A Nuclear Threat – 3/20

I poured until the mug was brimming. The tea was already tainting the milk into a light brown that promised to be sweet and warm. As the spicy aroma reached my nose I could imagine it flowing down my throat and helping to relax the tense muscles in my back. It had been one hell of a week. All I really wanted to do was curl up and tune out. My hand wrapped around the handle of the cup and I carried it carefully to the couch. I managed to keep it from sloshing over as I pulled the quilt towards me.

The heavy blanket drooped off the top of the cushions and lay heavily on my lap. The cinnamon flavors were mixed with the floral scent that came as the blanket unfolded. It smelled of lilies. It reminded me of home, my first home and of my family. Of my dad who like to grow the white flowers and my mom who always told him they were her favorite even though she really liked roses. It reminded me of being little and carefree. Like the tea, it helped was away the hours spent annoyed and stressed, of worried and overwhelmed.

I let out a deep sigh and picked up the remote. There wouldn’t be anything on, there never was. For now, the sounds and pictures would be distracting until I got the energy up to do something more productive than stare blankly at a moving screen.

The steady click of my finger switched the channels one after another. Commercials rolled by. A sports car raced over curving, wet roads at dangerous speeds. A morbidly obese hippopotamus lumbered out of a digital phone. A huge ball of rubber bands bounded after a screaming crowd that fled down a city street. I wasn’t sure what any of them were advertising and I didn’t wait long enough to find out.

The channels flashed by until one caught my eye. The screen was unusually dark but somehow the shadowy figure felt familiar. My hand around the remote dropped down into my lap. I took a sip on the steaming brew and tried to remember what movie this was.

I think it had to do with some kind of nuclear threat. There was a hero that was going to stop it but there was an obvious villain that stood in the way. The shadow, which I figured was the hero, moved across the screen in near silence. The only noise coming out of my old speakers was his footsteps. The sound reminded me of walking across old popcorn, the kind that litters a movie theater floor. They probably meant the steps to sound like they were crossing the gravel or rocks that lay between the rows of huge metal cars. The camera panned out and revealed the expanse of the rail yard. The shadowy figure paced down one alley way and then the next.

The music rose to add some tension to his hunt.

The bad guy I remembered was in the refrigerated one at the end of the next row. He was going to jump out with a frozen leg of beef or lamb.

But then what?

I couldn’t remember how it ended. There was going to be some math twist somewhere. A calculation done wrong, or a quotient misplaced that unraveled the villains evil plan. The images and plot points mixed together like the hot water and milk had done in my mug. They blended with other movies until I wasn’t even sure the frozen leg was going to appear.

It did. With a swing like a baseball bat, the villain successfully bashed the hero in the head. That gave the bad guy a chance to run off once more to wherever it was he needed to be.

I curled further into the blanket and set my tea on the table beside the couch. The arm rest was soft under my head as I watched the scene transition to an office building. The hero was sneaking in for some reason.
I yawned and suspected the villain or the codes to the nuclear arsenal were inside. It seemed plausible.

Indeed he raced up the stair well, keen to keep himself from being caught on camera.

My eyes started to feel heavy as he snuck down a beige hallway that reminded me of work. It was dull, empty and devoid of any kind of human touch.

The next thing I knew the villain was base jumping out the window. I blinked and tried to bring the two scenes together but my brief moment of snoozing had disjointed them completely. The bad guy probably found the codes I reasoned with another yawn. That would leave the hero in quite the predicament. I hoped absently that he would have a better day than I had had.

I snuggled deeper into the warmth of the tea, the blanket and the movie’s soundtrack. My body slumped into the softness of the couch and I gave in. Sleep washed over me like a wave, like it had probably done the first time I’d caught this film on TV. Like the hero chasing his villain, I’d have to try and catch the ending again some other time.

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