The Flood is my first attempt at a short story. I’m not sure where story came from or where it is headed. I would like to continue by writing several more seemingly unrelated short stories that eventually all tie together.
Things, life that is, used to be normal here. The days were the same, events routine. Weekdays entailed school or work depending on age, maybe a movie or dinner at the steakhouse for the older crowd. Weekends are a little bit of a different story. Living in a town of 30,000 it might seem like there would be plenty to do here, but trust me that assumption is wrong. The weekends in Roland, Indiana do not discriminate on the basis of age. Everyone in this middle child of American cities does one of four things: High School Football (or a movie in the offseason), head to the city, feed our addictions, or simply waste away in the continual monotony of our staying at home when not at work.
This is Roland, my home, in a nutshell.
You can doubt my account of the boredom here, but I wouldn’t. I am the one who lives here, but it’s not just that. I was born here. I spent thirteen years in public schools here. And I’m still here at 21. Not my choosing.
Anyway, like I said things here used to be normal or at least predictable. Things changed though. You might not notice it everyday or if you are merely passing through, but things are different. No one talks about it but that is only because it is human nature to cling to the ghosts of our better days.
June was the beginning.
He left for work at four in the afternoon that June day. He hadn’t turned on the television in the four hours between waking up from a late night of drinking and having to man the cash register at a Banana Republic ten miles outside of Roland in an outlet mall appropriately located adjacent to the interstate. It was 4 PM and as usual he was late as he pulled out of the driveway. Exiting his subdivision he takes a right and approaches a stop sign. As he begins to flip on the left hand turn signal of the 1999 Honda Accord, he turns his head to look left down Farr Avenue. Strangely the road is flooded. He pulls a quick u-turn. As he is about to drive past the entrance of his neighborhood he sees the flashing lights belonging to the black and white patrol cars used by RPD. “It’s flooded this way too?” He asks himself.
At 4:12 PM Clint Davis pulls into his driveway. He pulls the emergency brake up and shuts the engine off. Reaching into the glove compartment, Clint removes the dated garage door opener. The tan plastic rectangle is larger than most cell phones.
Aren’t you supposed to be at work?
Yea, but Farr and Beacon are flooded.
I guess that makes sense. We have had flood warnings the past couple days with all this rain.
Yea but it never floods down here.
Well I don’t know turn on the radio or news or something.
Mom, I have to get to work.
Then figure a way to get out there and call them.
You’re no help
At 4:17 PM Clint Davis finds a way out of his housing addition and makes his way out of town. Driving through town he turns on the car radio to see what he can find out about the flood situation. Music. After a series of stop lights traffic opens up as two lanes turn into four. Over thirty minutes later he pulls into the parking lot. He parks in the furthest spot from the door, as is the policy for employees. He searches for his cell phone, wallet, and grabs his keys before getting out. Checking the time on his cell phone before he walks in, Clint sees he has a voicemail. He puts the phone to his ear to listen to it.
“Hey kiddo its your mom. Um, well I was just trying to get a hold of you before you got all the way out to work, but I must have missed you. The water is all the way down Briar and is starting to come down our street. If you get this soon come home, if not you better find somewhere else to stay cause you aren’t going to be able to get in here. Call me when you get this. Bye. Love ya.”
Clint walks into work. He punches his social security number into the time clock so he can get paid. Clint knocks on the door of the manager’s office to explain his tardiness. Fortunately for him, some of his co-workers have had the same trouble but could not make it to the mall. She tells him “Thanks for making it in. We will see if we get any busier or if we can close early. Either way, I will get you out of here as soon as I can.” He nods his head and tells her he appreciates the gesture.
Clint staffs the cash register for the next hour. Five customers enter during the time. Clint’s boredom is only surpassed by his frustration of not knowing how close the water is to his Mom’s house and if everything is alright back at the homestead.
At 6 P.M. Clint is relieved of his duties. He proceeds into the backroom and once again punches his social security number into the time clock. He gathers his phone and keys and heads to the front of the store. On his way out he says bye and thanks once again before lifting his arms to show he is not taking any merchandise. Clint walks to the rear of the parking lot and opens the door to his Honda and climbs in. He reaches into his pocket removing his cell phone. He turns it on.
“Hey again kiddo, I wouldn’t worry about trying to get home tonight and you should probably find a place to stay. The water is almost up the driveway. I’ll keep you updated, but its not looking good. Water is starting to come into the basement. I’ll talk to you soon. Love ya”
He calls his Mom. No dial tone, it goes straight to voicemail. He checks the last two voicemails.
“Its your brother, you better get out of work one way or the other, and get to Mom. Otherwise I don’t know what we are going to do if the water keeps rising. I’m trying to get off work too. I’ll let you know what the deal is as soon as I can.”
“Its your brother again. I should be able to get off work in an hour. I’ll call you.”
Clint presses the end button, closes the phone and tosses it onto the passenger seat. He starts the car and pulls the seatbelt across his body. He releases the parking break and shifts into first gear.
At 6:15 P.M. Clint Davis pulls out of the parking lot
At 6:17 P.M. Clint’s brother calls his little brother’s cell phone. The phone picks up, but all Clint’s brother hears is a foreign noise worse than nails on a chalkboard, yet enchanting.
At 7:17 PM Clint’s car is found abandoned on US 31. His cell phone in the passenger seat. No floodwaters within a mile to have caused him problems.
When the aftermath of the flood’s destruction was finally able to be surveyed a few days later, the flood had clearly claimed two lives as a couple of men had attempted to battle the floodwaters in order to escape their drowning trucks . Yet, three deaths were attributed to the flood. The two courageous fools and Clint Davis.
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