While I waited in the Get Yer Refill Here line at the base pharmacy today, an older woman went up to the New Scrips Here window, presumably to drop off a prescription. She was told (politely, I would assume) that she needed to take a number (just like everyone else has done from the moment Military Medicine Time began) and the ticket dispenser was just outside the door.

She exited...and then pulled the fire alarm.

From time to time I've wondered what happens when the fire alarm is pulled; now I know, at least I know what happens in the base mini-mall, where the refill pharmacy is located. What happens is that bright lights flash, a bleating horn goes off, repeating itself ever 1.25 seconds, and everyone working in an official capacity--from the pharmacy techs to the guys working at the GNC and the Post Office--closes their windows, push people out the doors, which they then lock. Someone also wanders around urging, in a tired voice, Please Leave Using The Nearest Exit.

Then everyone congregates outside, some bemoaning the fact that they were next up at the pharmacy window, some muttering about not having time for this shit, others gossiping about what had just happened. "Can you believe it? She just pulled the damn thing! I wonder of she did it on purpose, or if she was confused?"

Thumper, in her infinite wisdom, knowing there's no fire, perches on the curb, thinking to herself, "If I get to that door fast enough when they give the all-clear, I can be at the front of the line!"

Momentarily, she is distracted by the guy who runs the candy shoppe, who is passing out free samples to everyone. Free chocolate!

Then everyone waits for the fire department to show up, then for the firemen to wander through the building, and 15 minutes later they pronounce You Can Come Back In, and Thumper bounces to the door, thinking "Yay! I'm not at the back! I can outpace all these old people!" Just barely...

But then...then as she turns the corner Thumper realizes there was another door, and dammit those people were let back in first. And now the line is longer than before. And it's filled with people wearing perfume and cologne, in amounts that make Thumper think they bathed in the damned stuff, and leave her wanting for air.

I have no idea what happened to the Woman who pulled the alarm lever, whether she disappeared into the crowd or was arrested. I'd like to think she made a mistake and thought she was tugging on some magical lever that would dispense the required number ticket, but there's always the possibility that she did it thinking that if she couldn't just drop her prescription off, then everyone else would be screwed, too.

But at least now I know what happens when the fire alarm is pulled. You get free chocolate, and then damn near have an asthma attack.

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