Late October, 2012. With a full harvest moon at her back, and the higher than usual tide goading her on, Sandy blasted through New Jersey, ransacking the shit out of seaside cities. Next, she put the clampdown on Wall Street. Just watch those stiff-suit jackasses try to get the final say in stock prices today. People ran scared and she was victorious. It felt good to have all that power. But as she voyaged inland, nearing Niagara Falls, the exuberance slowly wafted from Sandy’s sails. To stoke her squall some, she paused over the infamous Love Canal dumpsite - mostly because the name was hilarious, but also because she liked the idea of stirring up toxic waste before she fizzled into obscurity.
Blasting through the west end of that abysmal failure in suburban planning, Sandy chanced upon something more entertaining than chemical remains. And more attractive, too.
“What huge balls you must have,” she mused, pausing over the tall, dark, gritty man with eyes like an angry ocean who stood right there in the middle of a deserted old street, defying her influence.
“My balls aren’t the only huge part,” he replied, pulling in on his cigarette then exhaling like a dragon; in this neighborhood, a dragon that had already torched every significant building.
“You can hear me and understand every word,” Sandy said, surprised.
Ignoring the obvious observation, he made one of his own. “Your mayhem is messing with my bad habit.” He held out his cigarette so she could see it fighting to stay alive under the pressure of her rainfall.
“You and your smoke are luckier than you know,” she laughed. “The bulk of my wrath was released near Atlantic City.”
He grinned wickedly. “Am I to understand that you like sending stupid humans into tizzy fits?”
“My fury has sent every sane person scattering to safety. And yet here you are, standing right under my eye with no obvious intentions to seek shelter. Are you insane?”
“Your storms don’t affect me, little lady.”
Never before had any living creature been so bold in the path of her aggression. Sandy felt…stimulated. “What are you doing here?” she asked.
“I like this place. It reminds me of home.”
“Superfund dumpsites remind you of home?”
He nodded and sucked the last of his cigarette before her pummeling rain took it out completely.
“Who, or what, in the hell are you?”
“The name is Evil.” His eyebrow cocked. “Howie Evil.”
She gasped deeper than she’d intended, uprooting an old pine tree and overturning an abandoned 1978 Cadillac. “The Howie Evil? The notorious dual-sided demon from hell?”
“The one and only.” He pulled out a fresh, dry smoke and held it up for her to see. “Do you mind?”
“Of course not.” Sandy quieted her storm long enough for him to light it and smoke it. “So, Howie Evil, from the entrails of hell. That explains your pigheaded persistence. If you’re anything like what the legends say, I’m in the company of a world-class hazard to humanity.”
“I’m twice what the legends say.”
“Hmmmm, dangerous. I like that in a man.”
“How convenient,” Howie replied. “I like my women fiesty.” His ice-cold gaze flared to life with a new thought. “Do you have plans for after your little brouhaha?”
“I have a couple more days at tropical storm status.” She rolled her eyes, sending a devastating wave across the Canadian border. “I always hate the downgraded status part. Anyway, after that, it just gets boring, you know, so I’ll probably head back to the Caribbean and relax on a beach or two. Why do you ask?”
“Because I think we’d work well together. When you’re done wreaking havoc out there,” Howie pointed northwest, “blow your sweet cheeks over to my neck of the woods and we can have a little fun together.”
Sandy cocked her stormy head in intrigue, flipping another car on its lid. “What do you have in mind, Mr. Evil?”
She scrutinized him warily before breaking out in laughter. “Are you kidding? You want me to go vote with you?” When he exhaled smoke instead of answering, she prodded him more. “Who for? The Stupid Ass or the Fat Establishment?”
“This isn’t about my vote,” Howie crossed his arms and grinned. “The fact is, this year’s election has brought out the worst in Americans, and I’m sick of their bickering bullshit. I want to take a stand. I want to show them how stupid they are. Plus,” he shrugged, “I’m suffering a tad of ennui. So…I’m making you a proposition.”
“Go on,” she said breezily.
“You and I start a grassroots movement of our own - shake up the battleground states and make the race a little more fun. Sound good?” He cocked his eyebrow again, and that sealed the deal for Sandy. She agreed that it sounded just great.
Sandy went on her way, caused some more respectable chaos, then wound down a few days later, carrying herself out to the demon’s lair, where the pair exchanged greetings and made plans.
“Heads is Dems, tails is Republicans.” Howie called it then flipped a coin.
