At least the hurricane wasn’t named ‘Monica’

Image courtesy of NOAA.

As the dark clouds and the muddy waters swirl, let us pause to express our gratitude.

It could have been worse. Much worse.

The hurricane could have been named “Monica,” leaving bashful journalists deprived of verbs. How do you describe a windstorm without using the word “blow”?

Ah, but there’s no sexual connotation to that word – not according to the Clintonites, who want to move along because they’re “tired” of hearing about the lies/scandals/hypocrisy. Once again, the flatulent, huffing-their-own-gases segment of the population votes with its comfort level.

Not so for the shell-shocked denizens of the Gulf Coast, who remain glassy-eyed from the near-continuous barrage of hurricane coverage. I should be more grateful, but my eyes are still rolling in the sockets, following the leathery hand of The Weather Channel’s John Hope as he traces swirly motions over the infrared/radar/satellite image of what could be a hurricane or could be the White House after hours. It’s all a disaster looking.

Once Georges lurched ashore, it dropped brimming buckets of rain, creating an instant market for anybody who knows how to fix a leaky roof … or refloat a house.

FEMA knows how to refloat a house, especially if it’s a mansion build on a sandbar. They’ve been doing it for years, and guess whose pockets they pluck to do it. I’ll bet if the FEMA boys dug through their files, they could find a policy for Atlantis.

If the FEMAtics really want to help, give every man, woman and child in Northwest Florida his own liquor license. I’m feeling empowered already!

But I doubt the feds will cooperate. Instead, we’ll get McCarthy-era macaroni, forms in triplicate to jam under the doors, and a visit from a high-ranking official, maybe even Linda Tripp!

So let’s look on the private-sector bright side: The trend is downward for hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico, as reported in the July 23 Daily News in a story about GLOBAL WARMING. Maybe storms Charley, Early, Francis and Georges didn’t catch that part. They got to the words GLOBAL WARMING and tuned out, the way MONICA LEWINSKY affects the fashionably flawed.

But let’s not carp about GLOBAL WARMING. It’s been debunked by editorial writers everywhere, same as the infamous OZONE HOLE. Except the ozone hole is real. Oops.

Nevertheless, be of good cheer. The wet got wetter, but with luck we won’t be one of them, and even if we are, the benevolent hand of somebody – the media, the government, maybe President Bill himself – will lift us up, or at least tell us they did.

And that’s what matters: the appearance, not the substance, of a thing.

So don’t worry. When Hurricane Monica forms, it won’t come into the gulf. And if it does, macaroni is only a stack of forms in triplicate away!

About the author:

Del Stone Jr. is a professional fiction writer. He is known primarily for his work in the contemporary dark fiction field, but has also published science fiction and contemporary fantasy. Stone’s stories, poetry and scripts have appeared in publications such as Amazing Stories, Eldritch Tales, and Bantam-Spectra’s Full Spectrum. His short fiction has been published in The Year’s Best Horror Stories XXII; Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine; the Pocket Books anthology More Phobias; the Barnes & Noble anthologies 100 Wicked Little Witch Stories, Horrors! 365 Scary Stories, and 100 Astounding Little Alien Stories; the HWA anthology Psychos; and other short fiction venues, like Blood Muse, Live Without a Net, Zombiesque and Sex Macabre. Stone’s comic book debut was in the Clive Barker series of books, Hellraiser, published by Marvel/Epic and reprinted in The Best of Hellraiser anthology. He has also published stories in Penthouse Comix, and worked with artist Dave Dorman on many projects, including the illustrated novella “Roadkill,” a short story for the Andrew Vachss anthology Underground from Dark Horse, an ashcan titled “December” for Hero Illustrated, and several of Dorman’s Wasted Lands novellas and comics, such as Rail from Image and “The Uninvited.” Stone’s novel, Dead Heat, won the 1996 International Horror Guild’s award for best first novel and was a runner-up for the Bram Stoker Award. Stone has also been a finalist for the IHG award for short fiction, the British Fantasy Award for best novella, and a semifinalist for the Nebula and Writers of the Future awards. His stories have appeared in anthologies that have won the Bram Stoker Award and the World Fantasy Award. Two of his works were optioned for film, the novella “Black Tide” and short story “Crisis Line.”

Stone recently retired after a 41-year career in journalism. He won numerous awards for his work, and in 1986 was named Florida’s best columnist in his circulation division by the Florida Society of Newspaper Editors. In 2001 he received an honorable mention from the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association for his essay “When Freedom of Speech Ends” and in 2003 he was voted Best of the Best in the category of columnists by Emerald Coast Magazine. He participated in book signings and awareness campaigns, and was a guest on local television and radio programs.

As an addendum, Stone is single, kills tomatoes and morning glories with ruthless efficiency, once tied the stem of a cocktail cherry in a knot with his tongue, and carries a permanent scar on his chest after having been shot with a paintball gun. He’s in his 60s as of this writing but doesn’t look a day over 94.

Contact Del at [email protected]. He is also on Facebook, twitter, Pinterest, tumblr, TikTok, Ello and Instagram. Visit his website at .