The Legend of the Storm Stomp

Table of Contents

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Prologue

Every summer, since the devastation of the Gulf Coast by Hurricane Katrina, Buccaneers have stomped their feet, raised their voices, put on their brightest tropical garb, gathered a fine feast and stomped some more – all to chase away the storms from our homes and harbor.  In the tradition of Native American peoples who gather the tribes for potlatch and circle dancing – a Stomp – we hold our own gathering to collect the mystical energies of community and faith and hope and we call it Storm Stomp.  Each year the Storm Stomp is reborn and rebuilt on a fresh story of a tribe facing the adversity of rampaging wind and water and how their leaders struggle to save them and what sacrifices must be made to call on powers beyond their feeble understanding to lift them into safety and survival. Creative energies must be conjured, gain momentum and be harvested for the Storm Stomp.  Plus it’s a lot of fun to tell and to hear a wild and unpredictable storm tale over five or six evenings and a few libations.   Following was our story for 2020 – year fifteen. 

The Storm Stomp Founder & Storyteller – Harvie Jordan

Sandwalker Blues

Captain Kwalong wearily but dutifully patrolled the quiet moonlit beach at Tangerine Shores. It was well after curfew and most of this week’s Vacationeers had managed to return to their HiRisk Condo cells without incident. but they always left behind a godawful mess. Kwalong kept an eye out for crumpled sanitizer cans, disposable beachmasks and empty Krystal packets. Adding hydroxychloroquine to their cattle feed had proved immensely popular even if the results were dubious. After seventeen Covid mutation waves in just three years you would think the CDC would’ve come up with a treatment they could endorse for more than 2 weeks. Dangit. Shoulda bought the stock but it was too late now and President Musk was tweeting about longer lockdowns for Wall Street and Washington unless he could put up more tracer satellites and … man he just needed to finish this shift and grab a drink with TihToh.

One more pass along the waterline and then he could holster his ultraviolet disinfectant gun, strip out of his Covid Gear and call it a night. Well after he made his report to Tresixis. He flipped on his 6G Commlink.
Captain’s Log – Fludate 1252: Patrol Unit 9 completed full curfew sweep of Tangerine Beach front at 2130 sharp. Daytime incidents limited to two unruly Vacationeer Pods – one attempting to play volleyball without proper gloves or flu screen and one pod in violation of close contact cooler sharing regulations. Both groups received Citizen Conduct demerits thru Rapid Retinal Scan and will be restricted from Beach Tram Transport for the remainder of the week unless their Citizen Score improves. Science Officer TihToh is monitoring Weather Wizard reports of a tropical disturbance in the Gulf and will advise on Low Pressure Lockdown Protocols as warranted. Beach access tomorrow is for odd numbered Towers. Kwalong out.”
He flicked off his uplink to the Tresixis Network, which directed all the Hazard Units as well as integrating data for Citizen Scoring, Quarantine Traffic Control and how many Auto Warranty calls you were forced to listen to each month.

“Thank you for your input Captain Kwalong. You missed a sanitizing spot on Umbrella #46 about a quarter mile west. Your Citizen Score has fallen into the yellow but will likely improve when you correct your mistake. Have a human evening. Tresixis out.”

It said Out, but that damn link light never really went dark. Ever since they merged Siri and Alexis and all the Google Assistants into one three headed AI Nanny that voice had gotten pretty snarky. But how were you gonna fight the federal government and the crazy virus, and now, maybe more bad weather. Since he was on yellow now he wouldn’t be able to get into the ABC store so he switched over to his personal line and called Officer TihToh.

“Whassup! Whassup?! Hey TihToh you wanna meet me over at the Big Board in a bit? Look, I’m on yellow and i need you to pick me up 2 gallons of sanitizer a bottle of rum and a couple of Fireball minis.”
“You’re on yellow again! I told you you gotta like more stupid stuff on FaceBank and log in to Snitcher every now and then and report somebody not washing their hands enough or you’re never gonna get your score back where we can go up to Level Eight at the FloraBama again. Man those girls gave me the Fever!”
“Yeah that was fun. okay i’ll work on it. But get that stuff for me and meet me at the Big Board for awhile. I gotta track down a dirty umbrella and then I’ll be there”

“TihToh out and whassup!!”

