Dr. Greg Ghostell was a piece of work. he was the station happy-go-lucky, always with a winning smile, a trimmed head of luxurious grey hair, neat belt, pressed slacks, and shined shoes. he looked like a short professor except for the sweater. his shirts were more corduroy than his pants. all the women and men looked up to Ghostell as he was the only one at the station with a PhD. they were still confused as to how exactly one gets a doctorate in meteorology.
Goody Paul: hey have you seen Dr. Greg Ghostell?
Dammi shakes her head.
Dammi: nidontknow. he's probably dead.
Goody: dammit dammi.
Dammi: just tellin' it like it is. everyone's thinking it. in this storm.
Greg pops into the studio, does a handstand, and high-fives the crew.
Dammi: blessed be i'm a witch for sure!
Greg talks without breaking his smile.
Greg: that's Doctor to you. address me as Doctor. i sliced my ass in four to get that degree. i will reap the benefits till i'm dead.
Goody: Doctor. that's weird. it's like you're Doctor Who or something. Doctor, don't take this the wrong way, but you're the whitest person i know.
Greg: but i'm hip, right? i'm cool. i like wheat bread. i can get down.
Dammi: hey Greg we don't know much about your private life.
Greg: i just came back from a spelling bee.
Goody: you got power?
Greg: it magically goes in and out. to keep up morale, i'm stationed over at the abandoned high-school theatre stage. great place. bright and happy and sunny. we use the outside streetlamps for ambiance. and there are no more audience seats so that whole grid is our decor, a hollowed-out town square. i challenge local third-graders to educate themselves to get ahead. i teach them about weather and they teach me about life.
Dammi: whose kids are up that late on a not-school night?
Greg: kids who have strippers for parents. i beat those tyke tards to a pulp. with my words i mean. i win, i always win the bee. it doesn't behoove them to go easy on them. ha ha ha. C-U-M-U-L-O-N-I-M-B-U-S, gets them every time.
Goody: yeah i've been wanting to ask you about that. not to pry or anything, just wondering. how exactly do you become a Professor of Weather? i mean it's just clouds in the sky for fuck sake.
Greg: clouds and invisible shit. it's the invisible shit that got me paid. i did my dissertation on what MIGHT happen in the future of the world given recent trade winds and ridiculous earthquakes and terrifying tsunamis and how our rain forests are just rain that tastes like peanut-butter now and our oceans are turning to acid and the pattern of El Nino now that La Nina smacked El Nino upside the head.
Goody: hey i'm down for more studying if it means more money. i don't mind working. i'll work hard as long as i know there's an actual pot of gold at the end of the unsurfaced road for a man like me.
Dammi: why don't you wear a sweater?
Greg: i wore a sweater when i delivered my dissertation. i was so nervous in front of that hollowed-out cavernous auditorium with just my mom listening to me in the front row. i sweated buckets. stained the Charlie Brown zigzag pattern into my one chest hair. i was done with sweaters after that. never wore one again, brings up troubling memories. that spotlight was hot on me. she could see my pee on my non-corduroy pants. i swear i talked rambling bullshit on there for like ten hours without lunch. the mic didn't work so i had to shout everything. my mom was my professor.
Goody: i'm glad to be friends with both you and Mike. you two are like two sides of an arcade coin.
Greg: i try to be more manly everyday i mean yeah he's a cool dude. i know more science than him but i learned it from books and thinking about stuff and he knows science by getting out there in the elements and doing stuff. where is he?
Goody: dunno but i'm getting antsy.
Greg: the point is whether it's him or me it's science. whosever the reading is handed to the data is built upon a solid foundation of real scientific fact which can never be refuted.
the phone buzzes.
Goody: got it. hello? police? what? yes i did an interview with Roger. Federer, not Stone. what was that? Kvitova claims i was the robber who attacked her? dammit, Roger. it wasn't me! i'm not just a black man with a mustache! i'm a meteorologist!
Dammi: sorry, that was for the next one. what up, sugarpuff?
