It’s a week before my senior show. If my roommate comes back from Vegas early he will have a heart attack from seeing the shape our apartment is in. Dirty dishes in the living room, tubes of paint and brushes scattered around the kitchen cabinets. It would not be unusual to see something like a dirty shirt, a half eaten bowl of top ramen and a stack of notebooks and papers all lying together. I like to think of it as controlled chaos. It may look like a mess to an outsider, but I know where everything is.
After 48 straight hours of painting I decide that my brain needs a rest. Being in art school is kind of like being in Vegas. You have no set schedule and no real concept of time. I look over at the clock to see what number it has. 1:00. I look outside my window and given that it’s dark I assume it is 1 a.m. I call my friend Vivian to see if she wants to see a movie with me. It takes a little convincing but she decides to come by after I promise her that popcorn will be involved. This turned out to be a grave mistake.
I’m not exactly trying to charm the pants off this girl, we know each other pretty well, but I figure a little light cleaning before she comes over might be a good idea. She comes in and sits on the couch. I sit on the arm and we discuss our options. Looking through my collection we narrow it down to The Notebook or How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days. I can’t remember which one we picked so for the record lets just say it was Die Hard. Before we start the movie she reminds me of the popcorn. I grab a bag with blue and yellow stripes out of a cabinet and stare at it for a second. Alright popcorn, I don’t like you and you don’t like me, but this is for Vivian so can we just set aside our differences and get along this one time? I set the bag in the microwave and foolishly hit the button labeled “popcorn”. I make a mental note to listen for the pops. Two minutes later, lost in conversation my thoughts are interrupted by an all too familiar smell. I run over to the kitchen, open the microwave door and a plume of white smoke comes out. Kind of like a teeny tiny little Hiroshima in my kitchen. This is shortly followed by a loud periodic beeping sound that could be heard through out the apartment complex.
Vivian and I open my front door and patio screen. We sit on seperate couches in what feels like a haunted house with one too many fog machines, curiously waiting to see what follows. Its too loud to hear each other so we start communicating through facial gestures and a made up sign language. Our conversation is quickly stopped by the muffled static of a walkie talkie. I turn my head to see a fairly large man standing heroically over the doorway. He looks like he’s out of breath after the flight of stairs he just walked up, but he was trying not to show it. After staring around the room for a while without looking or making any acknowledgment of our presence he grabs his walkie talkie, puts it up to his face and says.
” Looks like we got a code 4, I repeat a code 4.”