The sirens went off at noon. I went to the window to find the police barricading the streets. The dogs began barking. They’re always barking, but maybe this was special barking. Things had gone awry.
Something rumbled. At 12:10 I turned to my visiting special lady friend and said, “Did you feel that?” She had. Must just be something old houses do, we thought to ourselves before going back to our books.
Now the sirens were going crazy. I looked outside, expecting to see the complete breakdown of civilization. Would I need to run to the hunting store next door to buy a shotgun? Nope: Veteran’s Day Parade. Oh.
A woman sifting through general fiction got a phone call. “Oh yeah? I didn’t even feel it,” she said. She got off the phone and told me that her daughter had called to check up on her because there had been an earthquake.
The street adjacent to the bookstore split into a wide gash… three days ago when they dug the trench for the new sewer line. I want to say books fell off the shelf in the quake. But that didn’t happen.
So when you see me wearing my “I survived the 2012 Big Stone Gap earthquake” t-shirt, what I really mean is that I noticed the earthquake, then stuck my nose back in a book and took a long slurp from my cup of tea.