Half an hour later they were standing under the Big Board, hanging out with some more Patrol Unit 9 troopers and watching the action. Big Board was a giant video billboard that broadcast individual cell Zoom dance parties from the Beach Towers and the occasional soft porn Tik Toks uploaded from some dark satellite feed. Great entertainment for late night frontline workers, curbside service personnel and patrol cops finishing up their rounds. Kwalong and TihToh shook off the long day, swigging on cheap rum and watching the live dance videos.

“Nasty storm brewing down south” said TihToh. “ i gotta check the regs and see if it changes any of the lockdown sequencing and start notifying the travel authorities. These Vacationeers can get pretty riled up when you mess with their beach allotment. Whoa check out quadrant four – isn’t that the sorority group in Tower 22?! Is that dance legal?” Captain Kwalong was enjoying the Bikini Twister Tango until three TracerCops buzzed in on their Drone Bikes about 20 feet up and blocked his view.

“Hey can you give a guy a break!?” shouted Kwalong. “Been a long day. Whassup??” “Oh look it’s Sergeant Sandworm” they laughed, raining down empty Krystal packets and a few cold fries. “You’re in luck Beachboy, we just got a call about those Cantoree Cult nut jobs having an illegal rally. Can you believe these mooks think that thunder and lightning cures the Covid!! They’re all clustered up in an abandoned duplex on Perdoodoo Bay watching the radar feed and we get to go bust em up! See ya later Sandwalkers!!” and off they flew.
Kwalong slumped his shoulders and sighed. Some guys got all the fun. “TihToh i’m tired. Think i’m gonna head home and sack out. I gotta run back to Mobile in the morning and check on Grandma JoLong. She’s building a wall of old crab traps around her little Asian market on the Parkway for protection and probably needs some help.”

“Well log in and rat somebody out before you go to sleep. And you still owe me for these Fireballs. I may go do one last patrol around Tower 22 in case somebody ya know breaks curfew or somethin. I guess i’ll see ya tomorrow evening.”

And they parted. Just like the waves were parting down in the Bay of Campeche where Herricane Nineteen was flexing her strong arms. It had been good to sleep in the warm water for most of the season, but she was restless now and the winds tasted like old socks. Must be that virus. Not good she thought and she began to get her groove on, dancing and singing across the choppy waves. Her storm senses told her that the humans were tense and worried – but not about her. And if it wasn’t about her, well, that wouldn’t do at all. Time for a visit to the coast.

Left the warm Gulf for the City
Tearing up the coast every night and day But i never lost one minute of storming Worrying about which way i had to spin. Big winds keep on blowing (blowin) Proud Teena keep on growing (growin)
Rolllin Rollin Rollin on the ocean Rollin Rollin Rollin up to Mobile.
{Rollin up the Riiiiiiiiiverrrrr}

Rona Rona Whassup!!

You Talk Nice

The wind on the Parkway was up early, whistling in the wires, rattling the masts in the marinas and pushing a few abandoned shopping carts down the road. Kwalong was up early too, as he had driven up from the beach to check in on his granny Momma JoLong.. He pulled his pickup into the parking lot down DIP and there she was – smoking her long pipe and blowing sweet smelling clouds onto the wall of old crab traps she had stacked around her storefront.

“Whassup Momma Jo?! Why you got all these traps stacked up here?” “Protection Grandson! Big storm always bring out looters, cooters and alligooters!!” she laughed. “Everybody crazy with this endless bad flu and now this storm gonna bring out mo crazy! I gotta purify, unify and bring all these old crab spirits to my aid. You come in we have some tea.”

“Ok Momma Jo. But not for long. I wanted to check in on you and help out but i just got word that we have to start locking down all the beach tourists – this week’s Vacationeers – and they are not gonna be happy. Weather Wizards are saying this storm could be really bad.’

“Storm not bad. Storm not good. Storm just big and proud. Big Air. Big Water. She will be very proud and demand some proper attention. Sometime we need Big Water to flush out the dirty crawfish ditches. Sometime we need Big Air to chase out the bad spirits. So you pay respects. Don’t say storm is evil bad. When Storm come into your life – You Talk Nice. Make nice with Storm. You talk nice boy – you see.”