Goody: the heat is coming here. they'll be upon us immediately.
Dammi: we need to warm up, i'm freezing.
Goody: this leaves us no time. perfect for a fuck. i need to release some energy and relief myself.
Dammi: i don't feel you, fool.
Goody: i know. that's why i'm calling in reinforcements.
Mike Manley travels a long lonely solitary road. the rain pelts him at every turn making the road in front of him hard to see. he knows he is guided by his heart as he tracks towards his lover Ari's house in the direct line of fire. he still hears The Zard speak through the merciless bands of hurricane whips, The Zard is that massive.
The Zard: i like your tv. getting into Dragon Ball Super. the Sword of Saad is my wand. literally. like it gives me all the cable channels i didn't have before. i have some major marathon catching-up to do.
Mike: don't binge too much, you're skinny enough as it is.
The Zard: but you know i still and will always love your classics.
Mike reaches the severe drop where the highway just ends. there's a sign by the side of the road:
YOU ARE NOW ENTERING BUMP COUNTRY. WILL BE COMPLETED WHEN WE GET THE FEDERAL FUNDS
beyond is an oasis of pools infested with she-gators. Mike takes one last look at the chimney of his discontent so close and yet so far just beyond the ridge and sighs hard into the strong wind. he turns around and heads for...........he knows not where. he tosses his lit cigarette into the pool and the gators clamor the water to catch it in their jaws hungry for thickness. tar is like jelly to them.
what Mike doesn't see as he avoids another painful look is the trajectory of the Sword from whence the hurricane springs forth. it has moved slightly to the right to match the path of the cigarette.
Goody: okay let's everyone take off your clothes and have an orgy.
Dammi: i don't know you anymore.
Goody: hurry. we have no time.
Dammi: you look tired.
Goody: i am, woman. i am so tired. so tired of living like this. so tired of living this way.
Dammi: splash some water on your face.
Goody: i've already done that ten times today. after i showered.
Dammi: what are you doing?
Goody: i always have to be doing something with my tastebuds. i take a spoon nip of this powder, and a dabbing napkin cos i'm cultured, cos i always need some sweet in my life.
Greg: do you mind if i get naked with you guys? i promise i won't masturbate. i'll use my fidget gadget here, the one sold by the National Autism Alliance.
Mike: *knock knock*
Goody: *brohug* look what the cat drug in! what up, buddy?
Mike: *brohug* i'm not what was dragged in, i'm the cat! hey buddy, got something for you. reach into my satchel.
Goody: that's what she said. oooh, new canisters of powder!
Mike: yeah. Starbucks was out. had an early breakfast at G R Burgers. had early lunch at Bistro 211. had second breakfast at that Hobbit place where they finally had them stacked.
Goody: Bistro 211, that place with the hot-as-fuck blonde owneress?
Dammi: i'm standing right here. just kidding, i'm not.
Mike: yeah. no sale.
Goody: yeah i heard they closed permanently tonight. or this morning.
Mike: oh yeah, that, too. pink, your color.
Goody: yeah i love pink lemonade.
Mike: no it's strawberry. or light fruit punch or something.
Goody: okay. get to it. i'll video-tape it with your phone.
Mike: look man, about the phone. i hope you don't hold that against me.
Goody: no i won't release it. this isn't a ransom. friends aren't threatening. this is for me. my own private use. it's my lesson. take off your clothes, Mike, and have sex with my wife.
Mike: are you sure about this? i could use the break.
Dammi: go for it, big stuff. this is my dream, too.
Dammi plunges her butt into Mike's erect rod, up and down, up and down, up and down. the rhythm puts Greg to sleep but his fingers still fidget with the cube. Goody stands by the side of the shower taping and trying not to get his asssack wet on the damp tile floor.
the dew builds up onto the showerhead like a vine until it crystallizes with the arrant human and wiccan must in the air into a dank damp muggy wettish block of shame and sweat.
