Thursday, January 19, 2006

Let An Umbrella Be Your Smile


The carnage could be seen the length of the desolate street before me. The misshapen carcasses of giant arachnid-like creatures lay strewn about. Gusting upwards of seventy miles per hour, howling winds made discernible their death throes.

One of the smaller bodies was suddenly airborne, puppeted by the unseen strings of the gale. Cast as if on wings, there was debris, the remnants of the civilization that had laid the street upon which I strode.
Those responsible for the lifeless town, if they themselves were yet alive, were conspicuously absent. The other-worldly specter of silence that befell my ears was violated only by the onrush of wind.

An impenetrable veil of rain began to cascade upon the scene. Driven by the wind, it moved in visible sheets obscuring even those objects close at hand. In almost onanistic motions, the curtains of rain danced first left and then to the right as the winds shifted in direction and force.

Drenched, but finally in the shelter of the cab of my truck, I reveled at the heat which I had set on high. Visibility beyond my windshield nil, I could see only the perpetual changing patterns of water as the rain splattered and adhered to the law of gravity, relentlessly seeking a lower elevation. It was a full ten minutes before the rain would abate.

If the meteorologists were correct, there would be three or more similar assaults of wind and rain before the storm would subside completely, slowly blown out to sea. The street was still deserted, but the panorama before me had been altered. Standing water had pooled into ponds and lakes, exceeding the ability of the drains to handle the torrential load. I would have to avoid low-lying areas as I pulled away from the curb.

Thinking it safe to venture out, the denizens of the city began to emerge from their homes. One woman was struggling to walk into a headwind. Her head down, only three feet of the sidewalk visible at once to her, she became a hapless victim of a miniature tsunami. Nearly eight feet high, the wall of water was the result of large SUV plowing too fast through one of the newly formed lakes. The poor soul, her hair and clothing dripping wet, espoused a stream of obscenities that the offending driver would never hear. I know not of her fate beyond that moment, but I can only assume she had returned to her home to change into dry clothing.

I passed yet another woman not far down the street. She was standing still, looking down at the lifeless form clutched in her hand. She let it fall to the sidewalk, lamenting, I think not, its fate. It joined the ranks of the many carcasses abandoned on the sidewalks and streets about town. One couldn't help but wonder if these creatures might be on the list of endangered species.

Closer inspection was not required. The broken bodies were not those of large arachnids. Their tattered skin and broken limbs would feed no scavengers. There would be no wakes before they would be relocated to their final resting places. There would be no funerals. There would be no dirges.

Hang your head and say a few words. Pray for shelter, but shed not tears for the tragic passing of your umbrella.

No.507

2 comments:

Peter said...

Well built up susoense Mike, a last line solution to my unvoiced question, "what the hell is he drinking?"

OldHorsetailSnake said...

This raises a good point. What is the life expectancy of an umbrella? Three months? Three days?

Do the good die young?