Where will you be on “C-Day,” the day the Cascadia Subduction Zone blows a gasket? Yeah, yeah, I know. Maybe we’re all six feet under or blowing in the wind by then.
Or maybe not, not if Cascadia lets ‘er rip tomorrow or over the Fourth of July weekend, like in the novel, Cascadia.
So, where might you be?
Possibly, like a guy nicknamed Shack in Cascadia, you’re visiting the small Oregon coastal town of Manzanita and just sitting down to breakfast in The Big Wave Cafe.
The waitress arrived with a pot of coffee and a cup. The cup rattled in its saucer as she placed it on the table. She poured the coffee, but the cup persisted in its jiggling and caused her to miss the mark, the dark liquid splattering onto the table.
“Oh, my,” she said, more startled than embarrassed.
Shack glanced toward Highway 101, expecting to see an eighteen wheeler or log truck lumbering by, but the road appeared temporarily devoid of traffic.
A sharp jolt rippled through the restaurant, triggering a brittle chorus of clattering dishes and utensils. Several patrons rose from their seats and moved toward the exit. The waitress set the coffee pot on the table and followed them.
Or it could be, like the book’s protagonist, geologist Rob Elwood, you’re out for a morning stroll through Manzanita when suddenly you find yourself in the middle of something calamitous.
Screams and yells from nearby homes and condos filled the morning. Fissures, like skeletal fingers, opened in the ground, zigzagging through streets and yards. Utility poles snapped and toppled. Power flashes, blue and white explosions of light, arced from severed power lines. Broken electrical cables, like beheaded snakes, writhed on the ground, spitting angry sparks.
The great earthen swells kept coming, tearing the town apart, knocking down flimsier structures, bending and warping others. Many wooden frame homes managed to remain standing, but jiggled and jumped from their foundations.
Maybe you’re not even in Manzanita, but toiling in a thick forest on a hillside near Cannon Beach like the novel’s grizzled retiree, a gentleman named Jonathan.
At first, nothing more than a tiny shake buzzed through the forest. Then a hard jolt reverberated through the ground, a violent horizontal shake. Almost simultaneously, the floor of the forest heaved upward sending Jonathan sprawling. He glanced up. The trees surrounding him leaned sharply in one direction, then another, whiplashing to and fro. Shotgun-like detonations blasted through the woods as dozens of trees snapped or toppled. The sky darkened with flocks of bewildered, terrified birds soaring above the crown of the forest.
So where will you be?