Goody: great stuff, you guys. that's it, honey, screw my best friend. that's it, Mike, stand there like a long log and take it from my wife. great footage. i should have been a cameraman.
Mike: you missed your calling. you're teaching me, too, buddy.
Dammi: it's been ten minutes. are you about to cum?
Mike: urm, not really.
Dammi: you know Goody, you can learn a thing or two from Manley here. his penis is way bigger than yours, which is surprising.
Goody: that's what i said.
Dammi: are you on the cum cusp?
thirty minutes later. still pounding up and down.
Dammi: any reaction to me as a person or a great beauty or a powerful woman?
Mike: it's not you, it's me? i've been under a lot of stress. and i love someone else.
Goody: that's working on you?
Dammi: shouldn't the cops be here by now, honey?
Goody: oh i'm honey now? i suppose. traffic.
Mike: the road's closed. by which i mean there are no roads. so much for voting for change. the publicae must always be wary of the orator. we must believe in something higher.
Goody: i love Publix.
the group gathers round for a post-coitus powwow, circling the drain.
Mike: this is nice, all of us sitting down and talking after. i'm learning to do that more. or squatting as the case may be for me. i never cummed, it's more that my hips were getting tired.
Dammi: call me.
Goody: you'd be even more tired than you are already. smoke 'em if ya got 'em.
Mike: we don't got 'em. my sack can only be so full.
the phone buzzes and wakes up Greg.
Greg: hello? how does this work? slide the bar here? push this button? oh shit i erased the entire spelling bee! hello? honey? yes, i'll be there. it's been fun, gentlemen, but i need to skedaddle to Seattle.
Goody: about that personal life...
Greg: my girlfriend Maria.
Mike: MARIA FROM STARBUCKS!!? how'd you swing her? she gave up that dude she was seeing for forever who was a future doctor for YOU?
Greg: weather is exciting.
Mike: IN ONE DAY? hey you look like someone. let me take out my journalist's notebook from my bag. i was reading the old histories of this place. here, page 3. the papers back then were only too eager to publish my mother's love letters you know. is that you? are you a time traveler?
Greg: no. spitting image i know. that's my relative. your mom must have been into ol' intelligent guys.
Mike: she was quite smitten with smarts. all women are into older men.
Greg: yeah but that's my great great great great great-grandfather. bye. oh hello. i'll just let you in.
the police don't have to storm down the shower door.
cops: is there a Mr. Goodbar here?
Mike: i got Petra on speed-dial.
Goody: i surrender. don't make me assume the position, i'm naked.
the cops handcuff Goody Paul.
Goody: this is bullshit, man. black man white woman, will we ever get beyond this?
Dammi: witch woman.
cops: oh shit, he has a phone! is there a camera on that thing?! nevermind, let's get the hell outta here!
cops: we'll let you off with a warning if you teach us the overhead smash. we want to finally beat vice in the tournament.
Goody: man get outta here with that mess! i don't know anything about tennis. that's not a man's game.
cops: who said anything about tennis?
at the house the cauliflower linens are soaked which means there are levels to this shit. that drawer is three drawers up. the shit from outside is infecting the swirl inside, caking the carpets in grime. the paintings remain unharmed and blindingly uninjured cos they were painted with waterproof watercolors. the family pretends to enjoy them keeping their heads above water.
sons: mommy this game is boring! we shouldn't know about art till later!
husband: certain kinds of art yes. your mother isn't here. lets hold hands so we don't slip off and get caught up in the current.
Ari is in the bathroom by herself with the door locked, though it's microbiologically rusting open. the entire bottom section of their home is in the center of a whirlpool of destruction. Ari had filled her bathtub full and dunked her scarred naked body into the soothing watery salve.
