Serve me right to suffer

I woke to the sound of Ellie and Vivian pounding on my door. The walls were shaking. Outside, a deep and constant roar.

Oh god. This is why I hate mornings.

Be cool.

“Trevor!” they shouted.

Being the man of the house, as it were, I feel paternal, protective of my roommates. Old-fashioned as it sounds, I’m honor bound to meet any apartment-wide crises head on, with poise and courage.

I pull on my jeans and peer out the window as the girls open the door.

“Trevor did you look outside?!”

“We’re all seriously going to die holy fuck!” I calmly shrieked.

“Can you believe this storm.” Ellie said. “It’s shaking the whole building!”

I valiantly crawled back into bed and put my head under a pillow.

“Let’s go look out the front.”

“Mufflemufflemuffle.”

“I can’t hear you with that pillow over your face Trevor.”

“I SAID DON’T FUCKING LEAVE I can’t die alone. Seriously stay here. Or if you do leave bring me some beers when you come back. I especially can’t die sober.”

“Let’s go up on the roof.”

“You girls are insane. You can’t go on the god damn roof to watch the apocalypse.”

Two feet of standing water on Polk street. 180 mph winds. Ball lightning, hail shaped like daggers. Probably tsunamis and locusts. Serious Old Testament-style weather, shit that hasn’t been seen since the last ice age. I had the radio on for a while, but it depressed me. Scattered, staticky reports of bridge closures and rising death tolls. Six hundred thousand without electricity.

My homeboy called me and told me a schoolbus full of low-income fourth-graders from Hunter’s Point blew off the Golden Gate bridge while on a field trip.

“Nobody knows, man. Newsom and the CIA are covering that shit up. Forty dead minority kids, nobody wants that on a Chronicle front page during an election year. But I saw that shit. I SAW it.”

I believe it too. Hell, I saw a thirty foot tall god damn oak tree, uprooted, blowing end over end up Jackson. I saw hobos tying themselves to lampposts just to survive, then flapping around like little pee-stained windsocks as the gale got worse. Horrors, man. Horrors.

It lasted two and a half days.

———–

I didn’t know what to do but wait it out. Terrified and freezing, the ceaseless winds battering the house from all sides, I hunkered down in my room. By 4 PM I found myself in a little fort made out of furniture, reading Livy’s “Early History of Rome” by candlelight and listening to Stranglehold by Ted Nugent, over and over. I guess that’s all us atheists can do in times of dire need. The rest of you pray, or contemplate the hereafter. We listen to The Nuge.

That night Ellie and I drank a whole bottle of Japanese whiskey Jolene had stolen from a Trader Joe’s the year before and watched the entire Planet Earth Special Edition DVD set. Cover to cover.

“I think I’m drunk Trevor. Oh my god look at all those birds. Absamazing. That’s more birds than I thought were on… like… the whole earth. Put together. Right there.”

“I KNOW RIGHT! Fuck. And then that crocodile just shredded that wildebeest. God, so gnargnar. Like a weedwhacker versus a kleenex box. Let’s have another drink. Fucking nature, man. Fucking Africa. So crazy.”

————

I went outside today, just to see the state of things. To reconnoiter. I walked over to the Fillmore. Not many people out, just a few brave souls, stumbling around, wide-eyed. Most of them smiling, surprised to be alive.

The City is thrashed. You’d think a storm like that would be cleansing, purifying, but no. Litter, junk that’s been wedged in every tiny orifice of the street was all blown back out into the open. Filthy, sopping wads of newspaper line the sidewalk like papier-mache dogturds. Pepsi cans with pull tabs, at least ten years older than I am, are jammed into the cable car tracks. Broken branches and mangled street signs everywhere. An overturned Buick at Leavenworth and Broadway. What a nightmare.

At least Tahoe got something like forty seven feet of fresh powder, so all the yuppie snowboarder toolbags will be out of town this weekend.

Viva los silver linings.

-T.

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