It didn’t look like much from the street. The two stories were different colors and different shapes and the second floor looked like a manufactured home. Which made sense because it was. How it came to be placed on top of a normal single family residence isn’t much of a story. He paid off a construction crew in cases of beer to make that mistake. It took four cranes and two giant excavators to hoist the mobile home up there without severally damaging the structure. Perhaps, if the crew had waited to partake of their spoils until after the job was completed, the large cracks that ran down the two long sides of the unit could have been avoided. But, we cannot change what has already happened.
He lived alone but had friends over often. The newcomers arrived excited to tour such a unique building in hopes that the inside was just as eccentric as the out, but they always left disappointed. Those who came more than once were invited back because they had seen the true worth in what had been created. Though, they were all surprised they had been let in on the secret.
To his face they praised his ingenuity and preparedness. Behind his back they laughed at the absurdity of it all. The waste. The unnecessary use of time and resources. They called him a bit off. They scoffed until the ground began to shake and then they raced to his house to take advantage of the protection they had thought useless.
How could they have known the fault lines would become active again? How could he for that matter? But, those questions mattered little when the shaking lasted for days and a canyon opened where their houses had once stood. All was lost, except for his modified home.
It rode the tidal waves of earth until the pressure became too great and then the first floor collapsed upon itself as it had been designed to do. The rollers and tethers between the two floors allowed the manufactured home to rise with the crests and drop with the valleys of the earthquakes. The layered walls of feathered steel plates crumpled and distorted but held their basic shape. The roof strained against the angles, but remained intact.
Survivors noticed and flocked to his home. Most didn’t make it to his front door as the earth took them with its erratic movements. Those who managed the journey successfully were all kept at bay. He had no room for people who couldn’t see the value of being prepared. He understood the hypocrisy of keeping some out while letting others in when all had doubted, including his so-called friends. He had heard their murmurs and whispers at his expense. But, they had arrived first, and he knew he would need help in the long, hard days ahead.
So, he let them in even though they didn’t deserve to be saved, because he was preparing for what came next. Rebuilding. Growing. Surviving.