Ari: if i drown myself now no one would be the wiser. Deus Vult.
the storm water squeezed through the slats in the bathroom door and filled half the room with its excess. the bathwater joined with the one tide and Ari's laughing fits were stifled by tiny bubbles.
her body goes limp.
sons: dad, is mom having a rough time?
husband: no, that's a luxury only reserved for you. she just needs some alone time. she'll be alright you'll see. don't worry. let's do our prayers like a normal night. let us pray. i'm not as good as mommy but god don't mind, he hears all prayers as they are. let's see, which psalm was it? those numbers are confusing. grant us the good goods. oh God, if it's too late for a pure heart, we must at least survive on a steadfast spirit.
Greg is being driven on a heavy truck with a green tarp over the bed stung by stingy burny rope.
air force: how does it feel, Dr. Ghostell?
Greg: this is my first real mission. i'm gonna do what all those stormchasers do. we'll get to the bottom of this storm. i was on the wrong side all those years reporting what they were reporting from a cool studio. i want to be a real man. a real man of science!
air force: the roads are muddy tonight but our tires are muddier.
Greg: yeah how are you doing this? i thought all the roads were closed.
air force: that's what we told the media. come on, man, we're the armed forces, we go where we want and do what we want when we want and nail who we want with no reason at a time of the president's choosing.
Greg: that's all i want out of life. no restrictions. no rules. i want to get out of the classroom. and that stupid lab segment the channel makes me do where i have to wear lightsocketed hair and a stuffy pocket-protector lab coat and explain drift with cool computer graphics and no teleprompter at my disposal. these are all facts. these are all the facts. i've gone over them in my head countless times to make sure they're right. i obsessed over these bullets, point by point.
they arrive at the secret base under cover of hurricane.
Greg: weather reconnaissance. on the 8s.
air force: that's recon, nerd.
Greg: is it a Cessna? that's what i researched on wikipedia.
air force: ready to have your frontal lobe fubarred, poindexter?
Greg: ready for my pencil to be snapped! ready for my new vagina!
air force: that's the esprit! pull down the tarp.
Greg: i'm not strong enough to accomplish that task, sir.
air force: fuck my life. i don't want to go to war, i just want to fly planes for weathermen.
the air force pulls over the large green tarp. the medium-sized object being covered is a pink stealth bomber.
husband: and now the sacramental ritual of food and drink.
sons: and dessert.
husband: right. we got the sock-it-to-me pudding ring. which looks like a funky communion host. hot cross buns emphasis on hot.
sons: or cross. we're bored.
husband: i've prepared some cremini mushrooms from my garden in a light butter glaze, all i could save from the flood and do with this pathetic paltry stove. and some Guarana Jesus Soda.
the husband cracks the pop can open, splashes the inside of his adam's apple, and licks the drops off his lips many times like cats do with their mouths.
husband: we will always be two peas milk in a pod. wait where's your sister? haven't seen her in ages.
sons: that's sweet that you think of us as two peas. that's nice. we neither, she left a long time ago.
husband: SHE'S OUT?!! SHE'S MISSING!!? SHE GOT CARRIED AWAY BY THE DELUGE!!?
sons: dad can we watch Sesame Street?
husband: fine. i'm trying to remain calm.
sons: but it's on HBO. but don't worry we can't see anything, it's still mostly snow.
husband: HOLD ON TO THE NAILS ON THE WALL!!! DON'T GET SWEPT UP IN FEAR!!! TAKE THOSE GODAWFUL BUTT-UGLY PAINTINGS OFF THEIR HOOKS!!!
the husband swims up the stairs to the adult bathroom. the house is half full of water.
he cuts the door in half with his axe.
Ari doesn't wake up, floating inside the moist vortex spilling out.
the phone rings.
the cats who were sleeping on the medicine cabinet yeowl like a cat out of hell and scramble their little feet as hard as they can carry them running out of there. scratching the wood. it's an unspoken competition to see who's the fastest to scram. the cats are side by side and trip each other up with their tangled paws. a clear path forms and one jumps in a split-second before the other. they swim like Plague rats on the Thames. none of this motion and commotion and underwater current affects the body of Ari.
husband: OUR LITTLE GIRL IS GONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Ari opens her eyes.