Pastel oranges and purples smeared across the sky as the sun crept out of view. The man in the black lab coat sat atop the embankment of the bluff, munching contentedly on a boiled peanuts from an oil-stained brown paper bag.
“I always loved sunsets from this view.” Said another man in a black lab coat, walking up the path.
“Peanut?” The seated man lifted the bag.
“Oh, yes.” The standing man took a peanut, and tossed it into his mouth, shell and all. “I forget how enjoyable taste buds are.”
“You didn’t come down here just to remember what salt tastes like.”
“Sadly, no.” The standing man took another peanut. “The firmament is stirring again. Pressure needs to be relieved.”
“Really? So soon? The old thing’s being unbearably fussy of late.”
“We built the releases eons ago, to keep the heart of the planet from cracking open. Safety valves against the stresses of time. They have to be used.”
“Pity,” The sitting man sighed. “The barbecue here is really quite exceptional.”
“They could always rebuild.”
“Mayhap. They’re stubborn enough.” The sitting man stood, nodding at his companion. “Keep the peanuts. There might not be many more of them.”
The US Geological Survey has reports that say upwards of 60% of Memphis would be destroyed if there was ever a 7.0 or greater quake at the New Madrid Fault. And it’s only a matter of time until that happens. And then what would we do? Would we let the Peanut Shoppe’s boiled peanuts and the city’s amazing barbecue slip forever into the stuff of legend? Or would we rebuild and keep the legacy strong. I know what my answer is. What’s yours?