The Incredible Misadventures of Hurricane Michael versus the Lewis Family part2
The No Luck Affair
One particularly miserable and infamous October night near the Choctawhatchee Bay, a mist of misery and cold, heavy air created a depressing sensation for all under its power. Sunset came early, so early that six in the evening was already in full darkness. I found myself awkwardly standing in a heavily wooded front yard of our former host of the last post-hurricane thirteen days staring at the flood light reflecting off the muddy puddles.
A friend was kind enough to offer us shelter until we were able to find our own since our house had been destroyed in the hurricane. Basically, everything we owned was blown away or crushed. To make the situation even more difficult, my shoulder ached as it hung suspended in a sling. The hurricane may have been just a couple of weeks earlier, but my shoulder replacement surgery was also that plus one day. The cold mist caused a shiver to rush down my back as I waited for my wife to load into the back of my truck the last of the bags and items, we had been able to salvage.
The time finally arrived for us to depart our kind, albeit impatient, host and venture forth to our hastily rented one-bedroom apartment. I climbed into my truck, shook off the cold mist, and waited for my wife to move her car forward so I could maneuver out of the tangle of woods that was our host’s front yard. My fingers had become stiff in the cold and made my strained efforts to turn the key difficult. Each finger was straining and screamed for warmth. I reached to turn the ignition and was met with only a hollow and forlorn click, click. Lonely drops of the persistent mist formed on my windshield and trickled down to the hood reflecting the yellow flood light nearby. I retried the key and the ignition once more and barely made a click, click. After another deep breath, I tapped my head against the headrest in exasperation. My battery was clearly dead. No big deal, I thought, nothing that a pair of jumper cables could not fix. The mist had turned to a light sprinkle and the cold air just became colder. I figured a few more uncomfortable and cold minutes and we would be on our way to our next chapter in this series of unfortunate events. Now, where were those jumper cables?
I slid from the cab of my truck and met my wife half way. Quickly forming muck squished upon every step. “Do you have the jumper cables?”
“Uh, no,” my wife replied. “They were in the garage at the time of the hurricane. They are probably in another county after that wind.” She continued, “Let me try and see if I have better luck.”
“Sure,” I said.
My wife got into the cab of the truck and tried to crank the engine and failed too. She took the keys and put them in plain sight on the center console. As she got out of the cab, simultaneously, a strong breeze swept through the area and slammed the door closed. Click. The door automatically locked. She turned and tried to open the door. “Dave,” she dropped her countenance. “I just locked the keys inside the truck.” Her voice started to shake, and the weight of the night took instant toll on her. I reassured her we could just call AAA and get the door open in short order. I grabbed my phone, clicked on the AAA application. In a few minutes, we had the promise of a locksmith. The wait time was less than an hour. That was a very long and wet hour to be sure.
After the promised locksmith arrived, he dutifully introduced himself and began to instruct us on the details of the locksmith trade. He told us more than we ever knew or ever wanted to know. With a serious passion for his trade, he slowly realized that all we wanted was our door unlocked. He took out two simple tools, a long flat blade and a screw driver. In about two seconds he had the door opened and gleefully continued to tell us about the details of the locksmith’s trade, apparently a very lonely job and a skill set that is technically difficult to master.
As the gleeful and victorious locksmith put his tools away and had me sign a tablet, I asked him if he had a set of jumper cables. He smiled and brushed back his long, wet, red hair and robotically replied, “No, I am not permitted to do that. It is against my company’s policy to jump anyone.” He promptly got back into his locksmith van and sped off. I just stood there with my mouth open and my spirits continued to fall second by second.
I shrugged. “I guess I will have to walk back to our former host’s house and see if he has a set of cables.” I truly had wanted to be long gone by now, but it was becoming just one speed bump after another impeding our progress. We had fervently tried to make our stay as short as possible by searching for temporary accommodations with earnest. Our departure earlier this evening was not under comfortable circumstances and going back to the house was not something I relished doing. Though we were no more distant than a few hundred yards, the cold sprinkling of rain, and the unfamiliar dark wooded lot was quite foreboding as I approached the hidden front door. Necessity being my motivation, I knocked on the door twice.
Our former host came to the door with a look of surprise on his face. I quickly told him my battery was dead and did not have my usually handy jumper cables due to the storm. He gave a surly humph sound and replied he had a cable in his shed. After a few moments, he disappeared into the darkness of a partially hidden shed. I could hear him rumbling and grumbling as he rummaged through what was probably a mess of a shed. He soon surfaced with a dangling pair of ancient jumper cables and just handed them to me as he went back inside. He mumbled as the door closed shut and locked, “Just leave ‘em on da porch.”
I paused a moment and started the short slippery walk back to my truck. The cables slipped out of my hands and landed on the bumper. The hood resisted for a moment but quickly gave way as I pushed it with one arm to its full extension. I let go of the raised hood and started to reach for the cables when the it slammed down onto my head. “Umph, ouch.” Quickly, a small goose egg appeared on my head and ironically, I saw stars on that cloudy night.
“Are you okay?” my wife asked. She instinctively grabbed the hood and pushed it back to its raised position and held it while I examined my new goose egg.
I knew I had no time for a headache or even a cut; we had to get out of the cold rain and into a place of refuge and soon. “I’m good. Just hold the hood and I’ll connect the cables to the truck and then to your car’s battery.” I rubbed my head with my good arm and then tried to connect the cables. After connecting to my wife’s car battery, I tried to crank the truck again, only this time it clicked only once; a sure sign of a dead battery. No amount of jumping was going to crank my engine. A quick thought entered my mind, time for another call to AAA, my trusty old standby in circumstances like these.
A quick tap on my smartphone’s AAA application again and I had a chat started that gave me a glimmer of hope that this horrid and dismal evening might actually come to an end. The chat went pretty smooth until we reached the part where the AAA associate told me the waiting time for assistance to arrive, three hours. I had no idea what to do next.