Sneak Peek Into BLOW
Corps ne peut contenir - L’ouragan intérieur—Charles de Leusse (Body can’t contain an inside hurricane)
Pensacola, Florida 1:15 a.m., September 16, 2004
The flickering candle flame reflected in the wide eyes before him. It had been a favor to let Chip ride out the storm here, but the noises outside were making Rick Harris question this logic.
“Goddamn man, what the hell is that sound?” Chip’s panic was almost palpable, and his friend, what’s-his-name, sat nearby shaking his head.
Rick didn’t like the sound of it either. Fwap, fwap, fwap. It was like the devil banging on the door. “It’s just the wind.” Hurricane Ivan was living up to his namesake and was beating down on Pensacola in the worst way. Rick was getting the brunt on his doorstep despite what the damn weatherman said.
“Hush, they’re talking about the storm.” Chip turned up the radio on the coffee table.
“Hurricane Ivan is a strong category 3 storm packing a real punch. Sustained wind speeds are right around eighty-five miles per hour but are expected to intensify as the eyewall approaches the Gulf Coast. We could see wind speeds over one hundred miles an hour in the next thirty minutes as the storm comes ashore.”
“A hundred miles …” Chip’s friend said, panic making his voice squeak.
Chip and Rick hushed him in unison.
The weatherman continued, “The more intense western eyewall will be crossing Mobile Bay and then Pensacola, Florida increasing our wind speeds and pushing the storm surge to its peak from ten to fifteen feet. The potential for tornados is increasing until dawn, so keep your radios on through the night.”
Eerie shadows thrown from the sandalwood candle danced around the room. Rick glanced at the photograph of his mom and dad on the countertop to help calm his nerves. They had survived hurricanes in North Carolina when they first married, surely he could survive this one. Chip’s friend shot him a nervous glance.
“Where you from, man?” For the life of him Rick couldn’t remember the guy’s name. He looked like a Cletus, about as redneck as you could get with the spotty reddish beard and fat oozing out of the wife beater undershirt. A few hours ago Chip had called begging to take sanctuary in his house when it was clear the storm was heading to Pensacola. It was quite a surprise when he showed up on his doorstep with another guy in tow. What could he say at that point? They had nowhere else to go.
“I just come over from Kentucky to visit Chip for the weekend,” The guy said, but would not make eye contact.
“Ivan has crashed the party, Cletus.” Rick tried to get a rise out of the guy. Did he have any personality at all?
“It’s not Cletus, ya moron, it’s Buck,” Chip said, punching Rick in the shoulder.
Rick shook his head and rubbed away the sting of the punch thinking of the buck he’d shot last November. What a stupid name. This Buck was sweating on his leather couch. He wondered if there was enough food and water for the three of them. Their surprise visit was going to cut into his storm stash.
“You know …” Chip rubbed his chin looking at Buck, “You do look like a Cletus, it perfectly captures your essence.”
“Come on Chip, don’t even go there. You know I look like this for my job.” The corners of Buck’s mouth turned down.
“What’s your job?” Rick imagined him picking up roadkill or something equally glamorous.
Buck rubbed his eyes, hiding his face behind big hairy hands.
“He’s a cop,” Chip blurted. “Hoping to be undercover someday.”
“You asshole.” Buck folded his arms across his broad chest. “You’re not supposed to tell people that.”