annabelle was walking home from the bus stop at three o'clock in the morning after attending an apprehension anonymous meeting over on the south side.
as she came to the last block before her apartment she suddenly remembered seeing a story on the news the morning before about a series of abductions of young women and an occasional young man on the north side. a story? the news had been about nothing else for two weeks.
i must really be wrapped up in my own problems to have something like that slip my mind, annabelle mused as she picked up her pace. it's lucky i only have a block to go.
just then she sensed a car pulling up beside her. it was a police car.
the policeman behind the wheel looked up at her. "are you all right, miss? are you aware of the abductions in this area?" he's not bad looking, thought annabelle, but he looks a little gay.
"thank you officer, but i live in that apartment right there." she pointed to it.
there was also a policewoman in the police car. she leaned down and spoke to annabelle across the driver. "we can drive you the one block." annabelle thought, she looks like she should be home with nine kids cooking pasta all day.
"no thank you, i'm fine."
"ok. but we'll sit here and watch you."
when annabelle went to her next meeting three nights later, the abductor or abductors had still not been caught, and the story had become national news.
annabelle couldn't wait to share her story. she was proud of herself. not only had she felt no fear or apprehension but she had had a mild adrenaline buzz.
the group was a little smaller than usual. twelve people instead of the usual fifteen or sixteen. the usual moderator, dave - dull dave, annabelle thought of him, with his awful bushy beard - was there and mentioned the abductions.
"this is in many ways a good opportunity for us," said dave. "if we can confront our fears about this - a real tangible fear - maybe some of our self-generated fears will become a little more manageable."
"that's very nice, dave," said liberal linda (annabelle had a tag for almost everybody) "but let's not forget that real people are being kidnapped and terrorized here. i'm not sure they be thrilled to find their purpose in life is to give meaning to ours." linda could always be counted on to ladle out some lukewarm pc dogma on any topic. annabelle was a big fan of bill o'reilly and ann coulter, but she usually held her tongue when linda spouted off.
"that's very true," dave agreed hastily. "linda makes an excellent point. but if you think about it " - if you think about it was one of dave's favorite phrases - "her point is the same as mine. the people being kidnapped are facing primal fears - the fears of our ancestors in the jungle and the savanna - and our fears are the usually more nebulous ones of the megalopolis."
oh dave, annabelle thought, dave, dave, dave, dave. she hated it when he started running on about the savanna (wherever that was) and the megalopolis and the zeitgeist (whatever that was). she wanted to hear real stories about real people.
"a mugger stuck a gun in my face," said annabelle's archenemy, bitchy brenda. "it wasn't very nebulous."
"i said usually, brenda."
"you usually say usually."
this got a good laugh from the group. annabelle was often surprised at what people laughed at. back in the days when she went to movie theaters she would be sitting in the dark theater with a silent invisible audience and then a little kid or dog would run across the screen and everybody would laugh. weird.