Deluge

Edna peered at her desk through her fingers, and sighed. It’s not that she didn’t like the rain, under normal circumstances. It was, in her opinion,a sign of progress. She hadn’t even minded when it was two full days of the stuff. It was, after all good for the crops and the ornamental gardens. Very good for public morale. The occasional shower gave everyone a sense of normalcy. It was on day three, when she had already gotten suspicious, that the report came in from Carlson in Engineering.

Now, on day seven, with no sign of it letting up, stood before her the very nervous, and all too familiar face of a particular ensign. She smoothed back her greying hair and stood, pulling at the bottom edge of her uniform jacket to tighten the fit. She walked over to the window and watched the deluge for a few moments.

“It’s Davis, correct?” She knew his name. She knew nearly everyone under her command.

“Ma’am?, Yes ma’am.” The young man had a slight shake to his voice.

“I thought so. Ensign Davis, I seem to recall that we first met about a year ago.” Edna turned to face him and walked back towards her desk. “Remind me what was the occasion of that visit?”

Weather anomaly ma’am. Regulator malfunctioned and rolled the seasonal climate back to winter.”

“Winter is quite the understatement.” She remembered the blizzard well, and the havoc it played with their growing cycle.

“Yes ma’am.”

“And since that, well let’s just call it an event shall we”

“Ma’am”

She smiled at this lack of answer. She always fancied noncommittal remarks as a good sign of a junior officer’s survival instincts. “And, since that particular event, how many times have you been sent to report to my office Ensign Davis?”

“This would be the fifth time since that event, ma’am” Davis kept his gaze fixed on a point somewhere beyond, and to the left of the commander’s ear.

“Six, times? I suppose that makes us practically friends ensign.”

“Not my place to say, ma’am.”

“Relax Davis, I’m not looking to take it out on you.” Edna came around to the front of the desk and stood a few inches away from the youth. “Six times in a year. Each time due to some abnormal weather event. Each time Carlson has sent you to report to me on behalf of his ineptitude?”

“Ma’am the lieutenant thinks it is the colony’s best interest if he remains in engineering and works on the problem.”

“Very diplomatic of you ensign.”

“Thank you, ma’am.”

“You have a shit job, Davis.”

“Lieutenant Carlson say that the moisture reclamation system’s cpu is running the condensation cycle in an infinite loop. Taking the evaporation collectors off the grid should starve the precipitation system of water and have the rain stopped very soon.”

“So we go from monsoon to drought?”

“It should only take the software teams a day or two to recode the system. We’re not expecting any crop loss.”

“You mean, any further crop loss. Agriculture reports several beds have already been drowned out.”

“Ma’am.” Davis motioned to the window behind her.

Edna turned around. The rain had stopped pelting the window, through the water still poured down the sides of the arcology inner buildings.

For the first time in days the colony’s ersatz sun could be seen to rise from where it hides for the night. It’s intense heat burning through the wetness in the air, light reflecting off the slick surface of the roads and walkways as it inched upward along its track across the dome. The haze if steam around it providing a spectacular corona.

“Well, that is dramatically beautiful. Do give the lieutenant my compliments on his timing. Though do you suppose it was necessary to turn the heat intensity up so high?”

“Ma’am, he said it would speed the clean-up of the water. The plan is to leave the sun at its apex an extra hour a day until we can reclaim as much of it as we can.”

“He’ll do no such thing. Things in Environmental Engineering are delicate enough without him cocking up the diurnal cycle.” Edna glanced over her shoulder at Davis, “You are dismissed ensign, I do so look forward to our next visit.”

The young man left. She rather liked him, a little too nervous, but bright enough. She turned once again to look out the window, making a note to journey to Engineering to make a point of dressing down Carlson in front of the ensign. The man had it coming due to accumulation,

Still, it was a nice sunrise.

 

This scene was written in response to a prompt, from Today’s Author.
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Washing Away

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The rain has come and the rain has gone,
Washing away all the joys of the world.
The playground is sodden and filthy,
Sad little children shuffle past.
Heads down, glancing sideways.
Their laughter will unsung this day.
They march on towards homework,
That Great executioner of youthful glee.

The rain has come and the rain has gone,1322
Washing away all the joys of the world.
The old dog mopes at the window,
Lonely and fearful of distant thunder.
The days walk had been abandoned.
Now she can only lay here waiting,
And hoping,
The child will come home soon.

 

 

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Happy Monday

 

 

Late Day, Early Spring

 

The creeping damp sounds of evening hold me,
Their  embrace cool and yawning.

The splashing water from crooked gutters,
running down the walls to saturate the earth.

The frustrated sigh of the bored housebound child,
confined to the couch and her tiny screen.

The clammy winds make the window screen hum,
as they sweep gently past the house.

The quiet panic of the old dog staring out the window,
panting at the rolling lazy grumble of the distant retreating thunder.

Laying on my bed fighting drifting slumber,
brought by the dark drowsy thrum of the late day, early spring rain.

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Riding Out the Storm

“Did you ride your bike today?”

