."

"Shit." Marie-Helene thought for a moment. "Maybe it's just the circuit breaker got turned off. Your breakers are in the basement, right? Why don't we go down and check?"

Christo laughed. "You want to climb up fourteen flights of stairs on your way back, go right ahead. If the power's out, then the elevator won't be working either."

"Let's just go check the elevator, then," she said. "If it's working, then we go down."

It wasn't working. They stood in the hall for about ten minutes, talking quietly. There was no sound in the building, just the whistling of the wind from outside, audible even here. Finally Marie-Helene bashed the elevator door in disgust and tramped back inside Christo's apartment. They sat and stared out the window for a few minutes more.

"I'm hungry," she said.

"The stove's not working, and neither is the fridge. So we don't have a lot of choice of temperature. Cold or lukewarm."

She made a face. "Don't you have a gas stove or anything?"

"I got candles. My sister makes candles--I got all kinds, all colours, all flavours. Take your pick." Then he brightened. "I know! Dad's old fondue set. He gave it to me when I moved out."

So they had a candlelight fondue, on the carpet. Marie-Helene almost set the apartment on fire when she had a choking fit on a piece of bread, but Christo saved it at the price of burning his hand instead. He ran it under the cold tap. Marie-Helene watched for a while, and then wandered back over to the window.

"Jesus Christ," she said. "It's up to your balcony."

Based on the words: Endless Fudd Snow Windsock

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The Den of Ubiquity/ Aaron V. Humphrey / alfvaen@gmail.com