My neighbor stood at the end of our driveway and continued talking as I swiped an inch worm off my arm. "Jesus," I said looking up. "What is going on?" "What do ya mean," he says, flicking an inch worm off his wrist. "What is with all the inch worms?" "Oh, don't worry about them," he says. They'll be gone as soon it rains. See ya later, Millie," and he continued on with his walk. I grabbed the mail out of the box and bolted for the house underneath a canopy of precisely one million two hundred and eight five thousand inch worms that were dangling from invisible wires hooked to the tree limbs above. Once inside I pulled two of the precisely one inch long green critters out of my hair and two more out of my bra and one off my back. I smashed them all inside a paper towel and tossed them in the trash. This was not a Stephen King movie. It was real. A few hours later Sven walked in the door and said, "What the heck is with all the inch worms?" "Don't worry," I replied. Bernie says they'll be gone as soon as we get some rain." Well, guess what? It never fucking rained in 1988. Sven says it was actually forty days and forty nights that we went without any precipitation. All I know is, that summer our state birds could barely get off the ground. But then, they didn't need to go anywhere. They just plucked up inch worm after inch worm off the grass, dirt or pavement, ate their fill, dozed in the shade, woke up and did it again. "Who needs to fly?" they said. The grass was straw. The cars were filthy. And the farmers were screwed. People were edgy. When there is no rain, there is no thunder. And when there is no thunder, there is no lightening. And when there is no lightening, there is no rain. 1988 was rough. Wisconsin was in full fledged storm withdrawal syndrome. Everyone was desperate to hear rain softly tapping on their windows. Everybody missed green. We all longed for thunder. We all dreamt of lightening. We all went to the bowling alley, just to hear the strikes. But the rain would still not come. Sven got romantic and surprised me with a cassette tape of a thunder storm, stuck it in the player, turned out the lights and aimed the fan at our bedroom window. We laid in bed that blissful night, watching the curtains fly and we listened to the rain. Because Sven and I love storms. As does everybody. I don't mean the kind that sucks your house right up out of Kansas in a big funnel and drops it off top on of a witch in a land of munchkins and flying monkeys. I mean the kind that you hear in the distance while you are tucked neatly under your covers and it is rumbling your way, The kind that makes your curtains fly. Not straight out to the side, but they flutter. The kind that has you picturing the gods in bowling shoes and throwing strike after strike. The kind that you can hear soft rain hitting your windows and pelting the earth. The kind that you can feel soaking into your freshly planted flowers, making them grow. And the kind that has water gushing out of your gutters and sending hundreds of worms swimming up to the surface. Apparently worms cannot swim. That is why they are lying there dead on your sidewalks in the morning. So, I guess not everybody loves storms. Worms do not care for storms. Do you know who else does not care for storms?
Hunter hates storms.
He is no fan.
He can detect them from far, far away.
It looks like he is honing in on something now.But that is okay. I bought him a thunder shirt. Doesn't he look handsome in it? It is going to help Hunter with his anxiety and Sven and I, with ours. You see when there is a storm, we cannot hear the thunder. We have not heard thunder since the summer of 2012, just before Hunter moved in. Now we only hear barking when it thunders. And then I hear barking and Sven yelling at Hunter for barking, when it thunders. And then Sven hears Hunter barking and me yelling at him for yelling at Hunter when it thunders. But with this new device everything is going to be hunky dory. Hunter is not going to get all bent out of shape with his hair standing up, running from window to window, shooting his mouth off at the sky. And Sven isn't going to shoot his mouth off at Hunter and I am not going to shoot my mouth off at Sven. We will all just lay around and listen to the storm. Just like the old days.
That almost looks like a bark is coming.