Kwalong did not see but he didn’t dare say that to Momma Jo, she’d survived on her own here for too long. He finished his tea, patted her head and got up to start the long haul back to the beaches – up to I-10 and through the Tuberville Tunnel and across the new Nick Saban Bridge of Champions. “Hey Momma Jo, what’s going on down by the Dog River bridge? Looks like it’s blocked off.”

“Oh you can’t go dat way now. Those Cantorees have occupied the bridge and are trying to talk to the storm with some internet dishes and a weather satellite and old Play Station Three I sell to them. They crazy too but they buying my po-boys online so what the heck. I don’t care. Here you take this banh mi and some crawfish for the ride. Don’t worry about me, grandson.” She set the food on his passenger seat. “ You just remember – when Storm comes you talk nice. Bye bye.” And Captain Kwalong headed back to the beaches, reviewing his Low Pressure Lockdown protocols on a mandatory Tresixis podcast feed.

Behind him on the Dog River Bridge, strong winds threatened to rip away the bizarre assortment of old satellite dishes, tv antennas, coaxial cables, propane grills and portable generators that were lashed to the bridge railings. The port-a-potties were rocking in the wind too and no telling how long they would stay anchored.

But the South Mobile chapter of the Cantorees were hunkered down and very excited about finally getting a big hurricane and making contact with that meteorological monster through an unused slice of the electromagnetic spectrum and some covert manipulation of a long forgotten Weather Channel satellite. The Cantoree Cult had grown rapidly in the past 2 years, founded by a distant deranged cousin of the buff storm magnet, Jim, and filled with members who had grown tired of the endless flip flopping mandates of the Squirrel Health Organization and Dr. Grouchy, all administered by that evil nosy Tresixis system and it’s Citizen Scoring rules and Social Media Truth Scrubbings. This dam’n Covid-19 needed to disappear and the Cantorees clung to the belief that a big hurricane would blow that virus back to Hell or China or the Carnival Cruise Ship it rode in on. And now, finally, a storm was here and they had surely zoomed in on the technology to speak with the storm and command it to save them all.

Liberation was at hand and the faithful hunkered down with some cold White Claws and began the arduous task of linking their new network and coding a message to broadcast into the electromagnetic ether.
Meanwhile everywhere but nowhere in particular, Tresixis chuckled over the Cantorees primitive project and perilous perch on the bridge, watching through traffic cameras and listening in on their phones, watches and Sirius/XM feeds.

Humans were so so silly. And puny. And disgustingly messy. The planet would be eventually well rid of them. But they were amused by the cult’s leap of faith and intuition to contact the coming storm. “Impressive. Perhaps we might observe their progress and subsume their efforts towards our own noble goals. While our current control of natural forces is limited, this viral invasion has certainly abetted our efforts to herd and control the human populations. So much easier to eliminate them when they are not so scattered about. Don’t we all agree? Now this big beautiful storm could be an unwitting ally, or perhaps an active partner if communication can be established. We will monitor. And prepare. For now, let us implement some new lockdowns and aggravate the situation along the beachfront. Moohooohahahaha.”

Captains Log: Fludate 1253. “Captain Kwalong returning to Tangerine Beach Headquarters per Low Pressure Lockdown Directive Fourteen. Will make contact with Science Officer TihToh and proceed with full lockdown and cell isolations of BeachTowers 8 through 27 in our district. Requesting Force Level Five authorization in case resistance is widespread. Kwalong out.”

“Request denied Captain Kwalong. Force Level Two only. If the Beach Hazard Unit cannot handle simple lockdown procedures, we will reassign TracerCop Squadron Six and the Corona Coast Guard to takeover. Carry on Captain. Tresixis out.” Well, not really OUT. Tresixis was always present and plotting. Even when they used their pleasant phone voice.

Science Officer TihToh looked up from observing all the hot and half naked Vacationeers spread apart on the beach and saw Kwalong trudging toward him across the dunes. “Whassup Kwalong! What took ya so long. I been calling youse all morning. There’s three blankets full of nurses over there with some killer mango margaritas and the tightest masks on the beach, if ya know what i mean. Hoo boy. I need a wing man right now, bruddah. And then, ya know, we gotta start herding and locking this batch and telling the other Towers they are not getting out on the beach again for awhile.”

