A bunch of us were jammed into an SUV somewhere in north Orange County when there was a distant boom and in seconds a mushroom cloud rose in the direction of downtown L.A. It’s OK, I said, we should be out of range of the blast, and I turned the car south to safety when another boom and a mushroom cloud rose a few miles ahead of us. This is it, I thought, and bolted upright in the dark, awake. A nuclear war dream. I hadn’t had one of those since the cold war.

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