Stormy Weather

I got drunk and made out with a married fat chick who was mad at her boyfriend Friday night.
And Charlie's back.
She's been back for a few weeks now. Come get me. PLEASE come get me, she'd begged.
We'd had some sort of argument, and I'd told her to get the fuck out of my house. She refused and I called the police. Can you please get this parasite out of my house?
When Ralph had gotten sick and his daughters made her leave his house, she asked to crash at mine for a few days and just sort of moved in; a squatter. I called her a squatter to the cops.
There's nothing we can do, they told me. She put your address on her driver's license and has her mail coming there. You have to go down to the courthouse to get a thirty day eviction notice.
So there's an answer to any of you who may be homeless just put in a change of address at the post office to somewhere where someone might let you visit for ten minutes, put it on your driver's license and you have residence for at least thirty days.
She went to Stuart's two days later. I thought I was rid of her.
Stuart accused her of stealing from his late mother's house, and she didn't want anything more to do with him. About the only kind of person Charlie hates more than a prostitute is a thief, and he'd called her a thief. That would have been worse than calling her a whore.
Then Tami called Friday. I can't figure out why Charlie has anything to do with Lucy Furr , because Tami's a thief and Charlie knows it. Maybe it's because the two of them both hate hookers. I won't let Tami in my house anymore without someone else there to keep an eye on her.
I really need a friend, can I come over?
She'd had a terrible day. Her alien husband, who was in the Illinois National Guard and deployed in Afghanistan, wasn't sending the support checks the military had ordered him to send her. She'd gotten thrown out of the Bedbug Inn (named Lincoln Lodge of course) and had broken up with her boyfriend.
It seems lately that every time one of my lady friends breaks up with her significant other, she winds up with me. I can't get a girlfriend of my own, but it seems I've got everybody else's. If it isn't Annie (who'd moved to Chicago for a while but was back, and happily on her own now) it was Amy. Now it was Tami, it seems.
I guess, I said. Charlie was there to make sure she didn't steal anything. I picked her up at lunch, and she had tears in her eyes and a bottle in her hand. By the time I got off work she was drunk and crying. I sat on the couch next to her, wiping her tears away and hugging her and rubbing her back.
Alan dropped by before I'd finished a beer.
Tami and Alan don't get along too well. Alan knew Snake and scared the hell out of her with some parlor trick involving a hammer, a nail, and ketchup. You're Lucifer! she'd told him, horrified. So it was fitting that the two people I know who both have the nickname of Lucifer don't like each other much.
And Alan had bragged that he could have any woman, which set Tami off. When he came in she sat her fat ass in my lap and put her arms around me. Me and Steve got married today, she joked, drunkenly trying to make Alan jealous.
He left with Charlie after a few beers, and Tami had cheered up. No longer crying, she was still in my lap with her arms around my neck. I got up to get more beer, and sat on the couch. Tami sat next to me, close. We wound up making out.
My dick got hard. And then Charlie came back home.
Cockblocker! Tami said to Charlie, accusingly but with an evil grin. I got up and moved over to the table, embarrassed that I'd been caught in a compromising position with the fat woman. Although I was still fully clothed, my woodie kind of gave things away.
My phone rang; it was Julie, who I hadn't seen in six months or more. She gave me her new landline number and I promised to call. She didn't say, but I'd bet money she's fighting with her boyfriend, if she still has one.
The One had been playing on the TV. I'd missed most of the movie, but it was Charlie's tape and I'd seen it before. After a bit more drinking, Charlie sacked out on the couch, Tami crashed on the cushions, and I went to bed.
Saturday morning came after noon, and the now sober fat lady wasn't so amorous. Phew!
The three of us sat on the porch in the nice weather, watched a couple of movies, and generally had a pleasant Saturday. I was in bed asleep before nine, leaving the girls in the living room with the TV. Sunday morning Tami was gone. There was a note on the kitchen table.
Went to Jessie's. Call if you need me for anything. Jessie is the boyfriend, and obviously they'd kissed and made up.
Charlie was more than asleep; she was unconscious. I couldn't wake her up. Even her phone ringing didn't wake her up. I watched This Week, then put in a Deep Space Nine tape. When This Week was on there were notices on the screen about some tornado watches, but they were in counties quite a bit south. Charlie farted in her sleep, then woke up and went to the bathroom. Your phone was ringing when you were asleep, I told her.
