#AtoZChallenge April 26, 2018 Water, Water, Everywhere
26 posts. 26 days. And 26 letters of the alphabet, one post beginning with each letter, in April.
Follow me as we visit the not-quite-normal retirement village of Twilight, Arizona, where reality clashes with the unexplained.
Water, Water, Everywhere
Tom Evans sat on the minuscule front porch of his condo in Twilight, Arizona and contemplated the dying brown grass in the courtyard. The lawn service arrived every Thursday morning, except when they came late Wednesday afternoon. He advised against setting one’s watch by the erratic schedule. Either way, they mowed the grass to the roots whether the temperature was in the winter seventies or blistering summer heat.
“I wish it would rain,” he commented to his wife, Laura, who sat next to him.
She handed him a glass of pink lemonade spiked with vodka, the wettest thing he’d seen in weeks. “It is monsoon season.”
He scoffed. “It’s been monsoon season since June. When are we going to get rain?”
“It rained in Peoria yesterday.” She removed the paper umbrella she’d added to the drink to make it look festive and took a long sip.
“Peoria might as well be a thousand miles from here.” After five years of living in the Phoenix region, he still didn’t understand how it could pour buckets in one area and stay dry in another.
She played with a lock of his hair. “You need a trim.” After another sip, she said, “Why don’t we drive up to Prescott, where it’s cooler?” She pronounced it like a native, Press-kit.
He studied the brown grass for a moment then nodded. “All right. It will do us good to get away.”
Since his llama-induced cure for dementia in the spring, they’d not gone any further than the IKEA store. He didn’t know if he’d slip back into the fog that had held him captive for almost a year, but they had to stop pretending he would. As long as he could think clearly, they needed to go on with their lives.
“Wednesday?” she asked. “I have a pottery class on Tuesday, and we’re seeing the play Sunday.”
“Wednesday it is.” Why had they waited so long to pick up where they’d left off?
It rained in Surprise on Friday, Peoria again on Monday, and Avondale Tuesday night. It was as if the devil had drawn a red bullseye on Twilight then dared the fallen angels not to hit it.
“I don’t think we’ll have any trouble,” Laura said as she loaded a cooler of snacks and a thermos of iced tea into the back seat of their Nissan sedan. She eyed the darkening sky to the northeast.
“Just my luck it will rain while we’re gone.” Tom checked his phone was fully charged and he had maps to back up his GPS.
“At least the lawn will look better if it does.” Laura dumped her purse and a pile of magazines on the passenger side floor and climbed in the car.
He eyed the magazines. “I’m counting on you to navigate.” He took his place behind the steering wheel, adjusted the mirrors and lumbar, then hit the remote control to close the garage door.
She nodded and picked up the top magazine.
They took the long way, through Wickenburg, the road twisting and turning as it neared Yarnell. They passed dry washes, with signs designating a colorful range of names—Poplar, Copper, and some without names, just a gully running up to the road, disappearing under it then popping out on the other side.
Tom kept his eye on the haboob, but the dark skies stayed to the north and east of their destination.
“This road is making me sick.” Laura looked up from her second magazine as Tom swerved to the right on another switchback.
“I’ll slow down,” Tom said, but the road curved again, and he swung the wheel the other way.
“Watch out!” Laura grabbed his arm.
Water gushed across the road, a raging river hiding the pavement. Tom stomped on the brakes. The Nissan fishtailed then came to a shuddering rest on the edge to the water.
“Wow.” Laura had grabbed the dashboard. Fear and relief warred in her eyes.
“You okay?” he asked, his heart pounding so hard he couldn’t hear anything else.
She nodded and released her hold. “Let’s turn back.”
“Yeah.” He shifted into reverse. “I guess we don’t have to wonder if it will rain or not.” He gestured to the thunderstorm, which had grown in size and marched toward them like a doomsday machine.
“Turn back.” Laura gripped his shoulder, her eyes wild.
He stepped on the gas. The car lurched backward. Tires spun on the edge of the pavement. The force of the water grabbed the Nissan and pulled it into the current.
As they swept downstream, Tom caught sight of a sign he’d noticed at each dry wash:
Turn around, don’t drown.
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Twilight, Arizona, all the stories now available on Amazon
Visit Amazon to buy the complete Twilight volume.
Don’t want to wait until April 30th to read all twenty-six Twilight stories. For a limited time, they are available on Amazon for 99¢. From Arizona Heat to One-Zero-Zero, read and enjoy twenty-six stories set in the strange retirement community of Twilight, Arizona.
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Tomorrow’s #AtoZChallenge, April 27, 2018 X-ray, Please Pray
Xavier’s phobia of dentists isn’t the problem when a toothache forces him to visit the dentist office.
Until then, blessings,
p.s. Laura and Tom also appear in Llama Drama.by