Ad Hoc Hurricane Correspondent
The big one shows up on blue screen like an end-boss in some sixty-four bit adventure. It’s green and hulking on the map, dwarfing cities standing in for heroes. Weatherman seems like he’s trying to Dan Rather us. Field correspondents in raingear say the name enough times, with enough doom graphics, enough rain sheeting sideways, in enough abandoned hotel parking lots, that no one wants to name a baby after it.
I can correspond as well as anyone. I grab Derek, my phone, my charger.
“Are you kidding me?” Derek says.
I say “no.” I say “Tumblr.” I say “fifteen minutes of” and “public’s right to know.”
In the carport we pile in, second owners of the last decade’s most popular midsize something something. The flow of plebs fleeing the castle, directed by goombahs, driving back to World 1-1, makes us snort. A goombah in raingear tries to funnel us onto the northbound turnpike at the complex gate, but we head south into the eye, across asphalt under so much water our tires make crests and troughs.
I check the internet chatter and drive to the boss-fight. Boss is huge, eats town, gulps levees, picks up cows, devours. We drive the midsize in diminishing circles; narrow our circumference. The sky stills. We pass cars leveled into part of the earth once more. I try for the best angle. Derek steers. The recorded noise of a shutter sounds each time I tap on the bright, flat screen. Unfiltered, the thing nobody wants to name a baby after looks naked and fake, like sexing someone in fluorescent, overhead light. Would mood lighting kill it? Would anything?
I say “drive around again” and Derek starts to weep; to RomCom an ending that’s pure handheld vérité. I finally get the shot with a daguerreotype patina and upload it to my Tumblr—something that says those were such times when brave men struggled, when an enemy arose and we, as a people, heeded the call, and said to adversity, in the face of danger, these are the days when something something, something something something something.
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