RAIN, RAIN, GO AWAY
Rescues take place all over the
globe. And sometimes the memory of a certain area pops up when
deciding where to go on a vacation.Click here for the full-screen version.
no wind, not a sign of wind. And it was stifling hot. A tiny
wisp of cloud appeared for a split second and vanished just as
fast in the pale blue sky. Another wisp came and went. Then
gruelling period of back-to-back rescues Scott and Virgil were
glad of their much-needed vacation. They had arrived only a
few hours ago at a beach hotel on the coast of Croatia and now
sat on the balcony belonging to their room. It looked out over
the sea, sprinkled with islands, some largish, some small.
Some looked uninhabited; on others they could see quaint
looking white houses and churches.
wisps of cloud slowly became larger and larger before they
opened one eye before a yawn split his face. ‘That's the
downside to conventional flying... jet lag,' he thought.
lost in his book, his feet up, resting on the balcony railing.
He looked over at his brother sitting, basking himself in the
sun, on the other side of the balcony table. ‘That's the good
thing about jet lag... I have an excuse to be lazy,' he
thought and yawned too, rather noisily. ‘If only it wasn't so
passed and the clouds that appeared now were there to stay.
up and strolled into the room, pottering around there for a
while before returning to the balcony. Although he was usually
an avid reader, the inactivity was making him restless.
going to the beach for a game of volleyball?" he asked.
just enjoy the peace and quiet?" asked Virgil.
don't you think it is a bit too peaceful and quiet?"
the road there's a quad rental," said Scott. "We could..."
the quiet and rest, Scott."
rested," said Scott, sounding a bit irritated. "And bored,
the one who wanted to come here," said Virgil. "You said it
looked like a great place to rest, eat and..."
were here before it didn't look this quiet!"
were here before we were busy..." Virgil lowered his voice, as
there could be someone on an adjoining balcony, "trying to
keep that ferry afloat."
a bad storm," mused Scott.
really bad storm," agreed Virgil.
passed. Every time one of them looked up at the sky more
clouds had mushroomed into being, making it feel even hotter
and more humid.
something brewing up there, and if so, what? Just rain, a
thunderstorm, a tornado?' Virgil wondered. Born in what was
generally known as Tornado Alley, he didn't worry about what
was going on in the air. Not really, but having experienced
more than his fair share of what storms could do, he did wish
he knew more about the local climate and weather.
looked up at the clouds. ‘Just like tornado weather, apart
from the colour of the sky,' he thought. He noticed the birds
were very quiet, even for this time of the day. And even
during the hottest time of the day there were always stray cat
and dogs in sight, but now there wasn't a single one around.
It didn't worry him yet, but he knew all too well what storms
could do, so he kept on watching the sky.
atmosphere got stuffier and more airless by the minute. Just
the effort of breathing had the men breaking out into a sweat.
The clouds were now covering the whole sky and turning from
white to gray to black.
began to look apprehensively at the balcony furniture (just
heavy enough to hurt someone) and the clothes line (not sturdy
enough to hold them). His eyes also measured the windows (too
large). Pouring himself another glass of water, he noticed the
bottle was nearly empty. Getting up, he took it into the hotel
room to refill it from the jerry can they'd bought that
morning in the small supermarket across the road. But when he
opened the little refrigerator he found that it was empty.
"Where did you leave that water?" he asked, walking back to
bathroom," answered Scott.
nodded with a lopsided smile, then spread his hands in an
apologetic gesture. "You know what they say about bathrooms,
bathroom has two outer walls and a window, Scott," said
Virgil. "And I don't think the fittings are that sturdy."
admitted Scott. "You think they do have tornadoes in this
if they're common here," said Virgil, "but they can form
anyplace. So," he paused, "we're going to shelter in the
outer walls and a window? Not to mention the fittings? Are you
brothers went out on the balcony again.
raindrops fell. A herd of goats stampeded down the arid slopes
of the hills behind the hotel. And suddenly the bay was filled
with little colourful fishing boats, rushing to the harbour.
held its breath. Abruptly the crickets were quiet...
rain, blinding flashes of lightning, deafening thunderclaps.
men sat side by side on one of the beds and watched the
onslaught. Even though they were so close together, they had
to yell to make themselves heard.
hell...?" yelled Scott, pulling his feet up as the rainwater
poured in from under the door.
Virgil jumped up and splashed through the room. Dragging the
refrigerator from the wall, he peered behind it. "Of all the
idiotic set-ups," he muttered. "It's connected directly to the
power cord coming from the wall."
there's no plug to pull." Virgil straightened up. "Don't just
sit there, Scott, bring that table over here. I want this
fridge up off the floor."
up. "You agreed to have our water in the room," he said,
pushing the table over to where his brother was heaving the
refrigerator up in his arms.
the company of a Croatian fridge," Virgil said.
hit a lone standing tree, its lines briefly traced out by fire
before the rain doused it. A ferry glided slowly into the bay.
A ragtag flotilla of small boats huddled together closely in
the storm moved away, out to sea. The sky became clear again.
The rays of the setting sun coloured the dirty looking wet
cotton balls of clouds a coppery red as they spent their last
drops of water.
brothers ventured out on the balcony. Water gurgled down the
drains. Everything dripped. The smell of ozone made Scott
sneeze as Virgil untangled a one-piece swimsuit that had blown
into the bougainvillea that climbed up to the balcony.
look," he said, holding the garment up. It was in various
shades of blue, cut up high at the leg.
"Stunning," said Scott, "and even in my favourite colour."
know they came in this size," said Virgil. "It's colossal.
I'll bet we would fit into it together."
shuddered. "No way," he said. "The only way I'm getting into a
woman's swimsuit is if..."
woman is still in it," said Virgil. "Do I know you, or what?"
continued, "what am I going to do with it?" He grinned. "Hey,
I sure hope the owner wasn't in it when she lost it."
looked over the balcony railing, half afraid the woman was
lying somewhere below. But all he saw was a cat slinking
through the wet grass, shaking its paws after every step.
leave it at the front desk as we go out," he said. "Here!" He
retrieved his and Virgil's tennis shoes. "Get into them."
we going to do, Scott?" asked Virgil.
going to the village, see if there's any damage done. Maybe
somebody needs help!"
we were on vacation!" Virgil protested. "And besides, it was
just a thunderstorm. What damage do you expect?"
brother had already disappeared around the corner. Virgil
sighed, grabbed the swimsuit and followed Scott out.
you call for help with your equipment, Scott, I'm right behind
you," he called out.
the corner to see that Scott had stopped running and was
waiting for him. "What?"
grinned. "Never mind. Debriefing afterwards?"
opened his mouth to respond but Virgil didn't wait for it.
"Come on," he said, running past toward the stairs. "We've got
a rescue to complete! I mean, just think... the beach
volleyball net could have blown down. People could be trapped
couldn't help laughing.