“ATTENTION ATTENTION. PLEASE FIND THE NEAREST STAIRWAY AND EVACUATE THE BUILDING IMMEDIATELY. ATTENTION ATTENTION.”
Rollie opened one eye to a squint and looked around the room.
He opened his other eye and stood up, grabbed his phone, wallet, keys, necklace, jacket, shoes, and left his apartment. Other doors opened and closed down the hall and the corridor quickly filled with groggy-looking people. Confusion in the air. Rollie turned around and went back to his apartment for a minute to avoid the commotion.
UrrrRRRRRRRRRRrrrrrr! “ATTENTION ATTENTION…” UrrrRRRRRRRRRRrrrrrr!
Rollie heard fire engines nearby and went over to the window and looked out. The light was soft and pale and three trucks approached his building and parked out front. He smelled smoke, burning plastic. The noise, the whole situation, all of it was giving him a headache. He grabbed his AirPods and left.
“Can you believe this?” one neighbor said to no one in particular outside. “At this time of morning…”
“I had to choose between saving either my cat or my laptop,” another neighbor said.
“Laptops are easier to replace than cats,” said Rollie.
Rollie posted up against the side of the building. A few dogs on leashes inched their way closer to him looking for attention. They smelled his legs, he patted their heads.
A woman with an elegant Greyhound approached him. “You’re that writer,” she said. “You wrote that book.”
“Yes I did,” said Rollie. He stuck out his hand. “Rollie Richie.”
She smiled and shook his hand. “Sarah. I look forward to reading it."
“That's great,” he said.
“This is Cat Chapin. He’s a good boy! Aren’t you Cat?”
Cat wagged his tail back and forth and then buried his nose in Rollie’s crotch. Sarah laughed and pulled him back. “It’s okay,” said Rollie.
Cat Chapin smelled something on the sidewalk and urged Sarah down the hill to check it out. “See you!” she said.