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Friday, September 16, 2011

Searching for Ringside, Chapter III 

Picture credit to the kickass folks at Carpe Durham

The Clarion Content is delighted to invite you to come along on a magical ride as Pop Culture columnist, Cady Childs, once again takes us "Searching for Ringside." This fictional look at life in Durham explores the common trials, travails and misadventures so many Durhamanians face. The metamythical characters, Andrew, Vita, John, and Megan, and their sordid but bemusing stories will resonate with those of you who carouse in Durham. Cady knows our collective experience, she shines a light on it and relates it back to us with a laugh and a smile.

Check out earlier chapters here [you will have to scroll down]


Chapter III, "This was gonna be the big one, folks."

Andrew sat in his living room, surrounded by unread newspapers strewn about in angst, watching a woman with bumpy skin and a brunette bob pointing and gesturing to clouds, maps, and water on a screen behind her. A tone of destruction in her voice made the whole broadcast seem like it was meant to be foreboding, but it read like a mock local news station skit, her arm fat jiggling as her hands waved, traveling the scope of the east coast and up into Canada.

He’d heard it all before. Every year, around mid-September, the meteorologists threatened their southern city with the hurricane of the century, keeping them in check, aware of their respective places in the universe, and giving everyone a reason to scramble around in a frenzy, preparing themselves to be bunkered in and hunkered down. But if you were faced with a natural disaster, would you really be huffed up on getting the last loaf of bread at the store, or would you be searching for something else to get you through the tides?

Andrew did not believe in disaster shopping for milk and bread with the rest of the throngs, but he was fully stocked on Lucky’s, Jim Beam, Vienna sausages, and had an entire pound bag of ground coffee from the shop up the street. He’d even broken down and bought his own French press. Just in case. He didn’t want to be without his familiar companions, even in the eye of the storm.

Vita was in her bedroom, sprawled out on the bed and blasting Florence and the Machine. She hated storms, and since she was a kid she always felt safest in bed, attempting to ignore the wind whipped branches tapping hello at her window, the lightning flashing brighter than sunshine to hung over eyes was somehow easier there. She was playing ‘Hurricane Love’ over and over, ironic as it was, but she had been doing this off and on before the storm hit, so there was no sense in stopping now. She thumbed through Lookbooks on her phone and drew multiple pictures of the same dress over and over in varying sizes on a page in her little lilac book. She awaited the end of the turmoil, one wary eye on the looming blob of red that was traveling slowly, showboating across the center of the state on the live Doppler radar broadcast.

John was laying on the couch with the chick in the Alexander Wang dress. Two days later, and she hadn’t done anything to annoy him yet, or said something that sounded ditzy. He kissed her temples, working his way down to her mouth. She was still emanating scents of cinnamon and peppermint, even after rolling around all night in his bed, which he knew reeked of cedar from the woodchips he put underneath his mattress (it ensured a boyish, woodsy scent that made girls feel safe, at ease). They were laying in front of three glass windows that ran from ceiling to floor in the front of his apartment, playing chicken to see who would get scared of the Tempest worthy display first.

She wasn’t real. Girls like this didn’t move to this town and smell like this after having sex all night, or laugh at hurricanes. And they didn’t know enough about grammar or Cummings to call him out on the extra comma he had put in that quote on his wall.

“That’s supposed to be a hyphen there, you know,” she was swaying, drunk after the bar, and he was noticing how much he liked the way her lips were shaped when she smiled, than noticing it was really strange that he noticed something like that about her.

“Yeah, well,” he murmured this phrase in an attempt to make her lean closer to him, and as she started to laugh, he grabbed her hips and decided some contact might be the best way to see why it was he kept staring at her mouth so hard. She didn’t object.

Megan loved watching the rain. She sat on her screened-in porch (it was the reason she paid so much in rent, so she may as well enjoy it), drinking red wine and feeling the strong wind blow drops of chilly precipitation on her cheeks, making pinprick tingles when they landed on her skin, which was flushed from the alcohol. There was something about the power of the weather that made her feel content. It had a way of settling things around it, whether they wanted to be settled or not. You didn’t have much of a choice in a hurricane- you just had to sit still and wait it out. She’d always thought she’d be great at storm chasing, but that might just be from seeing Helen Hunt being so badass in Twister at a young age. Still, there’s something to be said for someone that not only doesn’t mind a threat, but who seeks it out, so they can feel life a little more. She heard warning alarms going off at the school down the street, and reveled in her little rocking chair in the middle of it all, stretching like a cat in a pool of sunshine.

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