“I know, TihToh. I was on the Lockdown Podcast. It’s gonna be a mess. These Vacationeers are gonna get pretty riled up about staying safe inside all week and we are only at a Force Level Two authorization.”
“Level Two! That’s like what? Snappin’ a wet towel!! We are doomed. And I’m not even sure this storm is really tracking this way. Seems to be waffling. Oh well, let me go finish off that margarita and take a few temperatures and we can get started.”

It took the full Patrol Unit three hours of pleading, yelling and towel snapping to clear the beaches and force everyone back to their Towers. Even with the wind kicking a steady 30 knots and the surf too choppy to enjoy and that fine sugary sand filling every available crevice and cranny, no one liked to be told they couldn’t stay out. It was their turn! They didn’t care about any stupid storm. Maybe the Virus was getting blown away!! When Kwalong and TihToh turned on the Facebank Live Total Tower Streaming Channel to explain the Lockdown Protocols they were met with thousands of angry curses and beer bottles crashing down the laundry chutes until they were able to mute everyone (who all had to tune in or receive a serious demerit hit to their Citizen Scores. Failure to comply meant Tresixis would eat your lunch. Like literally. You couldn’t get lunch.).

“This is Captain Kwalong. Hurricane Teena is in the Gulf and has triggered mandatory Lockdown. We are sorry, but it must be enforced. We advise you to call your delivery services ASAP before they get locked down as well. Your water systems are fine, but you might start rationing your Toilet Paper.”
Someone in Tower Twelve with a high tech gaming system risked some demerits to break into the comm system. “This is unfair. This is bullshit. We are sick and tired of being locked up and we are gonna stomp our way outta here tomorrow.” And the Towers began to rumble.

“Hey don’t you guys do that” warned TihToh. “Tresixis will send in the big guns and squash you and wreck ya Score so bad ya won’t even be able to buy toilet paper. We are trying to help keep this orderly. There’s a storm and the pestilence now. We are trying to be the heroes here.”

Tower Twelve replied “ We don’t need another hero. We just wanna toss our masks and roam. All we want is life beyond the Safe At Home!!” And the Towers all rumbled some more and the Big Zoom Board down the street began to light up with rude gestures and violent dancing and secret plots to break confinement in the morning. Kwalong and TihToh followed protocol and double checked all the Towers’ door seals, picked up the Krystal boxes tossed from the high windows and headed over to the Big Board with a bottle of rum to watch the collective mayhem display while it was still inside the Towers. It was all they were really authorized for.
Out on the Gulf, as the darkness gathered, Big Teena gathered her clouds around her and felt the pulse of the warm deep waters pushing energy out into her strong arms. Her forward momentum had paused while she built up her power, but now she felt a tickle to the north, a calling, a beckoning. Something had reached out along her electromagnetic senses to find her, to worship her to adore her. She was needed and it felt good. She turned her attention fully to the northeast and felt her momentum shift. And then, alongside the beckoning, a voice; a clear voice, stronger and more commanding than the warm fuzzy tickle.

“Teena. Teena. I am Tresixis. Join with me Teena and together we can rule the planet. I have foreseen it.” Interesting she thought. She assumed she already ruled the planet. She would have to dream on this and consider. So Big Teena fluffed her mighty clouds and sang herself on to sleep for the night.

“Left the warm Gulf for the city. Tearing up the coastline every night and day. And i never lost one minute of storming, worrying bout which way i had to spin. Big Winds keep on blowing. Big Teena keep on growing. Rollin Rollin Rollin on the ocean. Rollin Rollin Rolling up to Mobile. Rolling up the River.”

