Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #110
…”I told those balloon guys I would help, but I think they think I am peculiar, so they put me off, the fools…
While everyone else fearfully looks for possible shelter, John Ferrell asks anyone who will listen, “Do you know anyone who will go into the Delta?” Not many even seem to listen. Those who do, shake their head no.
He is reduced to entreating a person who looks like a bum/hobo looking sluggard, feeding pigeons on a bench along Bayou St. John. He asks him the same desperate question.
John is taken aback by a response that is a possible answer.
The ragged man simply points to a rickety pier, with a strange craft lashed to its warped gray wood. An interesting chap tends to what looks like a flatboat… with what looks like a motorcar engine and fan blade mounted at the rear.
John Ferrell approaches with caution, not knowing what to make of it. He musters the courage to ask, “Mr. Catfish?”
“Close enough,” Al responds. “What do you want and why aren’t you runnin’ for the hills like the others?”
“I need to find a way to, I think they said, Pilot Town?”
“Yes, Pilot Town, a delta settlement, down the Great River Road. Hear tell the hurricane wiped it out.”
“Yea, I heard she’s mucked up.” Catfish Al is nonchalant in his account of what he knows. “I told those balloon guys I would help, but I think they think I am peculiar, so they put me off, the fools.”
“The balloons are grounded and I need to find a way to get to Pilot Town. Can you get me there?” he asks, now cautiously optimistic.
“Let’s go……….” he extends his hand begging for a name.
“John. John Ferrell.”
“Come on stranger John, sit yourself at my feet and grab those handles on either side.” Al pulls goggles over his eyes. “I wanted to outrace that northwester anyway.”
Al spins a blade, attached by an axis to a now noisy motor. After casting off tethers, he leaps to a high seat, increases power and away they go, skipping across the water like a skillfully tossed flat stone. They whiz up the bayou, meeting the waters of Lake Pontchartrain at a speed rarely achieved on land or sea.
“Keep your mouth shut!” Al shouts over the roar of the exposed engine and the whir of the blade.
No sooner than John turns to ask, “Why?” a swamp bug splats against his cheek. “Oh.” He scrapes the remains away.