Gonna Be A Scorcher

by Ward Parkway

   At ten o'clock there was no longer any doubt that something was horribly wrong with the temperature. Not only was it over 110 degrees farenheit in The City, but reports were coming in from all over the country, the world in fact, of skyrocketing temperatures. New York was already 118, breaking all known records. Atlanta, 124; Houston, 129; Mexico City, an unbelievable 136!

   The old and the sick were dropping like flies. Power outages were beginning to occur simultaneously all over as every cooling device to be found was pressed into service. As soon as the electricity was dead, offices and dwellings became ovens almost instantaneously. People fled screaming from buildings like rats, with some heading for basements and subterranean parking lots hoping to escape the sweltering heat. All accessible bodies of water were clogged with people desperate for relief, but these too were beginning to warm. Water temperatures soon soared above 100 degrees, then 110 and so on, slowly parboiling those who sought its refuge.

   One o'clock passed, and the reverberating sounds of near and distant booming betrayed the explosions of water and gasoline tanks. At first intermittent, then faster just like popcorn, then slowing and finally silence again, all within ten minutes or so. Nobody stirred above ground, so no one witnessed the tires melting blackly beneath cars and trucks. Glass began to sag, then gave way, puddling in shiny pools beneath gaping panes. Smoke from thousands of flaming meadows and fields hung in the stifling air. Rivers of government-stored cheese flowed like lava from the limestone cave warehouses outside Kansas City, swallowing up trees and deluging the aluminum buildings of nearby industrial parks. The countless white bodies of fish tossed about in the bubbling churnings of oceans as they boiled away. By two p.m. all life had ceased, even that driven far underground, leaving a parched, dead landscape strewn with skeletons both organic and mechanical. There was only silence and heat.

   The clock radio came suddenly to life, rousing Jack from his fitful slumber. As he groggily pulled the sweat-soaked sheet from his body, he rolled his head sideways to see the L.E.D. displaying 7:00 a.m.. The room felt unnaturally warm for so early in the morning. It was apparent that today would be a scorcher.

©1996 Jim Leftwich - All Rights Reserved