Finishing her morning hygiene duties, Ellen headed for
the door and what she knew was going to be a very busy
day. At the same time that she approached the foyer, the
doorbell rang. With a bit of a start, she reached out and
opened it to find her best friend, and next door
neighbor, Hi Ann. You gave me a bit of a start. I
was just about to reach for the door handle when you rang
I just came over cause I thought you might be
sick or something. Werent you supposed to work
Yes, but I called in and got a week of personal
Are you sick or something?
No, Im not sick. Its just that Jimmy
and I are thinking of moving to Danielles this
Moving, as in forever? Whatever for?
Do you remember me telling you about the weird
dream that Jimmy has been having?
Sure, but what does that have to do with moving all
the way across the country?
Well, it ties in with some things that Danielle has
learned. Its really too complicated to stand here
and try to explain right now, but if you and Don want to
come over for some barbecued burgers and potato salad
this evening, Jimmy and I will try to explain it all to
Ellen, weve been good neighbors and best of
friends for over eighteen years. I just cant
believe youre going to leave your home!
Ann, please just wait til tonight, and
well talk about it. Maybe you two will decide to
come with us.
You know thats not likely. What time do you
want us to come over?
When you can smell those burgers, you should be on
your way through the gate.
What do you want us to bring?
Just your bodies, and if Don doesnt want to
drink Jimmys, Old Milyucky, have him
bring what he likes best. Ill make a big pitcher of
iced tea for us.
OK. I can see youre anxious to get on the
road, so I guess Ill go home and finish the laundry
that Ive got a good start on already today.
Ill see you tonight.
Sure Ann. Dont worry, well talk
With a sigh of relief, Ellen swung the old Buick wagon
out of the cul-de-sac, and headed for the neighborhood
donut shop. She was on a mission, and it was a relief to
get the show on the road.
She managed to garner a dozen raised glazed, and an equal
number of the large plastic pails with their matching
lids at the first stop. She knew that she would need many
more pails than that, and went to another donut shop that
was a couple of miles further from her home. Forty-five
minutes later, she was back in her own driveway, with
eight raised glazed, and a total of thirty of the pails
in her possession.
They were all washed, but she hauled them behind the
house to the back patio, and sprayed any possible dust,
or whatever else might be lurking in them, out with the
hose. Setting them so they would drain and dry in the
warm dry Arizona air, she soon finished, and headed the
Buick towards the card member store.
It was nearly five p.m. when she finally took a break.
Sitting with her back against the garage wall munching
the burger and fries from the local fast food drive
through, she proudly viewed the large pile of items she
had managed to stack there over the whole day. Five trips
had just about done her and the old car in. Every time
that she headed the car down the mile and a half road to
the house, she held her breath, as it teetered down the
road, overloaded to the max. The first three trips had
been needed to get Danielles list of recommended
items, and the fourth and fifth had been used to get the
things that she thought they might need or just plain
desire over the long haul. Nuts, raisins, and chips for
Jimmys favorite cookies. Canned fruit and berry
fillings for cobblers and pies, and one-gallon cans of
baking soda and powder, so she could make homemade bread
and pie crusts for a long time. She would make sure her
sourdough starter stayed viable, so when she got there it
could be used for years, barring any mishaps to it.
Naturally, she had stacked everything on Jimmys
side of the garage. When she got the first load home, she
had pulled into her side, consequently Jimmys half
had been totally covered with the small mountain of
Jimmy pulled into the driveway, as she was about to
finish her soda. I hope I dont look as beat
as he does, were her thoughts as he walked up to
Sitting down beside her, he leaned over and gave her a
quick kiss. Any of that soda left?
Not a lot, but go ahead and finish it, Ive
Looks like youve been doing some heavy duty
Thats for sure. Ill start filling those
plastic pails later, or maybe in the morning.
You know, the ones that Danielle said to put the
staples into, so the bugs and moisture wont ruin
them. Theyre on the back patio.
Lets take a break first. Im as beat as
Whats all that stuff in your truck?
Getting slowly back onto his feet, he reached for her
hand and drew her to her feet as she groaned, Oooh,
am I ever sore! Im too old for this stevedore
Cmon, youll loosen up in a minute.
Ive got some goodies to show you.
Jimmy wasnt kidding. A three horse, side-shafted
engine sat on the top of the load. It was connected to a
small water pump, and it was all tied advantageously to
the pile so it would prevent other items from decorating
the roadways on the way home. The top of the pile was
actually taller than the top of the cab of the pickup.
Ellen peeked into the cab and saw bag after bag with outdoor store
labels, and didnt even bother to inquire as to
their contents. A person didnt need a friend named
Dr. Watson to figure that one out!
Whered you find that trailer? She asked
him, as she walked towards the rear doors.
A guy over on 52nd had it in todays
paper. Reaching around her, he released the latch
on the double doors, and swung them open.
She just stared in amazement when the powerful smell of
the lemons that were stacked in eight good sized boxes
took shape in the gloom of the trailer, as her eyes
adjusted from the bright outside light.
