Exploring the dark side of humanity to find the light.


Posted by admin | July 8, 2019

About a month ago, we were getting wave after wave of storms. One night I was on the phone with my dad shooting the shit. Zailey was suddenly going nuts like someone was in her backyard. The yard is locked, so knew that wasn’t true. I thought maybe there was a bird or something, so I let her outside even though it was starting to sprinkle. There were some gnarly clouds passing us to the south and that was the only thing I could think was bothering her. Milo just stayed back and looked at Zailey like she was dumb.

After the call, I checked the weather. On the south side of those gnarly clouds Zailey was so worried about was a tornado. It was heading away from me and was a good 15 miles away. There was also another tornado about 15 miles north. It made me start singing to the dogs, “Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right, here I am, stuck in the middle with you”!

I’ve had some close calls with tornados. I’ve had a tornado that wasn’t on the ground go over my house (I think that was 2002). A bunch of things from the yard was thrown into a neighboring pasture. One of my mom’s stock tanks (I lived next door to her) was even picked up and thrown a few hundred yards into the pasture. I wasn’t home at the time, so that was good. I didn’t see that one, but I did see one when I was plowing a field one summer afternoon (I think it was 1997). I was questioning it the entire time I was watching it since they weren’t talking about one on the radio. When it got close enough that I could tell that it was definitely a tornado on the ground and not some low hanging cloud, the Emergency Broadcast System finally broke into the radio broadcast to warn of it.

When I was putting together this last collection of stories, I knew that I had to call it Twisted so that I could put a tornado on the cover. It was this kind of thinking that partly inspired Slave in the Cloud and its inclusion in this collection. A boy in purgatory is commanded by God to create a tornado. The boy questions Him and the explanation is quite, “For the greater good.” I love that story as it is comforting to me to think that there are good things that could come from even the worst events. Check it out, if you haven’t.

So now I know that Zailey can sense twisters and I can write about them in a good light. How cool is that?


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