Thursday, September 1, 2011

Damnation Alley

I have a message for the Carribbean and the Gulf states: We don't send our blizzards down to you; don't send your damn hurricanes up to us!

The last week and a half has been a shaky experience, quite literally! Just as we were hearing the first news on Hurricane Irene heading for the east coast, we get a 5.8 magnitude earthquake rolling up from Richmond, Virginia and sending its shockwaves as far north as Canada. People say they always remember where they were when a earthquake hits, and I can certainly attest that I will never forget my location during this one. I just happened to be sitting on the toilet in Geoffrey's trailer. Not the most expansive bathroom in the world, I was knocked off balance and slammed into the rattling shower doors. I ended up on the floor in a tangle of panties and shorts with one foot wedged between the toilet and the vanity and the other foot between the toilet and the wall. It took me a minute to realize that I had just experienced an earthquake since I had never felt one of this magnitude before. We do get the occasional tremors on the east coast, but nothing like this.

I eventually pulled my dignity back together and hopped on the Interwebs to see what was going on. Turned out everyone was okay and life quickly got back to normal, if you could call my current life normal. The leader of the group we've infiltrated, Ryan Mayhew, has become increasingly more agitated and aggressive. His rants are more vicious and his normal cool is slipping into jittery insecurity and paranoia. Geoffrey tells me not to be too concerned, but I think Ryan is on the tipping point. He's going to make a move very soon. I feel it in my bones. Trouble is, he's extremely tight-lipped about what his plans are. At least, he's tight-lipped with Geoffrey and me, which makes me think he's already on to us. I've been pleading with Geoffrey that we should simply shut this guy down now with what we currently have, but Geoffrey doesn't feel that it is enough.

"We need for him to show his whole hand," Geoffrey tells me. "So far, it's all bluff and bluster."

In the midst of all this tension, Hurricane Irene came knocking on our doorstep last weekend. Given my pensiveness, I decided to head further inland and spend the weekend with my mom. Geoffrey didn't want to leave his trailer, so he stayed behind and toughed it out. The storm was pretty rough even in Bethesda, but no major damage and my mom's power never went out, so we felt pretty lucky. I was a little uncomfortable seeing my mom after such a long separation, but we fell right into our old routines and had a pretty pleasant weekend. The threat of the storm probably made us more tolerant of each other.

The weird part was being away from Geoffrey. He's been my tent pole through this whole assignment (that sounds a little dirty now that I read that over). This was the first time we had been apart in months, and I got the sense that maybe he wanted me to go away for awhile. Perhaps I've been leaning on him too long and he's feeling some strain. When I drove back to Centreville on Monday, I made a silent vow to show more courage in his presence. My first test came when I discovered that he had no power or water.

He said that the storm was a wild ride, but he'd been through worse. Having no power and living on bottled water was a bit of a hardship. He had taken the precaution of filling the bathtub with water ahead of time so we could flush the toilet. By Wednesday afternoon, we finally had power and I could get back to communicating with the outside world.

So here I am, still a little shaken but with clean hair and a clean body and fresh food in the refrigerator. Life should be getting back to normal and I should be looking forward to the Labor Day weekend, but something's still a little off. Something wicked this way comes, I just know it.

P.S. - Kick some Falcon butt tonight Ravens!

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