It was a normal day like any other. Bright and sunny with a gorgeous clear blue sky. White puffy clouds floating gently on the breeze dotted the landscape, giving it a peaceful sort of serenity. And like any other day it was lunch time. A time where George had the opportunity to sit down and eat lunch. A time all to himself away from board rooms, meetings, debates between colleagues and the usual everyday headaches of banter and gossip at the water cooler. Everyday George ate lunch at the park across from his office. It was a beautiful park with a small man made pond in the middle. He enjoyed having his 30-45 minutes of alone time to chew thoughtfully on his ham and cheese sandwich while staring at the clouds going by through the reflection of the pond. He even liked the feel of the hard wooden bench against his back and under his butt. The feel of the hard wooden slats resting against him, giving him the authentic park atmosphere.

Occasionally on a whim he would throw leftover crusts of his sandwich out into the pond and watch the ripples spread out. He would be slightly amused and fascinated by the flock of pigeons that would come out from nowhere and flap frantically at the bits of offerings that he had to give. It was days like these that made George feel like he was king, in control of everything and that the world was truly his oyster. As George breathed in that fresh spring air and continued to chew thoughtfully on his sandwich, he began to notice something different about the reflection in his favourite pond. Something was wrong, it wasn't being proportionate like it used it. The normally white puffy clouds that would adoringly line his pond were all of a sudden being shooed away by an ugly plume of grey smog. He continued to stare at the pond in bewilderment and rubbed his eyes to make sure. Well he certainly didn't think his vision was a miss. George thought maybe there was a fire happening somewhere in the city and the smoke was simply cast off from it.

He looked up and around his surroundings to check out any activity but saw none. No smoke, no fire engines wailing off into the distance rushing towards the rescue, no screams of panic or terror, no people fleeing for safety or running towards the commotion. Everything was quiet. People were still straggling to and fro along the sidewalks, cars moved about in a snail like pace as usual. The occasional honking and cursing of a driver could be heard, nothing out of the ordinary. George was puzzled by this strange turn of events. George looked back at the pond which seemed to have changed entirely, the strange smog plume he had witnessed earlier had moved. What had looked as though there was a plume of smoke rising off from a distance began to move closer into view. It was as though the smog itself was moving, as though it seemed to have a mind of its own. George became more perplexed, for as far as he knew, smoke didn't really move on its own accord. Usually there would be an outside force moving the smoke, like a wind or gale. But there were no winds or gusts to be had. The park was still, the air was quiet. The gentle breeze in which he had enjoyed earlier had moved off. The area was still. And then George began to hear a strange sound, like the sound of distant buzzing. Sort of like the sound you hear when you forget to turn off the television or a fly has gotten caught within the screen of your window. A distant buzzing that eventually becomes a nuisance and forces you to search for the source so that you could try to get rid of it somehow. And then the noise became louder, the buzzing more forced. It evolved and became more of a coughing sound, as though it were a car on the brink of breaking down in the middle of a highway. A choking sound of a man with thirty years of emphysema and smoking under his belt finally gasping out his last breath. And still George was confused even more so.

Where was this coming from? And what was this curious plume of smoke doing? See during this whole cacophony of sound and noise that George was still in the midst of trying to interpret, he had begun to notice that the plume of smoke he had been eyeing was actually moving in a peculiar sort of way. Normally when we observe smoke, we see that it moves with a gentle sort of grace, like clouds, they float along, get carried away in wisps and wafts. But this particular plume of smoke was seemingly defying any sort of law of gravity known to man. This plume of smoke that George was eyeing was moving in a jerk like fashion. As though it were intoxicated on alcohol and drugs, if plumes of smoke were able to do that sort of thing. And what was even more puzzling and stranger to George was that it would continually jerk from left to right in no particular pattern. It was just random jerks to the left one minute and a few to the right, a sort of drunken plume of smoke dance. Which it seemed to George actually hindered it from getting anywhere. The problem was that the smoke would jerk violently to the left, swerve around in a circle and then jerk off towards the right in a twisted robotic like fashion. Which would end with the smoke not really accomplishing anything other than taking it forever to just move a few feet forwards before actually jerking a bit backwards. George continued to stare at the pond in fascination, wondering what this phenomenon was all about. Never during his school aged years had any of his science classes taught him about this weird form of science. And certainly nothing he'd heard of recently on the news could enlighten him to any sort of scientific experiments taking place with smoke and movement. He began to wonder whether he was witnessing some sort of miracle or possibly some sort of secret experiment being conducted under the guise of smoke. Either way George was taken in so much by the strange events taking place that he hadn't realized that for one thing, he had forgotten to eat the rest of his sandwich, that he had accidentally dropped his sandwich onto the grassy patch beneath his bench and that pigeons and ants were frantically scrambling for this amazing once in a lifetime meal. Or that everyone else around him had actually stopped walking and were forming crowds and pointing up at the sky.

And then George felt a cold presence above him and darkness that loomed above his head. He was bewildered because the sun was still shining in the distance and the weather forecast had clearly stated that there would be no rain for at least a couple of days. He raised his head, tearing his eyes away from the pond and looked up. There floating above them, a gigantic mass of roiling smoke hovering in the midst of the skyscrapers. All George could make out was plumes of smoke billowing out of an unknown source, feeding the plume like image. The crowds were staring in shock and amazement. What could this possibly be? Some sort of publicity stunt for a new product? A protest of some kind created by environmental lobbyists against big time corporations against pollution? Some sort of mutant cloud diseased by years of toxic waste and had finally evolved with a mind of its own? Well ok maybe that last part was a bit far fetched, George thought. But still, if not that then what?

And then as the people below continued to stare in curiosity and wonderment, the plume of smoke took an unexpected turn. It began to jolt and sway, swinging its puffs of grey back and forth. The cacophony of hacking and sputtering of gears and smoke pushing its weight forth. With a shudder and spurts of inky black filling the grey puffs making it more dense and dirty like, it began to shake and rock violently back and forth as if unsure of what to do next. The crowd became hypnotized as the peculiar plume of smoke seemed to pause, as if in deep thought and concentration on what its next plan of action was going to be. And then with a jerk and another jolt backwards it shot up into the sky becoming nothing more than a grey speck in a sea of blue. Which then proceeded to shoot left at a severe right angle arcing over the city horizon, buzzing away towards the distance. And with that the spell was over, broken as if waking from some sort of bizarre like dream. The crowd began to disperse, shaking their heads in wonder at what they had just witnessed. Could it be mass delusion? A form of crowd like hysteria from their mundane lives? Was there a form of mental breakdown out there that could be contagious like the plague and spread from one person's brain to another like some sort of invisible osmotic force? George and others from the crowd pondered these ridiculous notions before them as they headed back to wherever they were going, wondering and considering from time to time if perhaps these insane notions could possibly be true. George took another breath in and looked down. Damn it, he thought to himself, I dropped my sandwich and I'm late getting back to the office. Anderson is going to kill me. I wonder if he'll believe me about having a temporary moment of hallucination due to being overly stressed at work. Maybe he'll even give me the rest of the day off. George toyed with the idea while he got up from the bench, grabbed his suit jacket and headed back towards the building's front doors. Needless to say Anderson didn't buy George's cloud story and figured he spent way too much time eating lunch at the park bench. He recommended George stay indoors in the office luncheon room from now on. Too much sun he thought.