He woke up to the clock radio clicking on thinking about the last shades of a dream about running down a flight of stairs. He stood in the shower reciting song lyrics he didn't know were wrong. He backed out of his parking space at the Green Pines apartment complex thinking, "Today you'll finally be your best, Alex Brown" and hoping not to crush a bug under his wheels. He slammed on his breaks in the middle of an intersection because a torrent of mini-quiches rained down on the street.
When a quiche in a three-inch diameter tin reaches terminal velocity it may disintegrate if the crust has the wrong proportion of butter in it. Its thin, brown top will flake in milliseconds, freeing the dense, moist contents below and scattering bits of egg across the currents such that a man walking to work miles away will be forced to contemplate how a minuscule fragment of scrambled egg found its way onto this particular sidewalk and he will wrongly conclude that it's from one of the nearby restaurants. He'll never know how remarkable it truly is and it won't change his life at all.
But a properly made quiche, butter distributed throughout the crust evenly, will hold against the wind sheer and plummet to earth in a wild, end-over-end twist, exploding on impact. If it lands tin-side down the quiche will burst as if by a small bomb, egg and ham and spinach flying in all directions. If it lands crust-side down it will splatter as if temporarily liquid, depositing the tin somewhere nearby. If it lands on its side it will simultaneously bounce and rip apart but the blunt force of the landing will make rolling impossible. It doesn't matter how it lands if it hits a car. It always ricochets off, leaving behind a small mess and maybe a crack in the wind shield.
Alex's car was at the center of the downpour. The whole thing lasted less than five seconds and then everything was silent. Alex waited a few moments and then ran his wind shield wipers, remembering that he was out of cleaning fluid again. He was afraid to get out of the car, even though he knew he had to. One does not live through a rain of quiche and merely drive away. That is, if one does live through a rain of quiche. The young woman on the sidewalk who had been jogging just seconds earlier was on her side, egg in her hair, her iPod cracked but still playing. When Alex noticed her he jumped out of the car and ran to her.
A young man hopes for something to come of strange moments. He hopes to be remembered and that the sheer weirdness of it all will make a bond between two lives. Alex was okay with the idea of finding his one true love on the day it rained quiche. More than okay. He didn't want, as some forecasts had suggested, to pair off with someone at work, bonding over a Powerpoint presentation and the surprisingly good coffee in the break room. That's life as it really happens, at least for most people most of the time, but it's not the only way things can go. Other things can happen. It can rain quiche for 4.7 seconds and bring two people together by the inexplicable mechanics of fate. It doesn't have to be a normal day.
But a woman struck by a terminal velocity quiche will likely just end up in the hospital, hurt and inconvenienced and out one iPod. Unlike the man who finds her, she'll want to know what caused the quiche to fall so she can sue the express mail company for its negligence in the air transport of said quiche. She'll want to go back to normal because there's nothing fun or fantastic about a concussion.
So, there was Alex Brown, late for work, surrounded by burst quiche, tending to an unconscious jogger and finding her pulse, relieved but anxious, his need for the weirdness to keep going competing with the young jogger's need for the weirdness to have never happened, or for it to be corrected. And Alex knew the best he could be is a guy who at least tries. He called an ambulance and stayed with her, hoping she would wake up before they took her away to the hospital so he might have a chance to at least say hello. And when she didn't, Alex got into his car, drove home and washed it with a sponge and dish soap. He never went back to his job and he never fell in love over Powerpoint and coffee.