Saturday, July 3, 2021


 Well it took me three times at the plate, but I finally got a hit!  Hope you enjoy my award winning story Running From Veronica.  



“Well, It’s Hurricane season again, and this time, I am not going to watch my life blow away!” Arthur was busy packing up what little he had left and what little he managed to replace from his loss the previous year. He was happy he had beaten the calendar and was getting away before the first hurricane of the season formed. Templeton, his Pit-Shepherd mix, looked up at him curiously as he spoke. Templeton had a very expressive face and a knack for appearing as if he understood everything Arthur said. Arthur only wished Templeton could speak back.

It was almost a full year ago when Hurricane Veronica blasted through. Arthur knew it would be a life changing storm as soon as he heard the name on the news. Veronica had been the name of his ex-wife who, six years earlier, had inexplicably, burned all his clothes, packed up her stuff and left without so much as a note of goodbye. A month after Veronica left, divorce papers arrived in the mail with a return envelope and a note requesting his signature. When Arthur sealed the envelope, he sealed a chapter of his life and never heard from Veronica again.

Well, he never heard from that Veronica again, the next Veronica to enter his life had been equally devastating. When Hurricane Veronica (the storm, not his ex) approached his small island home, Arthur knew it would be bad, like you know a root canal is going to be bad. Only imagine five root canals and no pain medicine before or after. He prepared the best he could, the best anyone could, having never experienced a Category Five hurricane, but, he soon realized his preparations were far less than adequate!

Arthur’s first clue he was ill prepared was when the dead limbs from the tree in his front yard broke free and slammed against his house, one coming right through his window. He managed to drag the mattress from his bed over to the window and prop it up with a table.

Templeton whined and watched from the corner so Arthur moved him to the bedroom closet for safekeeping. No sooner than hearing the click of the closet door, Arthur heard a great crash in his kitchen. Running in to investigate, he discovered a bathtub, who knows from where, had crashed through the back door into his kitchen, smashing into and destroying his refrigerator. His mind spinning as chaotically as the storm outside, Arthur randomly considered finding the owner of the bathtub and working out an arrangement, the stranger could use his bathtub and he could store things in the tub owner’s refrigerator.

His thoughts were interrupted when he heard the great crunching sound of wood being torn loose from his living room. Arthur ran through the kitchen doorway in time to watch as a large section of the roof over his living room was wrenched off and disappeared into the angry black clouds devilishly churning in the sky above his now compromised home. Wind and rain poured into his living room creating what looked like a mini vortex. The little tornado swirled around his living room and Arthur watched helplessly as his compact disc collection was sucked up and spun around the room. Over five hundred CDs swirled like dervishes breaking and being broken as they clacked and smacked against furniture and glass. As the CDs wreaked havoc and destruction, wind howled through the broken kitchen door, causing the kitchen cabinets to open and close slamming out of sync with one another creating a terrible cacophony to join the horrific roaring wind and sound of breaking plastic and glass in the living room.

Feeling as if he were in some crazed funhouse designed by maniacs and paralyzed by fear, Arthur crouched low in the doorway between the kitchen and the living room holding his ears thinking his life was about to end when he heard a great whoosh and watched his entire CD collection shoot up through his roof as the indoor tornado retracted back into the sky. Rain continued to pour in through his broken roof, but at least the wind began to subside and the maddening racket in the kitchen stopped as well.

Torrential rain continued to pour through the hole in his roof and Arthur realized his house was becoming flooded, very quickly. His red velvet couch, lifted by the flood water, floated across the room and slammed into the front door, splintering the door from its hinges. The flood water inside the house coursed through the broken doorway joining the floodwaters outside sweeping the couch out the door, down the driveway and into the street which flowed like a small river. The last Arthur ever saw his couch was when it floated to the end of the street and around the bend.

Then, just as if someone had thrown a switch, the wind and rain stopped, the sky was clear and the sun shined down into the demolished living room like a spotlight. Amid all the destruction and chaos, a very curious thing happened. Arthur watched, bewildered, as a single compact disc jewel case fell through the hole where his roof used to be and clattered to the wet floor. Retrieving the CD, he saw it was Crystavox, an 80’s hair metal band who only released two albums. Over five hundred CDs flew up into the sky and only one came back down. Arthur was happy to get it back.

Feeling shell shocked, Arthur walked, almost zombie-like, to his bedroom to check on Templeton. Opening the closet door, Arthur discovered his best friend had passed the time chewing up every pair of shoes he owned. Only two shoes remained uneaten, unfortunately the shoes were not a matched pair. The only consolation was one uneaten shoe was a left shoe and the other a right. Arthur was a pitiful sight when he arrived at the emergency shelter, disheveled, soaked and wearing one brown loafer and one white tennis shoe.

Now, about a year later, after having battled with the insurance company, overseeing repairs and putting the house on the market, Arthur and Templeton were packing up the last of his modest possessions ready to close on the sale of the house. The furniture and larger items had been boxed up and shipped to the mainland and Arthur stuffed the last of his clothes and personal items into a shoulder duffel, the last item to go in, the Crystavox CD.

Arthur made his way to the charter plane, looking forward to a new chapter of life when he heard his name. “Arthur, how are you?” He turned and saw Pastor Mike from the shelter he stayed at the previous year while his house affairs were sorted out. “Pastor Mike, how are you? Long time no see”, Arthur exclaimed as he reached out to shake the minister’s hand. Pastor Mike had been a source of great comfort and wisdom during the dark days after Veronica (the hurricane, not his ex). “Looks like we will be sharing the flight,” Pastor Mike said happily. Mike looked down at Arthur’s shoes and remarked, “nice to see you have matching shoes on today, I trust everything has worked out for you then?” Arthur recounted his plans for the future to which Pastor Mike said, “You know, Arthur, there will always be Veronica’s in your life, whether they be horrible ex-wives, devastating hurricanes or any variety of calamity that befalls us. The main thing is knowing you are not facing the Veronicas of life alone.” Arthur remembered how much he had enjoyed late night conversations with Pastor Mike at the shelter and actually looked forward to the two hour plane ride and the opportunity to share in the man’s wisdom at least one more time.

Pastor Mike said a little silent prayer asking for just the right words to share with Arthur, knowing this would probably be his last opportunity to share the Gospel with him. The men climbed the airstair together, with Templeton leading the way, catching up on the last eight months or so when they reached the top of the steps and both men stopped suddenly. Much to the bewilderment of the pilot standing just inside the plane greeting her few passengers, both men burst out laughing as they noticed the name tag on the pretty pilot’s uniform - it read “Veronica”.

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