In the beginning, our good weather was incomparable. So good in fact that no one bothered to watched the news anymore. Once the first rain came, everything changed.
Everyone’s bad fortune was blamed on the weather. Car accidents, missed birthday parties, blown business deals, late credit card payments. In fact, there were 282 lawsuits based on my undisputed guesswork already on file when I stopped reporting on the weather altogether.
To avoid filing for bankruptcy, the network had decided to report on something far more important than prospective dew points and legalized medicinal joints. After gaining access to the personal medical records of all our daily viewers during a familiar game show gallivanting hour, I was able to predict exactly when everyone in town was going to get sick and/or die. The hard science was left up to the network’s computer models of choice, but in some cases I was able to provide a mere five minute window before the first morning’s crow of contracted whooping cough. The muted toll of Bell’s Palsy. Even the DJ scratch of eyelash-thin bouts with bulimia.
In many instances, employers were able to grant sick days to their employees three months in advance. I got so comfortable with my new job, I eventually graduated to glorified mortuary receptionist. Surely, the business of death and dying was always in season, but was I the only one in town actually still keeping up with the weather?
I had grown up 201 miles to the west where I attended a nationally ranked atmospheric science and meteorological school. No one believed this of course, not even my daughter. Skye was only two, but still; I could see a big change on the way. Too bad all anyone wanted to know was how long Bill Cosby had to live outside a rust-coated jail cell. Was Cheap Trick going to cancel their show Friday night at The Forum due to “unforeseen circumstances”, and just how sick did you have to be of being seen but never truly heard to pack up and leave town with the largest flash flood of the modern era on the horizon?
* * *
When I returned home two days later, I realized the entire town had been leveled to the ground. Not only had I failed to forecast 134 foreseeable deaths during my last “work over the blaring noise of an emergency test signal horn” day; I had marooned my primary viewing audience on the bottom of the “backyard Vegas” food chain.
Luckily for me, I was able to find good work without leaving home again. I began to live off the land. I made friends with the local animal population, and so did Skye. We learned each other’s native tongues, but when Skye and I teased our new friends, “You look a little under the weather,” even the yellow-bellied sapsuckers took to replying, “What weather?”
There was no rain to speak of. No preying vultures lost above the clouds for me to dream of, not when everything had already turned into a PTS-banned phallus within my ornate soul. I feared the worst, not just becoming addicted to a familiar cycle of human relations I’d never experience again but actually living up to my new “Loose C” namesake in spite of this.
The worst truly came to pass once Skye went missing. Little did I know that my little blonde-haired butterfly had become just this, a figment of a supreme being’s imagination and nothing more. That was unless I could prove that Skye had possessed no real choice in the matter. I would accomplish just this, once I was able to introduce the laws of endangered man back into the wild.
If only I had chosen to report on the local weather again instead. Maybe then I wouldn’t have drowned in the middle of the Mohave Desert before my first kidnapping case went to trial.
The way the wind blew in Death Valley was incredibly easy to predict if you paid close attention to the news, something I had abandoned for a far less reliable source of belonging. The letter of the law, vis-à-vis man’s strategic guide to poor parenting that would only lead society as a whole south before the winter.
This is Cali Sinclair signing off. To the roadrunner for an update on today’s record high temps! Right before splitting the feathers on its breezy back just to share direct sunlight with a mortal enemy.