More Mermen Road Reports, Part 4

Not on the beach. Photo by Jay Blakesberg.

Milwaukee, WI. Sun.,

June 2. Shank Hall Lightning bolts; horizontal, vertical, sharp and

blue-white precede thunder claps. Pavement soaks up the first water, releasing

the yearning smell that civilization exhales at the beginning of the whipping

wind and heavy rain. BB size hail hammers the street. Small rushing creeks rise

in the gutters, carrying trash that the wind has not already stolen. Posters

from the past week, stapled to the exterior wall of the club are ripped away

and spun into the road, where they dissolve in spray. I watch from the relative

safety of the doorway but the gusts drive waves of water over my feet, over my

body and the sentient unpredictable wind wakes a primordial self seeking

shelter from disaster. I step inside, holding the front door open, to continue

my storm watch. Steve, the club manager, in a neon orange poncho, asks me to

close the door. I tell him I'm watching the storm from safety. He tells me to

step outside. Better wet then the stale, mildewed, air-conditioned beer-reek of

the bar. I step out again. The rain is letting up, the sky lightening and the

wind dying to a stillness. Twenty minutes have passed since the first warning


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