Honey, I Think the Plant Exploded Again!

4/25/04 by scott

Friday night started out pretty typically around the webdisaster homestead. I got home from work a little after five and wrote a crappy article for this crappy website while Kim took a nap on the couch. Then we got out the birds and acted like jackasses whistling to them and cleaning up poop. After that, I ran out to Taco Bell to bring home dinner, and then we settled down for an evening of Kirby's Avalanche on the Super Nintendo.

So far everything's normal. But somewhere around 10:45, we heard this... noise. I wasn't sure what it was, but it was loud and deep enough to awaken my catlike reflexes, so I hopped over Kim and out of bed before she could even finish asking "what the hell was that?"

See, to me it sounded like something fell. Like something very heavy fell. Like John Popper was next door and slipped on the wet kitchen floor where he spilled his Grape Hi-C earlier and busted his ass. So I came out of the bedroom expecting to see that one of the cats had knocked over a barstool or my computer chair, or that they pulled down the birdcage or something. But when I got to the living room, everything appeared totally normal.

So I went to the front door and opened it, and at almost the same time our neighbor Sam did the same thing. We both looked at each other as if to ask "What are you doing over there that's making that kind of racket?" It's kind of hard to remember exactly what was said, but we both kind of inquired what was going on, and neither of us knew, so Sam promptly and efficiently deducted that something must have fallen on the roof above our apartments, and that it's nothing to worry about so we should just forget about it.

At first, that made sense to me. After all, we were the only two people in the apartment complex that came running outside after the noise, so it couldn't have been something that everyone would have heard. But then, I started having some doubts and the confusion set in. Kim kept saying that it sounded like an explosion somewhere, which defeated the 'something falling on the roof' theory. And even though I thought she was just being paranoid about something exploding, I thought the noise sounded more like someone getting murdered. And with the way Sam came out of his apartment really quick and said something fell on the roof, it made me really suspicious of him.

So at this point it's driving Kim and me nuts. We just heard this big noise that neither of us could really describe, other than it was big and it shook the house. And this is Decatur, so it could have been anything. Someone could have just gotten shot. An jet engine could have just crashed into the building like in Donnie Darko. Ninjas could have just busted down someone's door and kidnapped them. Or it could have been Kim's less likely scenario, that something big exploded. So I decided to test out Sam's theory and go outside to see if I could spot anything on the roof. After all, it could have just been a tree limb or something, and if it made that big of a noise, maybe we should call the apartment people and inform them that something very big fell. I mean, that could have caused some real damage.

So I start getting my shoes on, and Kim does the same thing. So I say to her, "Honey, it could be very dangerous out there. I think you should stay here." And she says, "Yeah, I know it could be dangerous. That's why I don't want to stay here by myself." That was kind of an ego boost, like I'm the protector of the den or something. So I decided to boost her confidence a little in return, and said "You know this is how every horror movie starts out, right?" I think she appreciated that.

So we headed outside to see what we could see, which was nothing. No big branches on the roof, no ninjas. Nothing. So I decided to have a smoke while I'm outside, and Kim and I are standing there, in the dark, in Decatur, about two blocks from where a woman was sexually assaulted the month we moved in here, trying to decide what the noise was and why no one else is reacting to it. So naturally we're a little nervous, and Kim's kind of urging me to hurry up and finish my cigarette, when the semi truck we're standing not too far from releases a shot of compressed air from the brakes or something. Now, this really freaked Kim out. Not me, of course, because I had a handle on the whole thing. But Kim was pretty scared at this point, because that air noise was a lot like the noise in horror movies where the victim gets freaked out, but it's only the cat or something. So you relax, but then that's when the murderer comes out and jabs a knife between your eyes. And to top it all off, at that point someone decided to take their german shepherd for a walk, so now we got a big dog jingling its chain towards us. In Decatur. At night. Next to the Women's Prison.

So we decided that it was probably best to head back inside. But then on the way back, I hatched a brilliant plan. If I went and asked someone from the other side of the building if they heard the noise, we could at least tell if it was something localized to our apartment and the one next to it, or if it was something bigger, like an explosion.

So I walked up to an apartment on the other side of the building that had its lights on and knocked on the door. At 11:00 at night. In Decatur. With Kim hiding around the corner because she's too scared to talk to new people. And this guy answers the door, opening it about a quarter inch and he eyes me up and down and says, "Hello?"

That was a really awkward conversation, because obviously both of us were extremely wary of each other, but the gist of it was that he didn't hear anything. So Kim's theory's out and I decide that what happened was our neighbor murdered his wife. So when we get back home I make a mental note of the time, and my actions for the last half hour. That way when the police come to question us I know exactly what to tell them.

Then we settled back in for a night of SNEStastic excitement, but it was totally ruined. We kept hearing sounds all night and I had to get up every five minutes to make sure the door was still locked and there were no ninjas in the living room.

The next morning, Kim woke me up far earlier than I was ready for, and told me that a plastics plant exploded in Illiopolis last night. Illiopolis is about 15-20 miles west of Decatur, so it was a pretty big explosion if we heard it over here. Turns out a few people died and they evacuated the whole town.

So now Kim has the authority to tell me what happened when we hear loud noises. The next time something like this happens, I'm listeneing to her. But if we ever get killed by ninjas, I get to say I told her so.