by Garrick Sherman
—Oh, the winds blowing again. I hope nothing flies away like the last time.
—Don’t worry, we battened everything down nice and tight.
The wind was, in fact, blustering, and seemed bent on tearing down the cottage. Trees felt their roots shifting in the hard clay soil, and birds kept their wings tight against their bodies so as not to catch any gusts and be hurled downwind.
—Where’s Fiona? Have you seen her?
—She’s in the cellar, curled up and waiting it out. Don’t worry. Everything’ll be fine. Just some wind.
—I hate the wind.
—I know you do. It’ll be over soon.
Windows creaked and grass blew onto its back. There was a thud at the door. Probably something flew into it. Then another thud.
—Hey! Sam! Get in here, you nut! What are you doing out in that wind?
—Just wanted to borrow a cup of sugar, if I could, said Sam drily. Actually, to be honest, I was a little worried my truck would blow over, me in it, so I thought I’d stop here and see if I could help weigh your house down so it won’t tip too.
—Well, sure! Could always use another body to keep it anchored.
The coffee maker produced coffee, just as it was intended to do. The joe sat still in its cups, protected by the cottage walls. Still, watching the outdoors whipped like cream, the indoors began to feel unstable. Paperweights suddenly seemed sensible.
—This all came out of nowhere, didn’t it? said Sam, who was met with nods.
—The cat saw it coming, though I only knew it in retrospect.
—Hey, Sam, did you ever read that book I lent you?
Sam blushed. No, I never did get around to it, he said sheepily.
—Well, that’s alright. The weather just makes me feel like I ought to be reading.
—Don’t let me stop you, said Sam. By all means, go ahead.
—No, no, that’s alright. But I do wonder if it will be over soon.
The chimney howled in agreement, or perhaps in pain.
—How’d you like to fly a kite in this mess? said Sam, laughing.
—The string would break in a second, I bet.
—It’d be a good way to send a message downwind, though. Tape something to it and let it fly away. Like a message in a bottle, Sam mused.
—Can’t you just use a telephone for that?
—Yeah, but you have to know who you’re calling when you use a telephone, he replied.
—You could just punch in numbers willy-nilly if you wanted.
—I suppose so, but it’s just not the same. Didn’t you ever want to get a message in a bottle?
—A genie maybe, but what do I care about some stranger’s gossip?
—Genies come in lamps, Sam sighed. Ah, well, it’s not important anyway.
It was suddenly quiet. The wind had died down, leaving the windows to nurse their pummeled sills and the chimney to sit in contented calm. The grass outside still cowered in fear, but Fiona climbed lazily up from the cellar.
—Well, it seems for once the cat is a good omen, said Sam rising. I guess I’ll be going then. Thanks for your hospitality.
—Any time, Sam. We couldn’t have stayed upright without you.
Sam left with a grin and a wave. The mailbox was toppled and the front gate was flopping sloppily open, but everything was generally in good shape.
—We made it.
—Yes. I hope it won’t come back for a while. I hate the wind.