Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Best Case Deaths

Lunch does not go down well. Supposed to be sweet tea and ham sandwiches. Feels like a belly full of concrete and barbed wire.

With the yard cleaned, we’re listening to Aunt Judy’s battery-powered radio. It doesn’t help. Biloxi and Ocean Springs are crippled. “Waveland is gone.” "Bay St. Louis is gone." Gulfport may go the way of New Orleans, but police are quickly getting control of the looting. Nobody has heard from Pass Christian. Nobody has heard from Long Beach, where my family lives.

So I’m back to hanging out with Denial. But I’m not really listening to him any more, and I have started to mentally create these Best Case Deaths for everyone. They usually involve a minimum of suffering. They all happen quickly: Mom & Dad struck by the collapse of their home. Grandma caught in a tornado with Grandpa. Jason & Mel flattened by a small forest of fallen trees.

I can handle this. I just don’t want to be the first one to find any of their bodies.

They’re still alive, Buddy.

Shut up. Asshole. I’m tired of you. I’m giving Acceptance a call.

I’ve skipped the middle three Stages Of Grief (I can’t remember them from my days in Intro To Psychology) and I’m on the last one: Acceptance. Might as well come to terms with the fact that Mississippi was just hit by the largest natural disaster in history. And some people did not survive it.

The radio keeps painting the picture in darker shades of black and grey. No power for 4 – 6 weeks. Don’t drink the water. CDC warning about disease from a soon-to-emerge swarm of mosquitoes. Don’t eat fresh seafood. Gas leaks threatening entire neighborhoods. Don’t drink the water. Looters going into historic houses after the owners evacuated. Raw sewage filling the municipal pipes of Biloxi. HW90 impassable. Nothing within a mile of the beach survived. Waveland, Pass Christian, and Long Beach hit full force by Katrina. Don’t drink the water. Gaming as we know it is gone, on the Gulf Coast. Every casino gutted. Thirty percent of the state’s revenue at risk. Bridges collapsed. Stray animals roaming the streets. Curfews from sun-down to sun-up. Ladies and gentlemen: let me introduce you to our new form of government: Martial law. And God help you if you drink the water!

Pack your bags, Acceptance. I have to get home.

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