It sucks not to have a car.
Lucien was leaning against the window of his apartment, gazing at the rain beating relentlessly against the glass, the lightning etching jagged streaks of white against the darkness in his mind.
He was hungry. In fact, the only thing louder than the thunder outside was the thunder inside his belly. He had forgotten to go shopping that week, so there wasn’t any food in the fridge. His only option was going out to eat at a local restaurant.
Except he hated rain. The way it soaks through your clothes, penetrates every pore in your body, and leaves your soul a drippy mess. But he had no choice. He had to eat.
Steeling himself, he plunged into the sea of darkness, cold, wet drops of agony seeping into every fiber of his being. Peering ahead, he caught sight of the dim light emanating from the local diner and began making his way towards it, as if it were a beacon of hope and he a wary traveler.
Once inside the diner, he saw that it was empty. There wasn’t even a waiter to seat him and take his order. He called out several times and was answered with silence. Finally, he heard a rustling in the back and from the kitchen emerged a short, old man wearing a waiter’s garb.
“Sorry for the wait,” the old man said. “The food will be out shortly.”
Before Lucien could form a coherent thought in response to the old man, the doors to the kitchen swung open and plate after plate of food streamed out, carried by faceless figures wearing the same uniform as the old man.
“Dig in!” the old man said cheerfully, staring at Lucien expectantly.
“Uh…thanks,” said Lucien, seating himself at a table and tucking into the piles of food before him.
And eat he did. Hamburgers, cheeseburgers, salads swimming in dressing, chicken and waffles, biscuits and gravy, fried chicken, fried fish, milkshakes, fries, the whole deal.
As the night dragged on, plates full of food were replaced by empty ones. Yet, Lucien didn’t feel full. He was practically shoveling food into his mouth, but it didn’t feel like it was reaching his stomach.
After a while, he stopped. It didn’t make any sense. How could he be eating so much and not feel full? As he pondered the inexplicability of it all, he felt something welling up from the depths of his belly. It grew larger and stronger until it burst – a rumble of thunder. Suddenly, he understood.
When he opened his eyes, he found himself lying in a crater in the middle of the road. The rain had stopped, and the sky was a pale blue. Sitting up, he saw that a crowd of people had gathered around him, gasping and pointing and whispering amongst themselves.
“What…what happened?” he asked. He couldn’t remember how he ended up in the middle of the street. His mind felt strangely clear, as though it had been wiped clean.
“You got struck by lightning!” piped up one of the onlookers. “And not only that – you survived!”
Lightning. I got struck by lightning. I closed my eyes, trying to absorb this fact.
“I open my eyes, and gaze out again at this brand-new world before me.”