(the) next thing (one) knows

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(the) next thing (one) knows

All of a sudden; out of nowhere; without warning. I was standing in line, minding my own business, when the next thing I know, a gunman runs into the bank and starts screaming at us to get on the ground! Tammy had only been on a few dates with Mark, but this one had been going smoothly. Next thing she knew, he got on one knee and proposed to her.
See also: know, next, thing
References in periodicals archive ?
The next thing he knew, he was under water before surfacing in a sea of burning fuel and floating corpses.
Eichner said the next thing he knew, an elderly man was in his face shouting: ``You saw my space, and you're going to pay for it dearly.
The next thing he knew, Castro said, he was awakened by his mother screaming about a fire.