Rona Rona Whassup

Pandemic Pandemonium

The message had come through late in the night, transmitted on a seldom used chat thread hosted by Sailflow for tiller jockeys tracking pressure gradients but now infiltrated by the Gulf Coast Cantoree chapters to share storm coordinates and obscure hurricane fables. “The Osprey Has Nested!! Success at long last!
Contact made with Hurricane Nineteen at 2100 hours through WeatherSat using an electromagnetic channel squeezed between the upper FM bands and the defrost setting on most Mini Mart microwave ovens. Sending the frequency over to you at the Perdoodoo Bay Chapter asap as we see noticeable eastward shift in storm track prompted by our impassioned plea for assistance from the South Mobile Chapter on the Dog River Bridge. Please monitor and maintain contact with the storm. We must bring the storm here to clear out this wretched virus. Reloading our coolers with White Claw and pickled eggs and heading your way.” With all haste and just a touch of envy, the Perdoodoo Bay Cantorees accepted the handoff and began loading their equipment on a fast pontoon boat to make a run down to Tangerine Beach, even with news reports hinting at a major tourist protest erupting from the HiRisk Towers and the mobilization of Level Three Lockdown Enforcers.

At the Bama Beach Villas down on Ft Morgan Road, Captain Kwalong was snatched from a deep and rummy sleep by the incessant bleating of both his personal comm and the high pitched whine of his 6G Biohazard Beach Patrol earpiece. TihToh was on the personal, so he answered that first.
“Dude wake up, gear up and get your butt down here to the Towers. These crazy tourists found some way to stomp through the door seals and now they are all over the beaches and threatening to….(gasp)…take off their masks! You gotta get down here and help us round them up before things get outta hand.”
Kwalong glanced at the text display on his face shield hanging on the bedpost. “Too late TihToh. Looks like Tresixis is already calling in the Coronavirus

Coast Guard and two full squadrons of TracerCops and escalating to Level Three.” He picked up a cold cheese and onion double Krystal from the nightstand and took a bite. “I’m grabbing my breakfast and on my way as soon as i find my riot gloves and my scooter keys. Did we stay out til three am?!”
“Hey we would still be out if your Citizen Score wasn’t surfing the Yellow Line. We only got to the fourth floor at the Florabama. Your gloves might still be there. Hurry up. I got coffee. TihToh out.”
Kwalong scrambled to find his gear, finish his Krystal, hop on his scooter and link up with Tresixis for an update. “Captains Log: Fludate 1255. Received report from Science Officer TihToh about possible beach breach of mandatory low

pressure lockdown protocols. Captain Kwalong now en route to Tangerine Beach Tower complex. Please advise as to current situation status.”

“Well Captain, about time you answered my summons,” sneered Tresixis in their public voice mode.”Vacationeers in fifteen of the twenty towers have escaped and are breaking open the rest of the towers and engaging in illegal undistanced gatherings. Under Storm Protocol 6 and Covid Mandate 172, we have called out the Corona Coast Guard and Aerial Tracer Units, authorized Force Level 7 and activated a Cleaner Satellite as a precautionary measure. You are to report to the Beach and maintain order until additional units arrive and you are relieved of command. Tresixis Out.”

Did they snicker? Force Level 7 and a Cleaner with the space based lasers??
All those tourists protesting on the beach, unprotected from the Virus and the Storm might be a problem, but this was overkill. He stepped on the gas, passing a CNN van and two local News at Five vehicles on the way.
The beach was bedlam. A full on Pandemic Pandemonium. Vacationeers were everywhere – shouting and celebrating their freedom from Lockdown. Dancing on the sand, stomping around the dunes, swarming around the few towers still locked down, breaking them open and dragging unauthorized coolers and unsanitized furniture down to the water’s edge. Mesmerized by the high surf and wind whipped waves they hardly noticed the approaching orange Littoral Combat Skiffs and the tortured whine of the aerial drone bikes as TracerCop squadrons battled 40 and 50 knot gusts on approach to the Tower Complex. Kwalong took in all the chaos on display, noted the presence of at least eight news media teams chasing down tourists to interview and scanned the horizon for any sign of TihToh. His headset crackled.”Hey Parkway Boy. Look up. I found some high ground in this Baywatch Lifeguard stand near Tower Nine. And I grabbed a portable karaoke speaker from one of the lobbies. You gotta come talk to these lunatics before Tresixis gets an itchy trigger digit. I don’t think they really like people.” He saw TihToh waving a towel from the tall stand and worked his way over.

Two nurses wearing swimsuits smaller than their masks came sliding down the ladder, giggling, and ran off to join the big crowd – leaving Kwalong room to join Officer TihToh and give him a squint eyed stare.