A casual and innocent question posed by my grill cook1, and I wonder where she’s going with this.  She had to know damn well I rode it here, she had to walk past it when she walked in the back door to the kitchen. Just a few minutes ago discussed the fact that she had just seen me riding my bike on my way in to town. She even teased me about wearing a helmet. “Why did you need a ride home?” I answer her suspiciously.

“No, I’m cut early tonight anyway,” she says, “I was just wondering because it’s supposed to rain.”

Not being much of a gambler, I am pretty much on top of the weather when I plan out my day. Today as always I checked right before I got on the bike and though rain was likely, I would be home by then. Given a margin for error  I pack extra clothes to keep off what ever light sprinkle might happen on the way. Confident in my preparations I strode to the back of the kitchen, kicked open the back door stepped out side and then, arms stretched out I spun around a few times, looking up at the sky.

There wasn’t a cloud to be seen.

I took this gift as an opportunity to ridicule my coworker for not riding her bike like she usually does because she was afraid of a little rain. Rain, what rain? Was she going to melt? After years of hanging out with her after work when I was still a hopeless drunk2, I know for a fact she was not made of sugar. Soon the dinner rush started and I was too busy pushing out plates to keep beating that particular horse.

After things settled down Jennie was free to clock out. While she was having a parting smoke with all the rest of the ne’er do wells out back I poked my head out of the door and taunted her some more. We exchanged a few sarcastic and caustic remarks before she went on her way.

You Call This Rain?

A fine mist covered everything as I left the kitchen that night. Nothing to worry about, it was mostly just a fog with a bit more vertical activity. I put in my ear buds, clicked on the tracking app, buckled my chin strap, turned on my lights and pedaled out of the back alley and into traffic.

Ten minutes into my ride I’m halfway home, the rain such as it is, begins to pick up as I pass the Walgreen’s that marks my last opportunity to take any kind of shelter until I get to the house. I pull off the road onto the sidewalk just long enough to transfer my phone from my front pocket to my shoulder bag and pressed on.

Two minutes later I begin a descent down the first of the many steep hills on my route when there is this bright flash and crack of thunder as the sky just opens up on me. Huge drops bounce of my helmet, as if someone upended a bag of Skittles on my head as I coast downward picking up speed, just ahead the traffic signal that some stupid, sadistic son of a bitch decided to install at the bottom of the hill turns red. Naturally at this point I attempt to brake.

Attempt is an accurate description because what really happened when I squeezed the lever and my brake pads managed to grab the rain slicked tires, is that said tires then skidded on the wet pavement turning me sideways. Careening at high speeds lengthwise down a hill towards an intersection in nearly blinding rain, while marginally preferred to a total wipe out, is a fairly scary proposition. I was barely maintaining balance, and could feel the bike trying to fall over forward down the hill, even if I dropped it there was little chance I could get clear of the damned thing,  I’d probably be dragged down the pavement several feet. I had my helmet on but that wouldn’t help my legs and ribs much either way.

Before I fell into a total panic I chanced dropping my foot off the pedal, the sole of my sneaker was just dry enough to make traction and I managed to right myself and stop, my front tire barely over the stop line as the light turned green again.

 I unclenched my sphincter, and took a deep breath. To hell with it, I thought, I’ve got this far I’m already wet, I’m riding this bastard home. I steadied my nerves pushed off on the left, and got my bike going again.

Up and down the hills I rode, the rain getting heavier. The harder it fell the more it sounded like someone laughing at me. I was thoroughly sodden and pushing my pedals with bleak resolve I trudged onward. Not being able to stop and remove them my ear buds became a new source of aggravation as my phone began to ring through them, this was obviously my wife calling me to tell me not to get hit by lightning3. Unable to get it out of the shoulder bag without getting it wet I was forced to let it ring through to voice mail. Adding to my irritation was the immediate text alert I received after I failed to pick up the phone.

Finally home my wife was waiting on the front porch to bring me a towel, and to admonish me for not stopping somewhere to wait out the storm. Pealing off my outer layer I manage to get in and change with minimal drippage. I empty my bag, which turned out to be considerably waterproof. I retrieve my phone and see that the text was not from my wife but from Jennie, my grill cook.

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Clearly the moral of this tale is,

I am a sarcastic ass that deserved to get rained on for making fun of my friend. Hopefully now I have learned that Karma is a bitch.

Except, I think that is utter nonsense because:

It takes me on average a little over twenty minutes to ride home.

That evening the floor manager lost his wine key. This particular wine opener isn’t one of these cheap convenience store items most people have banging around in the kitchen drawer. His wife bought this for him, it was expensive, he’d be in trouble if she found out he had mislaid it; so I spent about fifteen minutes helping him look for it.

The downpour started ten minutes into the ride, meaning that I should have been home almost a full five minutes before the storm had I not stayed and helped him.

And therefore it is really,

No good deed goes unpunished.


  1. Seldom is there a casual or innocent question in a kitchen. 
  2. I tried being a hopeful drunk for a while but I just wound up annoying myself.4 
  3. True story, she once called me during a storm to tell me not to get struck by lightning on the way home. Obviously I listened to her. 
  4.  Now I don’t bother with the drunk bit at all anymore and I just annoy everyone else.