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Open Collection of Student Writing (OCSW)

Storm Protocol

Student Name

English 1010

July 7, 2019

Storm Protocol

“Shit, Alice, that’s gonna hit us fast” we both stared over the bluff. The inky black clouds began filling the sky as the temperature dropped 3 degrees. FLASH. First strike of lightning, brighter than the sun. Unless you’ve experienced it, it’s hard to believe how fast it happens here. Less than 5 minutes ago the sky was completely blue. We all stood against the rail, eyes trained at the bluff anticipating the second strike. FLASH. “It’s gonna be here in a few minutes, let’s go guys”, my dad stated as he descended down the stairs to the back of the boat. Alice turned to me “Initiate storm protocol”, we both smiled and laughed.

This isn’t surprising. It happens every year, at least once, some are baby storms in our books, others are pretty epic. We all know our jobs and what needs to be done. Once you see those clouds, it’s gonna be less than 10 minutes before it hits. I don’t have to look to know Papa’s below us on the back deck, putting the fishing stuff away. Alice and I started cleaning up top like little maids, stacking the chairs and picking up anything that could blow. Our flag is starting to rip in the wind. The breeze feels good, it’s been blistering hot all day. I’m glad I have my Daddies’ skin or I’d turn into a tomato on these trips. The fishing stuff must be put away because my brother, Robert, jogs up the stairs and across the deck as Alice and I finish up our first job on the storm list. “You’ve got the floaties next?” he calls as he starts down the other stairs. “Yeah, don’t forget the paddle boards!”

It’s really raining now. The boat just down from us isn’t doing anything to prepare, they must be rookies. My mom got all the stuff up front (shoes, noodles, towels) and piled it inside. My dad and Papa are back up top. Robert’s taken the Supra, our surf boat, out into the bay of rough water, the combo of increased rain and wind chills my skin like ice and gives me goose bumps. We can see the Supra out there and it looks like Robert’s trying to put the bow cover on so he doesn’t keep taking on water.

I lean over to Alice “This is gonna be a shit show” I’m talking at a normal level but over the howling wind I’ve basically whispered to her. The houseboat broke free and isn’t staying beached, they fire the engines to help. Robert’s radioed in, the Supra’s damn near out of gas. To top it all off his girlfriend is freaking out and won’t stay out of the way. Alice whisper talks back, “Fuck man, if you don’t know what needs to be done, just stay out of the God damn way” I nod and roll my eyes. Grammy’s got this part down, she’s in the kitchen making coffee and probably doing dishes, helping perfectly by staying out of the way.

Supra’s out of gas. My dad’s now on a damn kayak with a gas can headed out in ocean sized waves while Papa tackles keeping us beached. There’s not much else we can do. At this point the goal is to just wait it out, it’s been less than 40 minutes since we first saw those clouds.

My dad’s almost back to us in the kayak when Robert radios back in that someone must’ve lost a ski rope because he’s ran one over and it’s tangled in the prop. Alice looks at me “Total God damn shit show.” The two of us head out into the water to wait for him. When the waves finally float him close enough to shore, we hold the boat against those same, now less helpful, waves. He and my dad attempt to untangle the rope from under the boat. At least it’s starting to clear. Fresh rain smells good, even on a lake and we know after this passes the water’s gonna be perfect. Powell storms will always hold a special place in my heart, the shit shows they bring and all.

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