Casa de Unbearable was ground zero for a water main break. The brown, muddy, Mississippi regurgitated up through a crack in the pavement. Thank bog it wasn’t raw sewage. Just the stuff we drink. The police arrived, traffic was blocked off and many panicked phone calls were made to New Jersey American Water.
The neighbors all came out of their houses to watch the approaching disaster. It flowed over our curb and, with frightening speed, flooded our front yard. Mrs. Wife threw the girls in the car and raced them over to her parent’s house and stayed there. I stayed behind, although there was nothing to do but wait.
The water slowly crept up our driveway. The race was on. Could the water company get to us and turn off the water before it started to flood inside our house? It was exciting. In the bad way.
It only took about :20 minutes for the water to work its way up and kiss our garage door. It was just two short paces away from our front door. Just beyond our front door is our carpeted family room.
My rare books cases are located a half-flight up. They’re not insured. I can’t afford the required appraisal. I was wondering how I was going to singlehandedly move a few hundred books to the third level. I imagined the pristine white pages all stained a brackish brown. I have a first edition of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas with an India ink illustration of Hunter S. Thompson drawn by Ralph Steadman on the first free endpaper. It’s beautiful. One drop of water would send the ink running down the page. My first edition of On The Road? Pulp.
On the cusp of Armageddon a miracle occurred. The water found its saturation point at the base of my house. It stopped flowing up my front yard and changed direction. It flowed down the street to find other books to destroy. Not one single drop of water entered our house.