Full of Sound and Fury (Signifying a Stolen Quote)

So I ignored them, the clamouring firetruck outside and the screeching fire alarm shaking the building.  For I was writing, and could not be incommoded. 

I could, however, spare a glance out the window, and so I did.  Hm.  Yup, the firetruck had stopped right at our door.  That was okay, though.  I was living in Elizabeth, New Jersey, and blaring firetrucks were part of the local soundtrack.  For some reason they’d often hurtle down the town’s few streets only to brake before our doors, but each time I’d flee the scene of seemingly impending disaster, I’d reach the ground floor only to watch them drive off into the distance.  With, mind you, nary a fire in sight.

So you begin to understand how this particular evening, perched comfortably before my laptop with a hot cup of coffee at my lips, I was in no mood at all to rush downstairs in some sort of panic.

This said, my firemen were acting somewhat atypically.  To whit, rather than leaving the scene of the non-fire with their usual screeching grace, why, they had taken the time to don full hazard gear and were presently occupying themselves by running into my building with a huge ass hose.

This is the official terminology, by the way.  Huge ass hose.

“Hm.”  I tapped a finger on my lip.  “They do seem to be taking themselves awfully seriously today.  I wonder…”

And then I flew into action.

I do not panic in the face of emergencies.  I was calm, cool and collected.  Clearly there was a fire or a firefighting party, and I’d best get me out, and rather quickly if I might.

I dashed into the bedroom and collected the essentials.  A sweatshirt, my keys, my lip therapy, moisturizer, our cordless phone, and the Blockbuster movie due that night.  See–a most composed and competent me.

I ran to the door and opened it.  But two doors down an entire team of firefighters prepared to kick down a door. 

“Gack!” I said.

Burly and grim faces turned to me.

“Get in! Get in!” they shouted.

“Meep!” I responded, shutting the door on my own nose in my haste to begone.

“Get out! Get out!”  they yelled.

“Which is it?!” I screeched (calmly).

“In or out, you choose, but now!”

Well, I have to tell you, THAT was an easy choice.  Out I hurtled like a hobbit late for a lunch date.  Down the stairs I leapt like Aragorn after an orc.  (Can you tell what I spent last night rereading?)  Out the door I smashed like Boromir after The One Ring.  (Okay, that was unfair.)  And then I was out in the cold air.

A crowd had gathered.  Like blithering idiots, they’d assembled right at the foot of the building.  I moved away rapidly.  Moments later the window was shot through by the fire hose.  Glass flew across the street, and dark smoke billowed out.  Still moving away, I tried to use my cordless phone.

Yeah.  Who’s the blithering idiot, you’re thinking.  (‘Ruth,’ your internal voice answers helpfully.)

Needless to say, it wasn’t working.  I wouldn’t be able to let my roommate know we’d had a fire and that the street was congested.  Oh well.  I switched off the phone, a redundant act.  And then I saw him through the crowds, pushing his way towards me. 

We met in the middle of the street.  For a moment we looked at each other in silence, the plume of smoke hanging over the road.

“Did you bring the video?” he asked.


Great minds think alike. 

It was a week later that I realized that in my cool, calm and collected haste, I’d returned the wrong video. 

No worries.  🙂


About sputnitsa

Born in the US, I grew up in Africa and the West Indies, and returned stateside in my teens. After a decade in international development, democracy work, and inclusivity training for domestic NGOs, I joined Peace Corps, and after a year, experienced my first Russian invasion. I followed that up by volunteering with refugees and youth, and after some vacation time climbing minarets and mountains, I returned to New York City, where today I work on social justice with college students, produce short films, and write.
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14 Responses to Full of Sound and Fury (Signifying a Stolen Quote)

  1. ralfast says:

    You’re fine and I’m glad. We had a scare when I was with my mother in the hospital. The fire alarm went off and doors started closing (you would think it would be the other way). But then I reached the nurses’ station and they were not doing anything out of the ordinary so I figured it was a false alarm. Turn out to be right, but a fire in a hospital?


    As for living in New Jersey…I’m so sorry!

    • sputnitsa says:

      OMG, that’s crazy–the doors closing. *shudders to think of it*

      They really should let folks know when drills are expected, especially in a place like a hospital!!

      As for living in New Jersey… 🙂 It was a crazy time in my life. So thanks. 🙂

      • ralfast says:

        Well, to be honest I lived in Jersey for a year or so. Wasn’t as bad as everybody from the City made it out to be. The Trenton-Princeton area is lovely, although the city itself, not so much.

        • sputnitsa says:

          Yeah, Princeton is lovely. Never really got to know Trenton.

          It totally depends on where you live, really, and what your commute is (if you have one). 🙂

  2. Now this is a superb application of an adverb: “Which is it?!” I screeched (calmly). The sentence just wouldn’t be as good without the, “calmly”.

    Oh, and Ralfast’s comment just totally cracked me up. 🙂

  3. Yarnspnr says:

    Interesting antidote, Traveler. Thanks for the eyes on report! Of all the strange and wondrous experiences I’ve had throughout life, none involved a fire in my house. 🙂 Good to hear from you again!

    • sputnitsa says:

      Thank you! Yeah, wait till I get to the dropping elevators! 😉

      I think now that I’ve moved and settled a bit–still no furniture–I’ll be able to write online more. But still no computer or internet until probably late November or December. Zoikes! 🙂

  4. hope101 says:

    So now I gotta ask: which video did you save?

    • sputnitsa says:

      🙂 I don’t remember which one I *meant* to save (the Blockbuster one), but the one I did save (accidentally) was probably Bridget Jones’s Diary, because I really never had many videos… I think it’s the only one I had at the time. 🙂

      Worthy? 🙂

  5. hope101 says:

    Worthy if it’s the first, yes. 😉

    • sputnitsa says:


      Wait–are you scorning the SECOND Bridget Jones’ movie? *ponders*

      Btw, have you read the books? What were your thoughts, if you have?

      • hope101 says:

        The second Bridget Jones, IMO, is not nearly as well-done as the first.

        Yes, I’ve read all the books. I loved them, found the experience very different from the movie. My daughter loved them too.

        • sputnitsa says:

          Really? Hm. I’d have to watch it again… I may have had the same feeling, actually, regarding the movie–they could hardly have her interview Colin Firth as she does in the book 🙂

          But as for the books, I loved the second. The first I enjoyed, but I feel the second was the stronger one. Ah, but where are they??? *wonders what state her books are in–and by this she doesn’t mean ‘condition’*

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