Johnny America


Ad Hoc Hur­ri­cane Correspondent


The big one shows up on blue screen like an end-boss in some six­ty-four bit
ad­ven­ture. It’s green and hulk­ing on the map, dwarf­ing cities stand­ing in for
he­roes. Weath­er­man seems like he’s try­ing to Dan Rather us. Field
cor­re­spon­dents in raingear say the name enough times, with enough doom
graph­ics, enough rain sheet­ing side­ways, in enough aban­doned ho­tel parking
lots, that no one wants to name a ba­by af­ter it.

I can cor­re­spond as well as any­one. I grab Derek, my phone, my charger.

“Are you kid­ding me?” Derek says.

I say “no.” I say “Tum­blr.” I say “fif­teen minutes
of” and “pub­lic’s right to know.”

In the car­port we pile in, sec­ond own­ers of the last decade’s most popular
mid­size some­thing some­thing. The flow of plebs flee­ing the cas­tle, di­rect­ed by
goom­bahs, dri­ving back to World 1 – 1, makes us snort. A goom­bah in raingear
tries to fun­nel us on­to the north­bound turn­pike at the com­plex gate, but we
head south in­to the eye, across as­phalt un­der so much wa­ter our tires make
crests and troughs.

I check the in­ter­net chat­ter and dri­ve to the boss-fight. Boss is huge, eats
town, gulps lev­ees, picks up cows, de­vours. We dri­ve the mid­size in diminishing
cir­cles; nar­row our cir­cum­fer­ence. The sky stills. We pass cars lev­eled into
part of the earth once more. I try for the best an­gle. Derek steers. The
record­ed noise of a shut­ter sounds each time I tap on the bright, flat screen.
Un­fil­tered, the thing no­body wants to name a ba­by af­ter looks naked and fake,
like sex­ing some­one in flu­o­res­cent, over­head light. Would mood light­ing kill
it? Would anything?

I say “dri­ve around again” and Derek starts to weep; to Rom­Com an
end­ing that’s pure hand­held vérité. I fi­nal­ly get the shot with a daguerreotype
pati­na and up­load it to my Tum­blr — some­thing that says those were such times
when brave men strug­gled, when an en­e­my arose and we, as a peo­ple, heed­ed the
call, and said to ad­ver­si­ty, in the face of dan­ger, these are the days when
some­thing some­thing, some­thing some­thing some­thing something.

Filed under Fiction on November 15th, 2013

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