Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #102

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #102

Chapter Six

A FRESH ONE HUNDRED

…“The line is dead,” John Ferrell laments, in a vain attempt to retrieve some news as to the extent of the storm now passed/past…

Hurricane-001

Torrential rain, straight-line winds, hurtling debris;  Gadsden County  endures ten hours of the worst conditions that this planet can produce, a force so strong that thirty miles of continent cannot subdue it. The “storm of the century” arrives in the last months of the 19th Century’s last year.

John and Martha Ferrell did spend the night huddled in a closet, with Agnes, listening as one by one, south and east side windows blow in, sometimes with a projectile, sometimes by the sheer force of the sustained wind. Their house of stone stands sturdy. Neither they nor it know what has hit them. Daylight will reveal more than they want to see.

One thing they do see, trees previously having hidden it from sight, is the Endlichoffer chalet. They were no doubt brave, but now lay horizontal for their trouble. As a testament to Ziggy’s carpentry skills, his wooden structure passes the earnest test. One can only assume that the morning finds the occupants fine as well.

What the eye can see, the mind can only imagine. The two fastest vehicles for communication, the telegraph and the more recent invention telephone, depend on wires suspended on poles. It is unlikely that those poles are standing, as those with a telephone find out.

“The line is dead,” John laments, in a vain attempt to retrieve some news as to the extent of the storm now passed/past. He was hoping that his friend at the Tallahassee Democrat, the area newspaper, could shed some light on this apparent disaster. Did the damage extend east to Tallahassee proper, or did in fact strike to the west, perhaps threatening the lives of his son and daughter-daughter-in-law, perhaps on their way back from New Orleans.

And to think this was a glancing blow.

“I am going to check on Joseph. He probably stayed in the barn to keep the animals calm. Then I am going to check on Siegfried and Frieda, and finally ride on into town.” John’s plan is sound, the only way they will know what happened.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #102


page 93

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #101

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #101

… Out of nowhere, the shallow based ship pitches to the port side, tossing passengers about like rag dolls…

Robert Irwin Oil

300 miles to the west of San Luis Lake and into the dark of night, a happy couple is about to wrap their wedding holiday in grand style, with a riverboat cruise into the Mississippi River Delta. The stern-wheeler is outfitted for delight, restaurant and jazz bands dotting the large decks.

James and Abigail have previously digested the city of New Orleans through the eyes (and stomach) of youth; such are the sinfully rich pleasures by those who may well be aligned with the “dark one”. It is no place for the feint of heart or those who easily blush. Neither are they so innocent, but for being accustomed to a more sedate lifestyle. Their eyes have been sufficiently opened wide.

It is about time to return to normal.

But not until a floating experience that will cap what has been a glorious beginning to married life. With innocence mostly intact, they plan on making the most of this evening preceding their return to the real world.–

–The boat is fully loaded this 8 September Friday night, with one hundred other eager cruisers ready to leave the dock. The lot of them are equally ignorant to what is about to come, including the crew, who navigate in the artificial light of beacons. They cannot see the swirling mass of weather above their heads.

If ignorance can be used as an excuse, then the fact that they were miles downstream, when they had no business leaving the dock, may be ignored.

Out of nowhere, the shallow based ship pitches to the port side, tossing passengers about like rag dolls. The Ferrells are dislodged from their dinner seats.

“Hang on to me, Abbey!” James protects his bride from unexpected and unknown forces.

“What’s happening?” a clueless question shared by all.

“I don’t know, but it looks like we’ve come about, heading back to the dock.”

The paddle-wheeler has indeed turned around, driven more by wind and water than steam. In fact, it feels like they are one giant surfboard, riding the crest of a fifteen foot high surge. They are propelled northward with the water, not gaining one knot of speed or foot of distance between them and the wave.

James leads Abbey to the lifeboats, thinking it an option, then thinking twice. Upon seeing an overturned lifeboat crash against the west bank, they grab life jackets.

“Put this on. We are heading for the middle of the ship.”

Getting past a panicking mob proves to be a challenge, with no two people going in the same direction, let alone looking like they have a plan.

The crew’s directions are not clear, more used to light chop or the wake from passing ships. Storm surge from a hurricane is completely another thing. The Captain and helmsman find the rudder has no effect. “Let’s get as far inland as we can,” is the Captain’s only hope for survival.

James and Abbey gain the main ballroom, lashing themselves to one of the support beams. They hang on for dear life in each others arms, their future teetering in the balance, looking now like a mere distant horizon.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Hurricane-001

Episode #101


page 92 (end Ch. 5)

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #96

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode # 96

…Thankfully, with due respect to the dear departed Mr. Finkle, there are still a score of guests waiting in line; Edna is prompted to shuffle off to food and drink…

Meanwhile

In the receiving line after James & Abigail’s wedding

“Are you going on a wedding holiday?” asks Edna Finkle, one of the Ferrell Groceries’ first Edna Finkle-001and most loyal customers, thus deemed longtime observer of the Ferrell family saga.

“Yes, Mrs. Finkle. We are taking the train to New Orleans. It sounds like an exciting city.”

“Oh my, yes, I should say. I remember when Mr. Finkle was alive; we spent a month there one week,” as opposed to when he was dead. “It is a spicy town though, filled with people that seem to defy the conventional.”

They are kind to the eighty-something woman, if for no other reason than she is a walking billboard for their stores; gladly singing the praises, all the while during her weekly four hour assembling of her week’s worth of goods.

“We will be staying at the Vieux Carre …………”

“The Olde Square, my yes. Mr. Finkle so loved the food in that part of town. I believe we left before the yellow fever outbreak, you know, back in 1878.” The well-meaning elderly woman is doing nothing to help the Crescent City’s unhealthy reputation, but youngsters have an air of invulnerability about them, tending to ignore danger, in exchange for adventure.

Thankfully, with due respect to the dear departed Mr. Finkle, there are still a score of guests waiting in line; she is prompted to shuffle off to food and drink. “I’ll take one of those, sonny.” She is handed a glass of champagne, grabbing a back-up, claiming, “I cannot stay long— close to my bedtime, you know.”


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode # 96


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