They arrived at the city’s Democratic headquarters just in time for the group’s “Moving Forward” rally. A glorious and sunny day, the celebration was held in the park just behind the headquarter offices. Tables and tree trunks were festooned in crepe paper. Red, white and blue balloons swayed in the crisp autumn breeze, and cheerful YES WE CAN banners hung from nearby tree limbs. The park smelled like grilled burgers veggie patties. Democratic participants gathered in hopeful, happy clumps. Everything was perfect.
“Isn’t it a wonderful day?” A bleeding heart granola cruncher exclaimed joyfully, exiting his Prius and prancing around to the passenger side where he pulled out a gigantic American flag-shaped cake.
“Indeed!” chirped his pale, waif-like friend who trotted past him with her short skirt and a bowlful of fresh fruit wedges.
Howie, pretending to be interested in joining the festivities, approached. Though he was first to arrive, he let Sandy make the first move.
“Let me help you out with that,” Sandy said to Mr. Granola Cruncher.
“Why thank you,” Mr. Granola Cruncher replied, craning his neck to see which of his generous friends had made the offer. At the same moment, a quick, forceful wind gust raged directly at him from out of nowhere, toppling the cake in all its sugary, sticky, patriotic glory…right onto his beige dress shirt with the coordinating cappuccino-colored tie.
“Dang it!” he stomped his foot and reached in the car for a paper towel, spreading red, white, and blue frosting all over the back seat.
“Oh gosh, Sid,” the waif-girl whirled around, gasping. “That’s such a bummer. But,” she grinned from ear to ear, “This is healthier anyway.” She held out the fruit bowl.
He smiled through his annoyance. “I assume it’s organic?”
“Of course, silly! Here.” she pulled out a purse-sized pack of tissues, handing it to him. “I’ll see you in a few.”
“Thanks,” he grumbled between gritted teeth as she scampered off to join the group of twenty-five spotted owl saving, tree-hugging, pansy-assed, bleeding heart liberals. Howie followed her after pocketing his smokes, concealing his weapons, and piercing the Prius’s front tire with his switchblade. He slid next to a middle aged blonde woman with a pixie haircut and plump stomach. Dividing her attention between the rally speaker and the refreshment table, she didn’t even notice Howie until he leaned down and whispered in her ear.
“You don’t seriously think this hope and change bullshit you’re doing actually matters, do you?”
She jumped in surprise, coughing up a nibble of macaroni salad she’d just swallowed. Turning to face him, she said, “Pardon me sir, but yes I do.”
“Then pardon me ma’am, but you’re an idiot.”
“Excuse me?” she asked in astonishment.
Howie pulled out a cigarette and lit it, blowing the smoke in her face. She coughed and wafted it away with her pudgy hand.
“People don’t hire Presidents,” he scorned, “profits do. Ever hear of PACs? Political Action Committees?”
“Well, of course,” she replied, still sounding astonished.
“Then you know the PAC that contributes the most has a huge advantage in picking your next president.” Howie gestured toward the picnic’s plastic white tablecloths and red and blue cups. “Just look at this cheap crap. Your side is pathetic and poor.”
Pixie woman frowned, the wrinkles on her thin skin made more evident from the effort. “I don’t recall seeing you at any of our other local events,” she said in a suspicious tone. “What precinct do you live in, if I might ask?”
How the hell was he supposed to know a thing like that? Howie panned the group, zeroing in on an elderly gentleman wearing a crisp business suit and a satisfied smile as he listened intently to the rally speaker’s invigorating words - promises of success and change and a better future for our children, blah blah blah.
“I live in the same precinct as that old guy,” Howie pointed.
Pixie woman shook her head and clucked her tongue like a fat goose sitting on a rotten egg it considered golden. “I see,” she smiled stiffly and not without clear signs of derision. “You live in precinct 22. That explains everything. You’re part of that a pack of defeatists on the west side of town.”
“Defeatists,” Howie repeated the word while drawing in on his smoke. “Yeah, that sounds about right. You see, lady, all this pomp-and-plastic-circumstance rah-rah shit your people are promoting amounts to a steaming shit pile. It’s just stupid humanity, acting according to its own limitations.”
“Sir,” she said then gulped down a bite of hamburger roll, “with all due respect, I can give you a hundred reasons why it’s important to vote in this election. One, it’s your right. Two, it’s your responsibility. Three -”
“Don’t bother with the rest,” Howie snorted. “I’ll vote.”
She smiled smugly, confident her convincing argument had caused his decision.