She called the number back. It was Alan , she said. He wants you to give him a ride to get some beer. He's on his way down now.
A few minutes later he showed up, and I gave him a ride to get his beer and rolling tobacco. While I sat in the car waiting for him, my daughter Leila called. We're under a severe thunderstorm watch, she said.
Alan came out of the store and we went to his house so I could show him (again) how to make his VCR work. I can't figure out why someone as intelligent as Alan is so stymied by technology.
The tornado siren went off. Luckily his house is a lot closer to it than mine is and you can actually hear it there. It took a minute for me to figure out what the sound was.
Tornado! I said. We have to get to my house, you don't have a basement.
I ain't scared of no tornado, he said.
Yeah, well I didn't used to be until I was in one. Come on, we have to go.
When the tornadoes hit Springfield in March 2006 (and the pictures at Wikipedia don't do it justice) I wasn't the least bit worried. I'd been through a hurricane before.
In either 1971 or 1972, I don't remember exactly when it was, Hurricane David (I think it was David), a mild hurricane with winds of maybe 80 mph, went through Delaware, with its eye passing right over Dover AFB, where I was stationed. I can't find a Wikipedia reference, probably because a more severe hurricane had the same name in 1978. I stood at the barrack's upstairs door's window watching the storm. And what a storm it was! Junk flying through the air, rain going sideways, young trees bending sideways and old trees breaking. It was a sight! I'd never seen a storm like it before.
Then, like someone had flipped a switch, the rain and the wind stopped suddenly and the sun came out, with a gentle breeze blowing. I stepped out on the upstairs porch and lit a cigarette. It was a beautiful day for maybe twenty minutes or so. Then what looked like a gray wall came toward me from the east, and as suddenly as the storm had stopped it started again, with the wind blowing the opposite direction.
As I stood and watched the storm, I amazedly watched a car inching through the screaming wind and streaming water, stopping in front of the barracks. Two guys got out, fought their way through the wind and up the wooden stairs. They opened the door and it disappeared, along with most of the porch's railing.
By the time the hurricane was over there was an inch of water in the barracks upstairs. They later condemned it and a few other buildings that had been badly damaged.
So on March 12, 2006 I wasn't the least bit scared. Marilyn was terrified.
She'd invited me over for dinner that night, again. I'd been eating dinner at her house a lot, and had been spending quite a bit of time with her after she'd broken up with Tom and I'd taken her to Gallager's, about the most expensive (and worth every penny) restaurant in Springfield.
It stormed violently all evening, with almost continuous thunder. If you'd been outside with a waterproof book you could have read it by the lightning flashes. Then a weather alert came on her television, with the weatherman saying a tornado had been spotted and to take shelter immediately as the tornado sirens screamed. The old sirens were loud; if they went off, you knew it. We went to her basement. Then the power went out and the sirens stopped.
Patty hadn't yet moved to Cincinnati, but Paul had asked me if he could marry her. I'll tell you, I was greatly impressed by the gesture. Paul's a really good kid and I couldn't think of anyone else I'd rather have marrying my daughter. They were at Target shopping, and left to go to his apartment.
The tornado hit Target two minutes after they left, tearing its roof off and terrifying everyone in the store. Unaware, they calmly drove home in the storm with the tornado right on their heels. It hit moments after they got inside. It left both their cars and the apartment building alone.
Steve, the handyman in the apartment I lived in, lived upstairs from me and was watching the storm from his balcony, and saw the tornado. He banged on everyone's door and got them downstairs in the big janitor's closet in the basement, outside my apartment door. He was worried about me, as I didn't answer when he banged on mine. The tornado hit the neighborhood.
I was in Marilyn's dark basement, with the only light coming from her flashlight and a battery powered television. She was hanging on to me for dear life, terrified. She'd been through a tornado before. I wasn't a bit scared. I'd been through a hurricane before!
Marilyn lived on fourth street about four houses down from the railroad track. There's a train? she asked, amazedly. Trains run in this kind of weather?
No, they don't, I said.
Oh SHIT! she screamed, terrified. It's a tornado!
Then we heard a jet engine sitting on her roof. When you hear the train, there's a tornado coming. When you hear the jet, the tornado's on top of you.