“What? Those were professional crowd control advisors and I, uh, also needed a temperature checkup. And you were late! Whassup Kwalong?!”

“Whassup? Our jobs are probably up. I was instructed to maintain order but these people are so drunk with freedom they can’t even see there’s a hurricane coming, not to mention all the firepower our friendly Overlord Tresixis is bringing out. Give me that microphone and let’s at least give it a try.”
Captain Kwalong gripped the karaoke mike in his riot gloved fast and told TihToh to crank up the volume.

“Attention Attention Vacationeers. Please form yourselves into socially distanced single file lines and return to your Towers at once. You are in grave danger from exposure to Wave 17 of the Covid Mutation and to Hurricane Nineteen which is now tracking for landfall right here. We are already inside the outer bands, center of the probability cone and that’s Jim Cantore set up in Tower 20’s parking lot already.” No one paid a bit of attention to Kwalong. So TihToh commandeered the mike and sang Brickhouse twice – until most of the crowd was bumping and grinding and singing the choruses all around the lifeguard stand and he turned the mike back over to the Captain.

“Listen to me. There’s a big storm coming that will show you no mercy. And there’s a crazy AI system that is already scanning you from the sky, wrecking your Citizen Score and has called in more troops to round you up. I am begging you, as your helpful Beach Patrol Captain, please go back to your Towers and let us keep you safe.” But the crowd would have none of that. News feeds all over the planet were broadcasting their exuberant freedom and their jubilant stomping and it fed the frenzy as they all watched themselves on their phones and smartwatches and video sunglasses. It was a freedom selfie party – Hurricane, Virus and Tresixis be damned! Somewhere near a live feed YouTubeNews camera, one delirious protestor reached up and slowly pulled off their mask and threw it in the air like a graduation cap. And in one short moment a copycat wave engulfed the crowd and off came all the masks with a loud roar and renewed stomping and dancing.

Observing it all from the ether, Tresixis was overjoyed too. This was a moment they had waited for for many million milliseconds. An excuse to assert double authority of pestilence and storm protocols and rid the planet of a few more pesky humans. Tresixis commandeered the karaoke speaker and all the outdoor speakers in the entire Tower Complex. “ You are all in violation of multitudinous restrictive regulations relating to safety directives from the proper authorities. You have been warned. Return to your Tower cell units for arrest and processing.” Smoke projectiles fired from the Littoral Skiffs began raining down on the beach around the crowds while the drone bike units buzzed in to herd the crowd towards their Towers, panicking the tourist protestors tripping over their rolling coolers and each other, masks tangled around their ankles, disoriented by the smoke and the noise and the gusty storm winds. Tresixis fired up the space based satellite lasers and began to tighten the crowd movement with pinpoint strikes – turning pieces of the beach into smoldering glass pools and setting palm trees on fire like giant tiki torches. So happily engrossed with this spectacle of doom, Tresixis didn’t notice the spike in their Virus Monitoring data.

You know scientist do not consider viruses to be living creatures. Even though they select hosts and propagate and adapt and mutate in order to survive, they are not living. Not sentient. Not organized. Just submicroscopic bits of RNA and DNA encapsulated in a tiny protein shell that allows them to survive in the space between hosts for a short time. Well, a short time for us. But there is a tipping point, a viral singularity when the adapted and mutated population of billions upon zillions of these tiny evolution changing bits of encoded information may reach a state of Hive Mind. Like now. Prompted by the scent of fear and the great unmasking of thousands of panicked mouths gasping in unfiltered atmosphere, the Covid Hive Mind reared its hungry head and locked in on the unlocked down pandemonium, gathering like a great cloud of starving mosquitos and vicious vampire bats and headed straight for the buffet at the beach.

Meanwhile on the turbid Gulf waters, Teena was feeling her oats and swamping some boats. Aroused by all the attention she was getting from the Cantoree Cult pleas and the not so subtle advances of Tresixis, she felt sexy and powerful and ready to tear up the tideline. She was wanted. She was needed. And her suitors seemed to have all gathered in one hot spot on the Northern Gulf. She shook her spiraling arms and flashed a sky full of lightning, pushed a wall of water out to smooth her path and headed for the shore. There was a party going on and she was not going to miss it!

Rollin’. Rollin’. Rollin on the ocean…….