“But it might be for the other guy.” Howie crossed his arms and narrowed his eyes, daring her to argue. She opened her mouth to do just that when he pushed open his jacket, exposing the .45 in his belt, and the other one stuffed in the waistband of his pants. She also got a good look at the knife he’d used to slash Granola Cruncher’s tires.
“Well…then…” Pixie woman’s voice cracked as she clutched tightly to her paper plateful of food and slipped away, eyeing him fearfully.
Sandy, observing the rally festivities from just beyond the park’s boundaries, waited for the perfect moment. It happened just after Pixie woman shuffled away, as the local Democratic president and the treasurer unveiled their grand surprise; a thirty foot tall papier-mache likeness of Barack Obama in all his Presidential glory, right down to the over-achieving smile and the flag pin on his lapel. That’s when Sandy whipped up a wind, spinning the colorful balloons into a wild frenzy, the YES WE CAN sign soaring wildly through the tree limbs, and the President’s head lolling perilously at the neck for a few seconds before snapping off and rolling, wind spurring it on, right into the middle of Main Street traffic. Cars screeched to a halt, bumpers crumpled against one another, and pedestrians stopped to gawk.
“Oh dear!” the pixie woman shrieked, dropping her plate on the grass and dashing off toward Main Street. “I hope nobody got hurt. And somebody catch those balloons! The strings could get tangled in the wings of an endangered bird.”
The invigorating rally speaker cleared his throat, righted his toupee, and shouted to the crowd. “Somebody call 911!”
But everybody had already gone on a mad dash after the President’s head.
And that’s when Sandy let loose with a thousand pounds of rain.
On the opposite side of town, another party was happening - a Republican fundraiser. Howie and Sandy approached the city’s civic center, where the shindig was going down. A gigantic sign advertised the theme of the day: KEEP AMERICA AMERICAN.
“The old KKK’s slogan,” Howie growled in disgust. Sure, he was an evil bastard, but he was no racist. He stormed up the well-manicured civic center’s walkway to the fancy, bevel-edged front doors and pulled one, holding it open for Sandy like a gentleman should.
She shook her head. “Go on in,” she said. “I’ll hang around out here and rip up that despicable sign.”
“As you wish.” Howie nodded and made his way in.
The hideous sound hit him first, followed by the pungent, sulfur smell of freshly displayed fireworks. On stage, a blend of big name buffoons; former rock-and-roll legends, now old, washed up, fat, has-beens. The geriatric former-giants stood on stage like slow-witted behemoths, jamming away, singing off-key, making a mockery of themselves, and their throng of adoring fans loved them for it. Ready to PARTAY for their party, the fans didn’t give a damn about talent. All they cared about was their guy winning the election. Howie scanned the stage, and then he scanned the audience. This, he decided, could not get any easier. Throwing down his latest smoke and storming in, Howie whipping out six guns with his two hands, cocking them all at once.
“Second Amendment right this, bitches!” he bellowed, and then he fired. And fired. And fired.
Audience members screamed, covered their heads dropped to the floor. A few even pissed themselves. About thirty well-prepared fellow gun enthusiasts pulled their weapons and fired back, but Howie deflected every one, and even shot every gun out of their hands.
“Holy fuck, man!” One shouted, wide-eyed, before turning tail and making a mad dash for the fancy-assed swinging doors with his fellow Republicans. Howie blasted away until the place emptied out; hundreds of dedicated supporters Republicans, running away from the Evil demon and his guns.
A few minutes later, as approaching police sirens sounded in the distance, Howie pushed open the fancy glass civic center doors and strolled out. Sandy was outside, calm as a summer breeze kissing the pink cheeks of an innocent toddler.
“What the hell, girl?” Howie shouted at her. “I sent the idiots out here so you could blow them away with your charm, not cuddle them in your warm embrace.”
Sandy shrugged. “To be honest, there wasn’t much I could do here, demon. Their side blew before I got here.”
On the Money.
“That was fun,” Sandy tickled in Howie’s ear, making his hard smile soften. “But the season is over and I’ve got to go.”
“See you again for mid-term elections?”
She winked seductively. “If not sooner. I may be seasonal, but I’m also unpredictable.” Then like a zephyr, she was gone, leaving behind her the sweet, decaying scent of fall. Howie lit a smoke, checked his guns, and moseyed back to his 1970 Bronco, Matilda Jane. He’d heard talk about a third party bus tour coming through town…
Copyright Kymberly J Lewis 2012
Copyright Kymberly J Lewis 2012