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In practiced unison, they both awoke several minutes before
the alarm.  She slipped out and headed for the coffee filters,
sink and refrigerator.  He made his way to the listening post
and hit restart.  

Far across the open bay, the underwater microphones began
their daily scans.  They sent pulses of data through the miles
of cable that stretched to the computers inside his office.  The
monitors slowly came to life as the noises of morning filtered
into his sanctuary.

In the kitchen, they both moved silently through their pre-dawn
ritual.  The oven chimed when it reached 350 and she poured
the batter into the pan.  His bare feet pattered about, from
cabinet to counter.  The silverware drawer rattled.  She put
breakfast into the oven and motored off to the bath.  Soon
clouds of steam and the whoosh of the shower overshadowed
the aroma and sound of perking coffee machine.

The biscuits rose as he returned to his office.  Through the
picture window he saw   the first rays of sunlight set the waves
ablaze.  The red-fire glare that danced atop the bay’s surface
reminded him of the early days.  For months on months, each
morning they sailed out to place the microphones, their bodies
covered by sweat then salt.  Repeatedly, they dove to the
bottom to drive in the listening devices and then resurfaced to
the blistering heat, then move the boat and set up the next
station.  But that was years ago and now everything was
automatic, analytical and controlled from his air-conditioned

He heard her turn the water off as he logged in and began to
collect this morning’s data.  As he scanned the charts and
tables, the same worried look that marked his face for months
shaded his features. His project was to listen to life, using
sound to feel the pulse of the planet.  Remote acoustic sensors
registered temperatures, currents, tides, solar energies and
even the basic functions of ocean life. Ever since the first
streams of data appeared,  he greeted the day weary, anxious
and sad.

His mind drifted out to slowing ocean currents, shifting climatic
patterns and melting glaciers.  His eyes glazed over as he saw
dying species, flooded coastlines, gigantic violent storms.  
Droughts and raging wildfires ravaged the land. And then he
was dragged back to his home by the soft footsteps of his wife
in the bedroom.  Closets and drawers slid open and closed.  At
somewhat regular intervals, a coffee mug thumped on the
dresser and in the silence of this morning, he heard the long
sensual sound of her dress zipper up. His frown softened and
then abruptly froze, as he heard the snap of her bag and her
quick steps down the hall.

range projections and brought his thoughts back into his work.  
The global warming will be brief but dramatic, followed by the
breakdown of seasonal weather patterns.  Then the mega-
storms will usher in devastating change and begin the slow,
gradual decline into the next ice age.  After that, who knows?

He rose from his monitors and stepped out on to the deck
overlooking the coast.  To his right, he saw the blood-red
morning sun as it rose over the hills.  On the left was the
ocean, so radiant and beautiful.  Behind him he heard her
stride through the kitchen, remove the biscuits from the oven
and then drop something on to the counter.  It sounded like a
coin, spun about a few times and then landed flat, silent, dead.

His eyes locked on the horizon when he heard the engine start
and her wheels toss the gravel from the driveway.  Way too
soon, he heard her disappear down the road and he turned
and walked to the kitchen table.

There sat her wedding ring and the note.  “You never listened
to me.”    
Lookout Point
By Ben Amato