Lady Sees All After Lightning Strike

“The world is preoccupied with so many other matters.” Mary Denford is sitting on the trunk of her car, smoking a Pall Mall.

“It started with the impeachment. Then the pandemic. Then the protests. Through all of this, people stopped paying close attention to what they were watching.”

Denford flicks her cigarette. Ash falls to the side of her 1979 Pontiac FIrebird Trans Am. It’s black and gold. “Like my mind,” Denford says. “Like my mind.”


Denford began working in the produce department of a supermarket in her home town of Harris Flats. About a year after she started working, she was walking to her car at night when she was hit by lightning. 

“At that moment,” she says, “I saw the universe in all its glory, from the Caves of Origin to the Reticulations of Outer Inquiry.” The lightning strike also converted Denford, a lifelong opponent of tobacco products, into a chain smoker.

There were many secondary effects of the phenomenon, not the least of which was that Denford, when watching movies, can immediately sense if any actor is in possession of any other actor’s body part. 

“For example,” she says, lighting up another Pall Mall, “did you know that for about a year now, Julia Stiles has had one of Claire Danes’s fingers? Right hand, index. Dame Judy Dench has had one of Benedict Cumberbatch’s ears for about five years. And in what I can only call the most egregious example of the phenomenon, Brad Pitt has had Matt Damon’s nose since 1999—and vice versa!” She takes a long drag. “Let me do it,” she says.

“Do what?” says her interviewer, and then covers his mouth, aware that he has suddenly—perhaps fatally—inserted himself into the story. 


“Let me call it the most egregious example of the phenomenon,” she says. “Brad Pitt has had Matt Damon’s nose since 1999—and vice versa! How egregious, more so than any other example of the phenomena.”

Denford slides down off the hook of her Trans Am. She walks around to the passenger’s side, reaches through the open window, and pulls the handle of the glove compartment, which opens, spilling out loose Pall Malls.

“Right now,” she says, “in the Wave-Plain of Caliper Velt-Tone, an idea is spinning at a velocity that no one could have previously ascertained. It will make its way here across the galaxies and cause an equal mix of jubilation and sorrow.”

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