It's only suspicious because no one reported it
There was a fire of some kind, Wednesday night at LAX. It wasn't reported anywhere, but we know, because we were caught flat-footed in the smoke, amid the cop cars, on our way home from band practice, at about 10:45 PM. Soon as we hit the Sepulveda tunnel (southbound) we knew something was wrong; lanes were blocked off and the traffic was completely stopped. So we dodged onto Century (westbound), figuring that would be an easy escape. It wasn't.
The curving onramp to Century took us momentarily past a scene of chaos just within the boundary of LAX. White smoke was billowing around a large knot of cop cars parked to face oncoming traffic on Terminal Way. There was gridlock on Century all the way to the 405 as people were apparently trying to escape...something.
Yes, something. SOMETHING happened at LAX last night. Was it a fire? An attack? Chemical? Biological? We called our ex who works at Terminal One, but she was either working or sleeping. We called KFWB, to see if the newsroom knew anything. "Let me check the wires," said the guy who answered the phone. Nothing yet, he informed us, and gave us his thanks. We wondered what sort of news organization this was, exactly. The whole way back to Highland Park, we listened to hear something about what was happening at the airport -- but nothing on the radio. Nothing on the news wire. Nothing but a deafening silence.
Now...now we're worried...
See, a man runs up an escalator the wrong way at an airport, and it's national news. Last week, we'll admit, we packed the wrong bag by accident on a flight out of Burbank, and found ourselves facing a very upset TSA agent holding a six inch hunting knife we had completely forgotten was in our overnight bag. (Seriously. It had been in the side pocket for years; we just hadn't thought to check before going to the airport.) The agent informed us that he could put us in jail immediately, depending on his mood; then that he was in a good mood; lastly that he was taking the knife, after we informed him that it hadn't the sentimental value to do hard time over.
The point is, billowing smoke at an airport is a very, very big deal in this country, at this moment, and to our paranoid mind, its not being reported implies a coverup, which implies that it's an even bigger deal. So get us some antibiotics; get us some Whiskey. We're headed for the long hurt. Stuck in traffic, trying to clear the smell of burning metal that was emanating from the airport behind us, we reflected on our conditioning. Terrorism was the first thought; government conspiracy a close second. Who owned our Mind? What propaganda would we cleave toward in a time of emergency? The strongest smell between the cars shimmering in gridlock on Century Blvd. was the smell of silent, enclosed Fear, the terrible sense that one is an ant and knows nothing about what's going on around him, about what's blowing through those vents, what's creeping through the crack in the window. Kept in the dark about what's in the dark; a dark age captured in a moment of orderly mass flight from the scene of no-one-knows-what. No one will ever know, now. Just a pale of white smoke and the Law keeping watch, on the far side of our understanding.