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  • "What is it?" he asked, the man on the street.

    "I... I don't know," I replied, snapping pictures of the lights that flashed silently across the dark sky and the fronts of the houses. "I don't know. There's... a line."

    I gestured vaguely in the direction of the flashing lights, the cars, trucks and men as I struggled to figure out how to capture them. The frenzy of lights.

    "There's one at the other end, too," he said, hoping for more, and he looked at me with the camera still snapping. I had nothing to offer.

    "I saw the lights, so I thought I'd take pictures," I said with a shrug. "I just don't see or smell or here anything."

    I'd sniffed the air in irrational fear that my house had burned, that I'd left a space heater running, the oven, something, before realizing they'd parked just a little too far down the street. Three fire trucks. Four. Lights flashing silently. A police line. There were other trucks at the end of the street and around the corner and sirens wailed mournfully in the distance.

    "I asked a police officer," the man said. "He wouldn't tell me anything."

    He'd tweeted, too, poking at the police department, hoping for an explanation. I had none to give. He watched as I snapped, telling me of his own camera - the one he left at home and how he'd thought of carrying it to work, but it just seemed too heavy with the laptop. I didn't tell him that I carried mine daily, everywhere I went. That I took pictures of nothing to try to figure out how to make something of them. I just listened.

    He told me of his job, of a flight he'd taken in a helicopter and the subsequent shots he'd posted to his Flickr account. He talked and talked and talked and then he started walking.

    "I guess I'll just keep walking the perimeter," he said. "Maybe I'll find something out."

    Maybe he did.
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