Now, as some of you might know, there was recently a severe storm in Nashville very recently. Some people in my office have posted accounts ranging from the subdued:
There is a tornado warning issued for the downtown area until 2:30 pm. Please go to the basement, or an interior area until the storm passes.
To the slightly more inflammatory:
It was pitch black outside and there were pigeons flying through the air and I saw a newspaper stand also flying through the air and I think there were windows breaking everywhere the sirens are still going and its totally pitch black outside. Were praying everyone makes it out of the basement okay.
Well, I was there. I braved the storm. I can tell you what happened, and, yes, it might contradict one of the accounts (HINT: the one that sounds like it was a description of the end of the world), but, as a certified Wordsmith, I am pledged to recount the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. So help me Thor.
It began earlier than everyone expected. It was 13:49, and I was scaling down the building in my usual post-lunch routine.
As I removed the grappling hooks from the mount in one of the fourth floor windows (sorry, Kaplan and Associates), I heard the sound of a freight train. I knew this was strange, because there are no train tracks in downtown Nashville. I’d seen to that.
I turned around on my rope and looked behind me. Coming eastward on Union Street was a black, rotating cone of death. “Son of a bitch,” I muttered, “this is going to cut into my tea time.”
I knew where my loyalties were: I called my mom. She was crying. I told her to man up and put the dog on the phone. I heard a panting and a whining. After calming Chloe down, I hung up the phone and burst through the second story window, right into the offices. “Move!” I shouted.
The social workers stared up at me, fish-faced and terrified, too taken over by terror-induced tremors to move from where they stood, frozen to the spot.
“God damn it, you wretches, do you want to die? To see from Beyond as your children starve to death, their mothers and fathers taken from them by the cold, soulless nature of Mother Earth?”
That got em moving. In a rush, they fled the office, like a herd of terrified Hereford cows.
I went around to each window, bolting them shut with my excess sheets of steel (I like to weld whenever I have a spare moment here and there), and then swept up the cold and terrified puppy that was under my desk for some reason.
Taking a cigar from my cigar-holder–a fishbowl with a smiley face on it–I went into the center of the elevator lobby and, with nothing but my sheer strength, punched down through the floor and landed on the first floor.
I looked to my right and there, standing at the window, was one of my coworkers–the one who thought I had successfully swam down the Amazon River when I was 18. (I was 13, for the record. Chose to do that instead of a Bar Mitzvah.)
“Oh my God!” she shouted, petrified and pointing outside, her shrill Southern accent rebounding off of the walls. “There’s a tornado outside!”
“No shit!” I responded, gently putting down the puppy and patting it on its behind, watching with a satisfied glint in my eyes as it ran downstairs. “Get away from the window. This is a man’s job.”
She fled down into the basement, into those dark, roach-infested recesses. There was only one thing for me to do, one thing that would save us all from having to wait and talk about how scary it was for half an hour.
Without any hesitation, I got a running start and dove head-first through the plate-glass windows. As I rolled out onto Union Street, I looked up and there, speeding down in a beeline, was the tornado. My nemesis.
“All right, you schmuck,” I said, gnawing on the cigar, “it’s on.”
And then, I leapt up, fist clenched and arm outstretched, and punched the tornado right in the face.
Faced with a display of such force and chutzpah, the tornado made an about-face and retracted, like a turtle pulling its head into its shell.
As the clouds broke and the sun dared to shine upon my countenance, I tossed the cigar to the side. It was a pre-victory cigar. Now, it was time for a victory cigar.
Laced with tiger blood and Adonis DNA.
“Winning,” I muttered.