Stop me if you’ve heard this before:
“Just a dusting,” was said.
“Maybe a few inches; no more than a half a foot,” was then corrected.
“Now it’s a foot due to hit Knowlton this weekend, possibly more,” was proclaimed with wishy-washy finality.
The last weather report stated was also wrong. We received over two feet of powder topped with a mixture of freezing rain over the slow-rolled course of the Nor’Easter named Frank. It’s an absurd name and every time our local weather guy Jules Carrington pronounced it with his harsh, down east accent, I wanted to scream. A rage brewed inside of me that screamed for his blood to be spilt in homage for the old ones. He even mocked through the radio with that fake twang he uttered and I wanted to punch Jules Carrington in the face until he apologized for causing this mess.
“He always does this,” I said to Ghoul as we drove down Main Street. “Jules-I’m-an-asshole-Carrington knew that we were going to get slammed and he withheld this information. It’s his fault, man.”
“So lemme get this straight… this guy Jules is a Shaman of some sorts, summoning vicious blizzards all to satisfy a perverse desire to make others miserable?”
“No man, that sounds ridiculous.”
“Exactly my point. It’s winter in Maine, what did you expect? I think global warming has spoiled your mind with false hopes of shorter seasons.”
He had me there.
“What are we doing, anyways? We’ve been driving around and around but you haven’t told me why we’re out at the end of this storm.”
“Looking for leads. I think I see one up ahead,” Ghoul pointed to a snowed-in four door Sedan against the curb and he lifted a long-range radio to his hand. The strength receded from his decaying hand muscles and he needed to push the talk button against the steering wheel. This action nearly took us onto the sidewalk. I grabbed the wheel and he said, “Mama Jewel to Southern Delight, over.”
“What the hell is going on?”
Ghoul held his free hand to me in a nonverbal request to shut up. Three of his fingers sagged and bent downwards. I pushed them back up and he nodded his appreciation. “Not what they use to be,” he said, and I reminded him that was a strange thing to say since they were never his fingers to begin with.
“Go ahead Southern Delight, over,” Cyndi’s voice crackled over the speaker.
“Mark in sight right outside of Knowlton Pawn and Trade, over.”
“Roger that. I’ll be there in five, Mama Jewel over and out.”
“You do realize that you’re the worst kind of awful, right?”
“Love makes you do crazy things, Sam. Now come help me secure the area.”
Ghoul hopped out of the front seat and with great reluctance, I joined him.
The wind was fierce with its whipped blasts of snow drifts that blanketed the Sun’s feeble attempts at poking through the grey above. His hood popped open and Ghoul removed two snow shovels. One was handed to me and I shook my head.
“What am I supposed to do with this?”
“We’re going to pretend to be good Samaritans,” Ghoul said. “So if the owner of this car comes by, we can act like we are helping them out of the Parking Ban before the tow truck comes. But, what we’re actually doing is making it easier for Cyndi to back right up and take the car to her lot. My baby needs to get paid, Sam.”
“Actually, let me restate this: you’re lower than whale shit.”
He ignored this last verbal jab and proceeded to chip away at the thick mound of snow blocking the front of the car. I could only stand and ponder why, oh why, was this happening? What has Ghoul become and does love really cloud judgement of what is right? And who the hell was this strange old lady pulling at my coat arm?
“Excuse me, sir?” she squeaked in a dry shrill. “Are you two shoveling out my car?”
Ghoul snapped his head forward and said, “Yes ma’am, we sure are.”
“Oh bless you. I feared that I would be towed and I have no money until the first of next month.”
I noticed her beady eyes swell with appreciation and she waddled back to the other side of the road, disappearing into the squall of white. She never returned, and I imagined the wind blew her away to wherever it was she came from.
“Ghoul, this is terrible.”
“You know what’s terrible?”
“The price of watermelons this time of year. Now come on and help me. I can see Cyndi’s truck coming and I want to move on to the next mark. She said if I can get a dozen cars done in the ban we might… well, you know. Bah-chica-wah-wahh.”
© Copyright John Potts Jr. All rights reserved.