The Lesser Sound and Fury

by rsbakker

So a storm blew through last Tuesday night, a real storm, the kind we haven’t seen in a couple of years at least. I was just finishing up a disastrous night of NHL 13 (because NHL 14 is a rip off) on PS3 (because my PS4 is a paperweight) with my buds out back in the garage. Frank fled. Ken strolled. ‘Good night, Motherfucker.’ ‘Goodnight.’ The sky was alive, strobes glimpsed through the Dark Lord’s laundry, thunder rattling the teeth of the world, booming across houses lined up like molars. I sat on the front porch to watch, squinting more for the booze than for the wind. There had been talk of tornados, but I wasn’t buying it, having lived in Tennessee. No, just a storm. We just don’t get the parking lot heat they need to germinate, let alone to feed. The air lacked the required energy.

The rain fell like gravel. Straight down. Euclidean rain, I thought.

But there was nothing linear about the lightning. The first strike ripped fabric too fundamental to be seen. The second had me out of my stupor as much as out of my seat, blinking for the instantaneous execution of night and shadow. Everything revealed God’s way: too quick to be grasped by eyes so small as these.

I stood, another animal floating in solution. I laughed the laugh of monkeys too stupid to cower. I thought of ancient fools.

The rain fell like gravel, massing across all the terrestrial surfaces, hard enough to shatter into sand, hanging like dust across ankles in summer fields. Then it faded, trailed into silence with analogue perfection, and I found myself standing in a glazed nocturnal world, everything turgid… shivering for the high-altitude chill.

I locked up the house, crawled into bed. I lay in bed listening to the passage of thunder… the far side of some cataclysmic charge. I watched white splash across the skylights.

And then came the blitz.

BOOM!

Something—an artillery shell pilfered from some World War I magazine from the sounds of it—exploded just a few blocks over. The house shook everyone awake.

BOOM!

Closer than the last—even nature believes in the strategic value of carpet bombing.

We huddled together, our small family of three, grinning for terror and wonder. I spoke brave words I can no longer remember.

BOOM!

Loud enough to crack wood, to swear in front of little children.

The next morning I awoke to the smell of a five year old farting. It seemed a miracle that everything was intact and sodden—no hoary old trees torn from their sockets, no branches hanging necks broken from powerlines. It seemed miraculous that a beast so vast could stomp through our neighbourhood with nary a casualty. Not a shrub. Not one drowned squirrel.

Only my fucking modem, and a week to remember what it was like, back before all this lesser sound and fury.

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