"Then you still don't know, Nadine?"
"I’ll venture that you and Clint must have been part of the two percent that weren't affected. You didn't at least listen to the radio?"
"You know damn well that Clint insisted we spend one whole week off the grid, talking about how it was going to make our lives stressful. Well, I can't tell you how worked up I am, wonderin' if the DVR recorded all of my stories and how on Earth am I ever going to catch up?"
"Well, Nadine...you missed out on a bunch...a whole bunch. Edgar left me."
"I'm sorry to hear that."
"Don't be, I'm not sure I am exactly sorry. That ain't the big news anyway. The big news is that for fifty-two hours, your mom, my mom, everyone's mom was right!"
"Stop speaking in riddles. What happened?"
"Well, Nadine, I'll try and explain it the best I can, though the USA Today or The Times- Picayune can certainly explain it better. You know how scientists have been bringing up theories about those solar flares and how they're going to disrupt cell phones and everything that has a plug or a battery?"
"Are you gonna stop taking these side trips to Tangent Street and steer us over to Relevant Avenue, Wynona?"
"Well, there was a great big solar flare and it somehow affected the neurological systems of 98% of the people in the world. Remember how your mom used to say that if you keep making that face, it will get stuck that way? Well, for fifty-two hours, that's exactly what happened to everyone. Beyond the two percent exception, that was every man, woman and child.
On TV, they called it ‘The Flare.’ And I don't know why the animals got away scot-free, but they did. You know I would've loved to see the lions down at the Zoo with their faces stuck like the MGM Lion on freeze-frame."
"I don't believe you."
"Shit, you don't have to; change the channel to CNN."
"Oh…my Lord, you're not kidding."
“Can you imagine that, Nadine? The people that were asleep when The Flare struck, couldn’t open their eyes. They were effectively blind for every minute the phenomona-”
“-Phenomenon took place. And you remember that perky little Bree Croque from high school? The one that never stopped chattering like a chipmunk and smiling all the time? One can only imagine what she was up to when The Flare happened, because I saw her down at the Piggly Wiggly and she looked like she was weaned on a pickle when she was born.”
“You’ve seen her husband; wouldn’t you make that face all the time, too?”
“Speaking of strange faces, Nadine. They say that everyone that was having sex at the time, was too scared to leave their houses. You can imagine how many people got caught doing what they weren’t supposed to be doing.”
“That, or surely more of them claimed that they were asleep, than there actually were. Speaking of which, Wynona, is that what happened with Edgar and you?”
“Well, I was at work down at the bank, and I was so distracted by watching the expressions of everyone else, that I didn’t see Edgar come in. He walked in and slid the photograph across my desk.”
“He took one of me before I left for work, and he used my damn Polaroid. He knows I’ve been saving that for special occasions, and you can’t even get the film for it on eBay anymore.”
“Again, you’re steering us away.”
“He asked me, ‘why weren’t you smiling when The Flare happened?’ I told him that I was contemplating something. Then he said, ‘you always look like this…all wistful-like. What do you have to think about? I put a roof over your head, I provide for you and that’s all you really need.’”
“Oh no, what did you say to him? Tell me you didn’t let a good man get away.”
“I told him the truth, Nadine. He does a lot of things for me, but he doesn’t make me happy. I wasn’t going to lie to him, I couldn’t…it was all in the picture. By the time I got home from work, he had everything out of the house. I can’t say I miss him much, but I can say that I’m happier. If it wasn’t for The Flare, I probably would’ve been stuck with him until one of us was in the grave.”