Where did you get all of those huge lemons?
After a brief explanation as to how they were acquired,
he walked around the trailer to show off the new tires,
and how the brakes and bearings were new too. As he was
showing her the wiring harness and hitch, he commented,
These are going to plug right into the receptacle
and ball on the new truck too.
Ellen looked at him with a quick double take to see if
his face gave any hint that he might be pulling her leg,
and when she didnt see the slightest indication
that he might be having fun with her, blurted out.
What new truck?
Jimmy gave her his favorite enigmatic smile, and reached
through the open window of the truck and grabbed the
truck sellers magazine. Im getting to
With a flourish, he thumbed through the pages, until he
came to the one he wanted, and proudly showed his wife
what he considered the biggest find of the day. How
does that look to you?
To tell you the truth Jimmy it looks just like the
one we used to own, way back when.....
It is Hon, but we wore ours to a frazzle, while
this one is in the condition ours was, or very close
anyway, when we bought it new.
Taking the magazine from him, she began to read.
1970 F-250 351 cubic inch V-8, automatic
transmission, towing package, heavy duty suspension, new
paint, much more. Call 555-0998. Ask for Jack.
Honey, the ad doesnt begin to describe all the
extras on this truck. Its perfect for us.
How much does he want for this perfect truck?
Well, thats the rub. Im going to trade
him straight across for mine.
Oh Jimmy, how could you?
Ellen, you know that Id never make a deal
like that under normal circumstances, but mine isnt
going very far in the near future, and this one will save
our lives. You do what you have to do to survive.
Jack thinks that hes really putting it to me, and
his greed allows my conscience to make this deal. We will
definitely come out on top of this transaction in the
Jimmy, Im just about completely tuckered out.
Why dont we park the trailer next to the garage,
put your truck into my side, and Ill go to the
market for some potato salad, chips, buns, and a six pack
for you, in my wagon? You can fire up the grill later, so
well be ready when Don and Ann come over.
Whoa! I didnt know they were coming over
After explaining Anns concerns from that
mornings conversation with her, Jimmy acquiesced,
I guess they have a right to know whats
coming down around them, but you know as well as I do
that they will never accept it, until its to late.
I can just hear them ragging on us for believing in our
daughter, and my dream.
Walking through the house on his way to the shower, Jimmy
looked at everything with a different gaze than he had
used in the past. What would be left behind, and what
would be worth using up the limited critical space in the
back of the truck and the trailer. He made a mental tally
as he went from one room to the next. TV and
VCR...no. Furniture, lamps, and even his comfy old
Photographs...yes. The sudden realization of the
upcoming winnowing did not fill his heart with gladness,
by any means! It would be one heart wrenching decision
after another, as he and Ellen made the tough choices as
they moved from one room to the next.
An hour later, the burgers were on the grill, filling the
air with their mouth-watering aroma. Ellen sat sipping a
big glass of iced tea, and he stood by the grill with a
cold one in one hand, and his favorite long handled
spatula in the other. Turning at the sound of the wooden
gate that separated his patio from Don and Anns
back yard. He yelled, Come on in, the burgers are
Boy that smells good!
Pull up a seat Don, and grab a cold one, these
patties will be done in just a few minutes.
Ann set the bag containing Dons favorite brew on
the table, and pulled one from the plastic retainer.
Here Hon, Im going to sit over here and chat
with Ellen while you guys watch supper.
Dons nervousness was more than a little apparent as
he pulled a web chair over to the grill area, and opened
his beer. Whats this talk of moving that Ann
was telling me about?
Jimmy had been thinking of how he could present the facts
that his family had discovered about the soon to be
unfolding events, and knew that Dons very skeptical
nature would make it a tough sell.
Don, some things that I studied years ago, and some
things that Danielle and I have figured out recently
point to some very big problems coming for all of us.
Coming very soon, as a matter of fact.
Jimmy, Ellen told Ann that youre moving
because youve been having a bad dream!
Thats just a part of what were worried
about. Just one more piece of evidence that fit into the
puzzle. If it were only my dream, we wouldnt be
doing this move, because we wouldnt have a clue
that something bad was nearly on us. I trust my
daughters abilities to sort this out, even if I
dont have the faintest idea of how she does it. If
were right, we survive. If were wrong,
weve screwed up our retirement, and will be paying
on our credit cards forever, or nearly so. The wave of
energy that were worried about will wipe out
every-thing that we use for survival in this day and
Well, I sure wouldnt take the chance of
losing everything I worked for, for so many years!
I guess there really isnt much sense in
trying to fill you in as to why were leaving, you
wont be able to accept the things that we do, and
it would just mess up this nice barbecue.
Jimmy, youve known me for nearly twenty years
or so, and you know that if I cant feel, or at
least see something for myself, I have a hard time buying
Thats life, but if you cant move to
somewhere where your survival isnt dependent on
electricity to pump your water, and food can be obtained
without someone bringing it to you, at the very least,
please stockpile some extra water and food at your house.
You dont have to admit anything bad is breathing
down your neck. Its just good common sense when you live
in the desert.
