The scientific maxim “Nature Abhors a Vacuum”, often attributed to Aristotle, was updated today in a sudden and spectacular fashion when Salem man Jesse Parker, 29, was vaporized by a powerful lightning strike while walking on the Marketplace pedestrian mall.
Witnesses reported that Parker, who had just finished berating an elderly woman who accidentally stepped on his foot, was walking away from the encounter when the blinding flash, accompanied by an astonishingly loud thunderclap, occurred. A strong smell of ozone pervaded the area, but Parker had vanished, leaving no visible remains left behind.
“He (Parker) was just yelling at this old lady, going on and on about how she could have injured him, and that she scuffed his stupid shoe, but finally he walked away, then all of a sudden, ‘BOOM!!!’, and then he was gone”, reported acquaintance Tony Rioloto, who, along with his colleagues, were trying to distance themselves from the embarrassing spectacle prior to the vaporization.
“We tried to sneak out to lunch when he went to the bathroom, but as usual he caught up with us”, Rioloto continued. “I guess we should have intervened to get him to leave the old lady alone, but then it could have been one of us that got it too. It’s pretty shocking, but ultimately I don’t think anyone, maybe his Mom, will be too upset. The guy was a total douche.”
Weather reports for the area indicated a chance of thunderstorms throughout the day, but conditions at the time of the incident were described as mostly cloudy, with calm winds, and no impending threat of violent weather.
Authorities initially expressed skepticism at the report, believing it to be some sort of hoax, but the sheer number of independent eyewitnesses with virtually identical accounts of the incident led them to eventually conclude that it had, in fact, happened.
Scientists from various disciplines of the earth sciences were reportedly interested in investigating the event, and planned to start collecting data on similar reports to look for trends.
Meteorologist Sam Agunda said, “It will be interesting to see if this was an isolated incident, or if Nature has suddenly implemented some sort of new enforcement agenda against objectionable persons and behaviors. I’ve heard that this Parker fellow was quite ‘the douchebag’, but we may need to come up with a more rigorous classification system to rank victims along a continuum of objectionability”.
At press time, a nervous but cautiously optimistic humanity privately hoped that Nature might also decide to abhor gun-toting lunatics, pedophiles, and religious fanatics.