At 11:33 Saturday night, our house in northwest Dallas began to shake -- not like earthquake shake, really, more like under-attack shake. The windows rattled; the 4-year-old who lives in our house woke up. I turned down the TV and heard in the near distance what sounded like a mortar and rocket attack -- a clear night's sky resonating with booms and bangs, some louder than others, all fairly disquieting on a late Saturday night. After a while, all the dogs in the neighborhood started to bark.
We figured it'd pass, but it didn't -- boom, boom, BOOM. I wanted to get in the car and drive toward the noise -- ya know, like Tom Cruise in War of the Worlds. The missus, not amused, strongly suggested I call 911. So I did. Got the all-operators-are-busy recording. Then the Spanish-language recording. Then the one for the hearing-impaired -- a deafening, unending screech. The dogs outside were still barking; the booms, still booming. Figured at any moment we were going to be invaded and skinned alive by aliens. Or maybe Patrick Swayze and C. Thomas Howell. I hung up. BOOM. "Moooooooooooooooom," shrieked the kiddo. Our dog started to bark. The windows rattled. The bookcase in the bedroom shook.
Are you fucking kidding me?
I went into the boy's room. The missus was already in there, trying to settle him down. The phone rang. It was the 911 operator. I told her I lived in northwest Dallas and was hearing a constant barrage of explosions coming from the southwest.
"Could it be near Harry Hines and Monroe?" she asked.
"We've had several calls from that area," she said. "We've dispatched police and fire units to find out what's going on." She asked if there was anything else I needed. Couldn't think of anything, except maybe another bedtime bourbon and a smoke. "No," I told her, "we're good."
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At 11:44, the noise abruptly ended. All we could hear was the sound of barking dogs, and that faded after a couple of minutes. I turned back on Dazed and Confused, right at the part where stoner Slater's talking about the "spooky shit" in the back of a dollar bill.
Didn't see anything in the paper yesterday or this morning -- figured if war had broken out or little green men had landed to scoop up the deep discounts at Sam Moon, it would have at least made the news. So I called the Dallas police media relations office this morning to find out what'd happened.
Took them a while to find the report -- turns out, whatever happened wasn't near Harry Hines and Monroe at all. Actually, according to a sparse police report from Saturday night, it might have been "a fireworks display" near the intersection of Merrell Road and Pensive Drive -- the intersection at which sits my old elementary school, F.P. Caillet. Initially, DPD officers had gotten reports of gunfire near the intersection, but I guess when officers arrived and found an absence of corpses and casings, they figured, "Well, OK, fireworks then."
On a related note, not everyone in my neighborhood heard the explosions -- like, oh, the dude who lives much closer to intersection, guy name of Patrick "Buzz" Williams. His wife heard them, just not Patrick. Glad I am not serving in his platoon: "Hear what?" --Robert Wilonsky