Ellen had poured a big glass of iced tea for Ann, and as
they sat sipping the refreshing drinks, they had their
own conversation going.
I couldnt believe all the things you brought
home today, El. How many trips did you make anyway? I
thought youre old wagon was going to die on the
Five long hard trips, and everyone of them nearly
did that old car in.
What do you need with that much food, and all that
stuff that Jimmy brought home?
With a sigh Ellen told her friend of the evidence, and
how it had unfolded. When she finished, she could see the
skeptical look on Anns face, and knew she
wouldnt ever listen, until it affected her
personally, and by then it would be much to late. It was
definitely a classic case of, You can lead a horse
to water, but you cant make him drink, and it
just broke her heart to know what was in store for them.
Unknowingly following Jimmys lead, she advised her
friend, If nothing else, please stockpile some
water and food, cause if were right, this is
going to be a death trap for lots of folks that
cant escape it. That will give you two a few days
grace just in case were right. You can call it
cheap insurance, or something like that, OK?
Who wants a slice of cheese on their burger?
Ive got some jalapeno jack, alpine lace, and
cheddar. Name your poison folks.
All three picked the spicy jack. No surprises around
here. They all loved Mexican food, and usually ended up
picking most of their foods in the spicy end of the
spectrum, as did a large percentage of the people in
their part of the world. It didnt have to be hot
enough to hurt, but medium was just fine with all of
The mood around the table was far from jovial. The
unspoken knowledge that this would most likely be the
last, or one of the last, backyard barbecues they would
ever have to-gether was not something that any of them
relished, and not one of them could get past it.
Don finally broke the silence. I was counting on
some very good fishing trips in the future, when we both
retired. Whos going to go with me now?
Jimmy searched his mind for the right words to tell his
friend. If Im right Don, there wont be
a way to get to the high country where the fish are. Even
if I were here, thered be no way that we could
possibly get up there.
Lifting his beer, Don made a mock toast. To the
Wave, may it never hit, and to the fish, let them do the
Shaking his head slowly back and forth, Jimmy said a
nearly inaudible, Amen.
Jimmys portable phone chirped from its perch next
to the barbecue. Scuse me for a minute
Ellen heard his soft, Hi Danielle.
Hi dad, you ready to compare notes?
Sure Hon, we just finished the burgers.
Talking nonstop, they had been on the line for over
fifteen minutes, when Don and Ann got up to leave.
Wed better be getting home so you two can
finish the stuff youve still got to take care
Waving a silent goodnight to Jimmy, they headed out the,
barbecue gate, as they had laughingly
referred to it over the years. The devastated faces they
wore would haunt Jimmy for the rest of his life, and he
knew it. When they were out of earshot, he told his
daughter of their reaction.
Try not to think about it dad. You and mom tried to
warn them, what else can you do?
I know youre right Hon, its just that
the thought of what theyre facing makes me sick
Maybe you convinced them to put up some food and
I hope so.
Well both stress it again before we leave.
Hopefully, itll give them enough time to find a way
out of here when it hits.
OK dad, Im so tired my bones hurt. Lets
call it a day, and talk again tomorrow.
Were wiped out too, and its gonna be
another rough one thats going to start up at first
light for us too. Gnite.
Clean up only took a few minutes. Perishables to the
fridge, trash to the dumpster, silver to the sink. They
had it down to a science. Decades of practice at late
night barbecues, was all it took to become proficient.
Each did their thing, and it wasnt to long before
they were spooned together, and dead to the world.
Jimmys dream never came that night for the first
time in a week. In the morning he would tell Ellen over
their morning coffee. I guess that old man figures
that I got the message! I feel so refreshed that I
cant believe it. That dream was necessary, but it
was starting to wear me down.
Jimmy, while youre out and about today,
Im going to get those staples stored into the
pails. After that, Ill start to sort what stays,
and what will have to come with us. No doubt, well
have to go through it more than once to pare it down far
enough to fit.
Thats going to hurt for sure. Leaving some of
this stuff is going to be like pulling teeth, but we
really dont have a choice, huh?
Whats your schedule for the day?
Well, the first order of the day will be to meet
Jack at the bank and swap titles. Then Ill take
care of the insurance transfer, and the license plates
too. My next stop after that will be to take the truck to
Daves auto shop to get the truck checked over.
Ive already talked to him, and told him what I was
buying, and what I wanted done to it.
I told him that I wanted new bearings and oil seals put
on all four wheels to begin with, and new brakes all the
way around too. Daves a good mechanic, and fair
too, so hell go over it from one end to the other for me, without my having to
worry about getting ripped off. Im not worried
about the money at this point. I just want the work done,
and done properly too. Hell wonder why I want all
of that new stuff, when the older items might be
serviceable. I dont know if it would be worth the
effort to try to explain to him that were about to
get clobbered with that wave. In the long run, it will be simpler to just say Im going on a trip, and
dont want any problems if I can avoid them.
Youre probably right on that score Hon, no
one wants to hear bad news. Especially something that can
be dismissed out of hand as outlandish.