★ Preparedness: the flashlight hoard, left over from who knows which previous non-disaster, had proved findable and all powered up. The Rite Aid, the night before, had had a case of bottled water, to say nothing of two-and-a-half-pound bags of Halloween candy. Now light and dark gray rumpled the morning sky. Almost everything was accounted for—save the soggy, snotty cold system working its way slowly up out of the baby, and a sharp tummyache and chills sweeping through the kindergartener, the two systems converging around and inside a third body as an immense, churning swirl of nausea, centered below the sternum. Apparently, out in the world, people were lining up out the doors of the supermarkets. Apparently, out in the world… Indoors, there was dim light from behind the windowshade, and the occasional creak or thump of wind against the glass. It was possible, resting one’s head on a bathmat on the cool tiled floors in late afternoon, to hear the reverberating rumble of low-flying airplanes, as yet ungrounded by the coming storm.