The noise was deafening; thunder mixed with all sorts of unidentifiable sounds. She was hanging on to me so tightly I thought she'd break my ribs.
The storm subsided, the TV man called the all clear and we went back upstairs. There was a knock on the door as she was lighting candles; her neighbor. Are you all right? he asked, worried. Marilyn assured him we were safe, and we went outside in the dark.
It was pitch black, with no light at all except flashlights. Tree limbs and trash and debris were everywhere. Despite her protests, I drove home, worried about my daughter's cats. Both my daughters were as worried about me as I was of them, and both called me.
Trees and limbs blocked almost every street, but I somehow made it home. My car was unscathed, and it appeared that everything in the apartment, including the cats, was, too. People were milling around with flashlights, dumbfounded. The sound of fire, police, and ambulance sirens was everywhere. I used my phone as a flashlight and made my way downstairs to my apartment, and went to bed.
The sight the next morning was incredible. The big tree outside my west window looked like a weed someone had stomped on. The house trailer on the other side of the parking lot looked like a box of crackers someone had crushed in anger. Trash was everywhere, a sea of yellow and pink insulation. Corrugated steel and high voltage electrical transformers and other debris was in treetops. There were dead birds everywhere. Knowing all the streets were blocked with trees and limbs, I decided to walk in search of hot coffee.
Devastation was all around. If Osama Bin Laden had seen it he would have given up, knowing that nothing any terrorists could do could come anywhere near the damage the tornadoes (it turned out there were two of them) had done. Roofs were missing everywhere. One roof I saw was impaled by another roof. A cinder block wall had five inch long wooden splinters stuck into the concrete. Giant trees were uprooted. Utility poles were snapped off in the middle, with the tops hanging by the wires, where the wires were still standing. Most weren't. Wires and transformers laid in yards and streets and everywhere. One commercial building had large, twisted girders showing.
The air was filled with the sound of sirens and chain saws.
Both Third Base and Doc's lounge, where I thought I might find coffee, were closed. The walk-in beer cooler at Third Base had been ripped from the building. I walked on, jaw hanging in disbelief at the destruction, thinking maybe JW's might have coffee. I walked by Marilyn's on the way, and she was outside, also in shock and disbelief. The destruction had spared her property, too, although none of her neighbors were as lucky.
Inside JW's people were drinking by candle light. The entire electrical infrastructure from Jerome, where Target and the Barrelhead had lost their roofs and almost every sign was gone, past JW's and on to the east side, would be out of power for the week it took to rebuild. They had no electricity so they had no coffee, so I walked on to George Rank's. Its east door was missing, its south door's awning was half down. They had been busy when the tornado struck, but luckily had a basement to take cover in.
No power, they said. You can have a beer.
Thanks, I replied, But I'm looking for coffee.
The Track Shack had no power either. Neither did McDonald's. I finally found a lit sign at the Sunrise Cafe, where I finally got coffee before trudging back through the destruction to my apartment. I hadn't been scared when the tornado had hit, but I should have been!
People with only landline phones were without com-munication for days. There was no cable, no internet. My cell phone worked through it all, even though I couldn't call long distance.
So Sunday morning here I was at Alan's and the new sirens that I can't even hear at my house went off. It was sprinkling, and there was a wall of gray to the west. We drove down the alley to my house, and I didn't even bother putting my seat belt on. Charlie was laying on the couch watching TV. Get in the basement! I ordered.
Don't tell me what to do!
Suit yourself, dumbass, I said, and herded the cats downstairs after Allen. They didn't want to go. Ever tried to herd cats? Especially to where they don't want to be?
Charlie came flying down the stairs. Holy shit! she exclaimed. It's raining buckets! The wind howled and thunder roared and lightning flashed for maybe a minute, then it was over. We went upstairs, and the sun was shining on the flooded street. The tornado had touched down somewhere where there were no people and everything was spared. I took Alan home and drank a beer with him.
Later that afternoon Tami called, wanting a ride to the grocery store. I got to her boyfriend's to pick her up, and she handed me something wrapped in kleenex. Here , she said. I stole some of that asshole Jessie's pot for you.
Mar 10, 2009


Seven of Nine, or Dors Venabili?
Sickness, pain, and death. And Star Trek

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