On three different occasions now, the Tenth Doctor has reacted to some shocking discovery by exclaiming, "What?!" and again, "What?" and once more, "What?!!" The first time, a bride had suddenly appeared in the TARDIS and demanded to know where she was. The second time, Queen Elizabeth I (whom the Doctor had not yet met) called for the removal of the Doctor's head. The third time, the Titanic smashed through the wall of the TARDIS. Yes, I think all of those would qualify as surprises for him!
I felt like that this morning, a couple of times, albeit with less cause. First that was a piece of email, purportedly from "firstname.lastname@example.org," telling me to "Claim Your Tax Refund Now!" Yeah, like that's going to happen. The IRS doesn't need to reach me by email. They've got my address, and I got my refund months ago, thank you very much, deposited in our account. Still, don't you get teeny tiny doubts when some new phishing scheme surfaces, in case somehow it's really from the claimed organization? I do.
But that was nothing compared to the shock I received on the drive to work this morning. As I passed my local Taco Bell at 22nd and Wilmot, I saw this:
They were knocking down the Taco Bell! What? What? What?! This wasn't some failed business. This was a place that was always so busy at midday that I gave up trying to eat lunch there. Couldn't hack the line! But I bought dinner there just a week or two ago.
I turned right into the parking lot, but my camera eluded me when I reached in my purse for it. What? Figuring that I'd left my camera on my desk, I doubled back home for it. It wasn't there. What? Turned out it was in my purse after all, and I'd just wasted five minutes for no reason. What? But I drove back into the parking lot and grabbed this shot before going on to work.
By lunchtime, they had made a lot of progress on knocking down the rest of the building. I couldn't help thinking of their lunchtime patrons, heading over there for a grilled stuffed burrito and finding a pile of rubble instead. What?
This is not the first time I've been surprised by unexpected demolition at that particular shopping center. A couple years ago they knocked down an early 1960s diner, Cory's, leaving only the restaurant's sign. And a few years before that, they knocked down most of the north wing of the L-shaped shopping center. But those structures were relics, almost as old as I am. The Taco Bell wasn't anywhere near that old. Weird. Then again, neither was the Popeye's at Broadway and Campbell, which shut down the day after I broke my ankle in their parking lot about four or five years ago. What?
I'm on the last chapter of An Adept in Mâvarin, at least in theory. I'm on Chapter 13 anyway, the last chapter in my Adept folder. So far, though, the narrative doesn't feel remotely like the end of a first book in a trilogy. The plot of the second book has already started, all the characters are in trouble and it's getting worse (for Rani and Fabi at least), and there's no sense of closure. I'm not at all sure I've picked the right stopping point to shore up as the end of the volume, but I won't be sure until I get there, and maybe not even then. Maybe I should stop at the end of Chapter 12, or even Chapter 11. I'm going to have to be very clever, and probably teach myself a new writing competency or two, to pull this off. Gulp! What?