And so I was driving home, coming first into the area I live in. All about me were construction machines and buildings levelled everywhere. My eyes could see for miles the rubble and dusty flatness of bombed-out places and wartime-styled excavations–what you’ve seen of Third World countries on the six o’clock news.
I turned to go the way I usually go into my neighborhood, but there were no visible street signs. The paved road gave way to dust trails going nowhere. Relying on my innate sense of direction, I kept driving where my turnoff should have been, but which now curved into a long busy demolition site with few suburban homes still standing. Construction machines whizzed by with no discernible human drivers I could ask what was going on and what had happened. My van and windshield were covered by dust and sand. I abandoned my van, getting out and beginning to walk.
Just then a weird-looking metallic enclosed bus pulled up and asked, “Are you Davies?” I said yes and hopped in. A young well-meaning woman in non-descript garb began to tell me “Here is what you need to know to get to where your house used to be and how you can leave whenever you want.” And then she started the all-too-familiar undecipherable babble we’ve all heard in the other red tape bureaucratic scenes from our lives.
“I’m sorry. I can’t make out what you are saying,” I said. And, indeed, her talk had become gibberish. “I need someone else to explain what you’re trying to tell me.”
She said to an armed man who had shown up. “Oh, oh, we’ve got another one of those” as she spoke into her phone.
“Look, I don’t want any hassle. Just let me get off.”
“I’m sorry, sir. You can never go home again. This is Edmonton.”
The man clicked his gun.