Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Abundance (06/08/06)
By Linda Germain
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Life is too much; too much everything. The standard of living is too grand, the toys and gadgets too plentiful, the smorgasbord of beliefs too numerous.
I need help, but help is the only thing not in abundance in this stinking world. Weariness wraps itself around me like a shroud.
Dark clouds gather as I check into a cheap motel that smells of disinfectant and ancient mold. An old black and white television has been left on. I flop on the lumpy mattress, needing to sleep.
There is a lot of commotion on the screen. I hear the word hurricane. Several official looking men with bullhorns are commanding people to leave.
All at once I want to feel something besides despair and resignation. I head for the beach to get a better view of what a promised “act of God” looks like.
I am alone, except for one network news truck and two young men swathed in yellow slickers, trying to stay upright.
I don’t understand why the lives of these reporters are jeopardized to give the world an up-close and dangerous front row seat to disaster. It is more evidence of destructive abundance. Enough is never enough. It disgusts me.
I stomp over to the one who has just finished his report and holler as loud as I can, “Hey, this is not a safe place for you.”
He is stunned to hear a voice that sounds something like his mother’s yelling at him in the midst of this raging storm.
“Lady! What are you doing out here? You were supposed to evacuate.”
“And you?” I push.
“I have a job to do.” He sounds angry and tired.
He heads for the big truck, with me right behind him like a shadow. I scream over the pounding rain and loud thunder.
“Why, Why, Why?”
He whirls around and pulls me into the news vehicle. The camera fellow starts the engine. We seem to fly across the sand in search of higher ground.
“Are you crazy, Lady?”
We pull into the parking garage of a tall building that supposedly has been built to withstand hurricanes. I guess we will see.
They are Antonio and Pete. They call me Momma. I think it is so they can say “Yo,” when addressing me.
Antonio keeps the camera focused out the window. I hear him wail, “Oh No!” He adds some salty epitaphs that I ignore.
There is a child and a big dog on a balcony across the street. I dash out before either man can stop me. At the fire escape door I shove hard, then kick and swim across the flooded street to the child and animal.
After negotiating the railing and falling on top of the dog, I pull them both inside a sweltering room. The boy tells me he doesn’t know where his grandfather went.
“What is your name, dear?”
He stops crying, seemingly aware that I am his lifeline, and answers very clearly. “I am Jonathon and this is Duke.”
I fall to my knees and wrap my mother arms around him. ”After the storm is over someone will find your Grandpa.”
The only way out is back over the rail. By some miracle, the child has a lifejacket with him. The dog would have to figure out his own way.
I hold on to the boy as we jump in the cold water and head for our oasis. It is getting dark but Pete is holding a huge flashlight as he clings to the fire escape.
Duke makes it before we do and begins the doggie shake to get dry. Pete and Antonio reach down to pull us out of the nasty, just-made river.
Jonathon and Duke curl up on either side of me in our makeshift haven. The night passes, the violence stops. Rescue boats appear. The Red Cross takes my little buddy and dog friend. I promise to see them again.
The young men have news to break and pictures to take. It is their job. There will be a big mess to clean up. I decide to stay and help.
The storm is over. An incredible rainbow appears. Maybe I have more left to give than I thought --a whole lot more.
I ask to borrow a phone.
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