I had a doctor’s appointment the day the passenger jet lost its tail and made an unscheduled stop in Queens. My wife called from work to tell me about it. Sick to my stomach, I searched the online news websites for details. Nobody had much information.

I went outside and smoked a cigarette. The sky above the hills to the east was a wash of pink and gold. To the west, behind the house, rain clouds the colors of ashes were bunched like fists.

Later it began to rain. The water pounded on the roof, sending the cats flying for the bedroom, where they huddled cheek to jowl beneath the bed.

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