Tuesday, February 03, 2009

The Day the World Turned Upside Down - 5

In the living room, the TV had fallen hard but the screen seemed intact. Tom turned it over and plugged it back into an extension cord that hung from an outlet, now high up on the wall. He made sure the cables and the box were still connected. No clock. No reassuring lights. He found the remote and pressed the power but no warm, enchanting world appeared onscreen. No test pattern. No roiling haze of static. No nothing.

His clock radio had backup batteries that he'd never had to use. He walked back to the bedroom and found it hanging from the wall above the clutter of clothes and dresser drawers, shoes, night-reading, trash and toiletries, the disordered artifacts of a reliable and cozy world. He clicked the dial on and turned it up. Static. He spun the tuner up and down the spectrum but the sound was uniform, the terminal hissing of a dead world. He clicked on AM and heard the same dreary sound at a different pitch. He spun past the old, familiar frequencies, the news with the traffic and the weather on the eights and the news with the traffic and the weather on the tens. The all-day sports. He finally found a spot where hopeful silence held out against the noise. He adjusted the dial a bit and heard a signal, a steady beep, beep, beep, beep, beep. He listened for a few minutes but that's all it was. A beacon warning nobody of nothing.