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Monday, February 10, 2014

There But For the Grace of God Goes the Weather Reporter, short story by @johnjhartnett


Check out this book by the same author.
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Announcer:  NNN’s Never Ending News Network continues with its award winning, trademark pending, never ending coverage of Hurricane Edna.
Anchorwoman Lindsay Brockport:  Welcome back to NNN.  Hurricane Edna continues to batter the Florida Keys with 165 mile per hour winds.  More than 16 inches of rain has fallen in the past hour and waves have been measured as high as 75 feet.   
Thankfully, all islands in the Keys have been evacuated, with the exception of several disaster relief teams who are stationed in specially constructed steel bunkers designed to withstand even the most severe hurricane conditions.   
This is truly a storm for the record books and if you were unfortunate enough to still be on one of the Florida Keys, a bunker 35 feet underground is the only place you’d have a chance.  Bill Tremaine, from sister station KKW in Miami is standing by in Key Largo.

Bill Tremain:  Good afternoon, Lindsay.  I’m standing just a hundred yards outside of the disaster relief bunker in Key Largo.  A moment ago I was standing five yards outside the disaster relief bunker but as anyone who has seen, read or heard anything about hurricanes knows — this is what happens when you venture out into 165 mile and hour winds — you get tossed around like a beach ball at a Jimmy Buffet concert.   
The rain has really started to pick up as have surf conditions and if I can ask my cameraman Tom to zoom out a bit here, you can see that flooding has started to become a factor as the water is now an inch or two above my  …waist.   (Suddenly desperate, he jams his hand into his pocket and retrieves a rectangular object that when turned over releases a ten second stream of water.)   There goes a $499 Iphone.
Lindsay:  Dire conditions indeed, Bill.  Was that a car and what appeared to be the roofs of several houses flying overhead?
Bill:   Yes it was and to reiterate for those of you who have never seen, read or heard anything about hurricanes, this is typical hurricane behavior.   Torrential rains cause flooding, and gale force winds cause very heavy objects to become briefly airborne until they reestablish themselves in places where they are generally not wanted or (nervously scanning the sky) in some unfortunate situations – not expected.  
In fact, Lindsay, experts strongly recommend against being outside in a hurricane.  People get hurt in them, say people like Tom and me here.
Lindsay:   How have you managed to remain stationary while much heavier objects like trailers and cows soar just inches over your head?
Bill:   Sigrid Olsen, my producer, risked her own safety and what is certain to be the irreversible shrinking of her pants suit to lash my legs to this palm tree with a pair of bungee cords.  That’s Sigrid behind me about to reenter the bunker.   (With her back turned, she waves halfheartedly and quickly disappears behind the steel door.)  God bless her.
Lindsay:  What can you tell us about the residents of Key Largo?
Bill:  Judging by the fact that they’re gone, I’d say they possess higher than average intelligence.  It’s unlikely you’d find a reporter in the bunch.  You may have noticed while we were talking that the rain is now starting to come in horizontally which as you know is quite different than vertical rain.
Lindsay:  Yes, and for the sake of our viewers who are wondering about the distinction, vertical rain falls upon the region of the skull where hair is most commonly found while horizontal rain falls upon one’s face, usually hitting the nose first before landing upon the other areas.  
Vertical rain is more dangerous of course, particularly for those who wear glasses to see objects more clearly or for those who are in the habit of eating with their mouths open.  Bill, what should people do if exposed to horizontal rain?
Bill:  Experts recommend wiping your glasses off from time to time with a terry cloth towel or soft cotton t-shirt to avoid scratching the lenses.  For people who eat or sleep with their mouths open, it’s best to stay indoors until precipitation forecasts drop to below fifteen percent.  I’m noticing now that the water has risen up to my chin, Lindsay.  Tom and I had better start making our way to higher ground.
Lindsay:  Good idea, it is starting to look a little treacherous out there.  Final thoughts before we wrap up?
Bill:  While we were talking I was thinking about the lyrics to that Petula Clark song, “Don’t sleep in the subway darling.  Don’t stand in the pouring rain.”
Lindsay:  And…?
Bill:  Do you think she was dating a reporter when she wrote that?

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