Monday, October 18, 2010

Riders on the Storm

The three men crammed into the Volvo, their rag-tag equipment scattered over their laps,across the seat, and on the floor. "Where to?" John said, his blonde hair slicked back and face still scruffy from the early morning wake-up call.

Mark slammed the passenger door, the only way it would close securely. His words slipped over his blue plaid clad shoulder, "Head North on 51. I think the Barneveld area is our best bet."

John put the car in gear and it lurched forward. Little care was taken in looking for pedestrians or other drivers. No one was likely to be out at 4 am on the small college campus. As the wheels screeched around the corner, Sam finally spoke up. "We've got about 20 minutes before the storm cell passes." His speech was garbled from lack of sleep and because of the pencil he had clenched between his teeth. It was the most logical place to put it. He needed one hand to hold the earphones tight to his head in order to monitor the weather reports and the other to finish zipping and buttoning the pants he'd thrown on only minutes before.

As they drove around the gravel farm roads, Mark gave directions and Sam grunted his approval or disapproval. To the occasional farmer checking the barn and root cellar doors, the boys looked like they were drunk the way the car swerved across the road and raced back and froth. Finally, Sam signaled they should stop near a deep drain ditch. They clambered out and rapidly set up their equipment. A camera on a reinforced tripod, a hand held video camera was ducktaped to Mark's hand, a wind speed indicator, etc. And then they sat on the hood, adrenaline and anticipation causing their hearts to pump and hands to shake.

Wildly, their eyes searched the horizon for any sign that it would be their lucky day. The dark skies laid low. Clouds seemed to drop and then rise again. Humidity lay thick in the air while cool breezes tried to push it aside. Sam suddenly nudged Mark and then slid off the hood and ran the three feet to the wind indicator to flip it on. John alert to the movement moved to the camera and twisted it to the three o'clock position just in time to see the clouds flow down as if a man-made waterfall had been constructed just over the tree line. He captured stills of the eerie green sky as Mark scanned the horizon showing how turbulent the skies had become.

Slowly the funnel cloud wagged its tail, pushing it lower and lower to the ground until it touched the ground. "Well men, I believe we have a killer on the road. Yeah! Our thesis is made."

*** Daily Writing Practice ***

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