The power of suggestion, suggested that is was time to shop. So within minutes everyone had dropped whatever they were doing and reset their immediate consciousness to hone in on the destination of the nearest local values to be had for a limited time only. Local because in this economically challenging time, no one wanted to waste gas. The landslide started about fifteen minutes after all of them had left. The television and newspaper reports which were collated and then edited some eight thousand miles away at reuters later mentioned that the area had been subject to torrential rains the week before and that had loosened the topsoil. In any case when they all returned, there was not much more left than a driveway leading to a sharp drop off. So treacherous was the site that local police would only let them drive past their former driveway and then waved them off to the local high school where the FEMA operations disaster team dispatched earlier from the nearby state capital were waiting to receive them.
Gone was Scruffy, the families Bull Terrier and aquarium with the Siamese fighting fish. Now all they had between them was some marked down Summer outfits suitable for next month’s weather and the clothes upon their backs. They looked at each other as if they were players in some TV reality show attempting to ferret out what their next challenge would be. The only voice-able thought common to all of them was,
“Thank God we went out to shop for bargains!”
Towards eleven O’clock that evening while sitting on cots set up upon the dimly illuminated gymnasium floor, it hit them that their former life was now extinct and there was likely no more bargains to be had for a while. Save those that would be elicited from the community chest. Days later locked in the routine of refugees they began to come out of their sense of shock and respond to the siren’s call of the Jerry Springer show which droned on incessantly from the corner of the cordoned space where several rows of folding metal chairs were occupied by other victims. Life began anew with furtive conversations about the demeanor of Jerry’s guests, all of which had been traumatized by some misjudgment as to the validity of love. The social worker noticed that they were coming back to normal again when they started talking about the relative level of savings available as offered by the sponsor’s PSA’s broadcast in-between the show’s staged drama.