The Legend of the Storm Stomp

Table of Contents

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

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 2019 – year fourteen. 

The Storm Stomp Founder & Storyteller – Harvie Jordan

Chapter One: Queen Zonga consults the Flat Island Society

Yah woo. Yah woo. Zonga!!

Mighty Queen Zonga adjusted her starfish crown, smoothed out her royal mola gown and put on the powerful sea stone necklace, passed down from Queen to island Queen since the dawn of time, that signified that she alone was the true ruler of Kuna. Preparing for council meetings, one should always pull out the family jewels to clearly show who was in charge and her handmaiden gently shifted the magic stones to lay properly across the Queens impressive décolletage.

News from the neighboring islands had arrived by Porpoise Post that all were preparing their evacuation plans for the coming storm season and asking for boats and manpower and doubling their regular orders for the sweet clear water that bubbled up only here on the big island of Kuna. Each season it seemed to her that more and more people from the outer islands sought shelter on Kuna from the rising seawaters . And while the new faces and big hurricane parties were welcome, it seemed that more and more chose to stay on Kuna each year. So there were problems to attend to that were almost as big as the storm itself. Maybe it was time to tax them all. She commanded her handmaiden, “Go and see if the Flat Island Society has gathered in the Great Conch Room and send me my Ramoosh, Ska the Wise. I will seek his council before I meet with the Flat ones, even if he is but a man. And hurry.”

The handmaiden quickly found Ska, flexing in the palace hall mirror, told him the Queen wished a word and skittered off to check on the gathering in the Conch Room. Ska finished pumping his biceps and headed for the Queen’s chambers. Being the Ramoosh – the Queen’s economic advisor like his father and grandfather before him – was no easy task given her mercurial temperament and haughty disdain for most island men, but it certainly beat rowing a fat pirogue full of fresh water urns around the archipelago. If only he had been chosen to race the sleek Raysail boats with their towering white sails and sturdy outriggers and adoring fans. What a life that would be. Oh well. Off to see her majesty and find a way to keep filling his coffers. I mean the coffers of Kuna of course.

“My Queen your majesty beautiful ruler of Kuna the jewel of the YalaYala Sea. What is it you desire?” He swept low, fingertips brushing the floor and eyes fixed on her pendulous amulet.

“Storm season is upon us, Ska, and I am concerned about damage to the island and the safety of our precious KunaWater but above all I fear that all these people evacuating from the outer islands will finally strain our resources beyond our means. What shall we do? Tax them or turn them away?? I need your learned council soon. And Ska” “Yes my Queen” “ I am here. Up here. Eyes up you hound!”

“Yes my Queen these are pendulous, ponderous, uh big concerns. Tax them. Hmm. Perhaps forced labor? Hmm. Allow me leave to visit the Sacred Library and i will research and report back to you soon.”

“Very well Ramoosh. But don’t take forever. I am off to meet with the Flat Island Society to hear the wisdom of the ancients and that probably won’t take very long. Get busy.”

And off Ska went, down the palace hall to the Sacred Library – men’s area on the right – and found a quiet stall to sit and think. Queen Zonga strode purposefully to the Great Conch Room, swept through the double doors and woke the snoozing Society.

“Greetings my elders. What say you this day to your Queen?”

“Greetings mighty Zonga, protector of the meek and Queen of the sweet Kuna water. We come today because the season of storm is upon us and we must tell you how it was and used to be and should be ever again. Amen” they all said. “ But the now is all screwed up and confusing and everything is so damned expensive and where did i leave my glasses? Soon the island will fill up with extra people again and we will not be able to get to the store or the bar or the docks where our drifting barges await. You must do something, Queen.”

“Yes of course gray ones, but what is it you suggest?”

“Don’t let them back up the system, we beg you. Let them stay in the Hidden Tunnels of Kuna but not so many that they clog up the works. Regular movements are essential.! We need fiber and coffee and mustard greens. The old ways are still the best! When is lunchtime? Oh forgive us mighty Queen but we spent many hours in discussions on the drifting barges, and raised many a glassful of important thoughts and now we really must nap.”

And one by one they lay their heavy gray heads on the bingi table and went to sleep.
“Fiber! Well that was crazy. But they do have a good idea about the tunnels.” And so the Queen left the Conch Room and all its loud snoring and went to the palace porch to look out over the sea, enjoy the breeze and consider all that lay ahead.

Far away, on the edge of the horizon, lightning began to flicker and flash as dark clouds gathered in long lazy lines. Ween Tah, the Storm King, lifted his regal head and shoulders above the rolling waves and shook the small storm clouds loose from his hair. He felt strong. This would be a satisfying season. In the distance, he could hear the island people chanting their bold storm songs, even though he could not make out the words. No matter. He would soon quiet their squawling voices with symphony of wind and wave and utter destruction.

Buddy you’re a cloud, puffing up proud
Spinnin all around, gonna be a big storm someday
You got spit in your eye, reach too high
Blowin your winds all over the sky.
We will we will Stomp You
We will we will Stomp You
We will we will Stomp You
We will we will Stomp You

Yah wooo Yah wooo Zonga!

Chapter Two: Can You Do the Fandango?

Yah woo! Yah woo! Zonga!

Queen Zonga clutched frantically at her ankle, startled awake from a strange and troubling dream. She reached for her magic Seastone necklace on the royal nightstand and rolled the hard stones between her fingers, assuring herself she was indeed awake and sought to make sense of the tattered images before they vanished like mist sprites fleeing the rising sun. In her dream she was riding out rough seas in the ancient shell of a giant snail, hopelessly bailing seawater with her hands, when suddenly she wasn’t alone in the shell. Sharp claws and strong tentacles were latched on to her and dragged her deeper and deeper into the darkness of the spiral shell and the waters were closing over her head. “Pay no mind to your silly dreams child” the voices of her ancestor Queens chided her, emanating from the magic necklace and filling her mind with their disappointed tone. “It is only Ween Tah the stupid storm King. He sends his dreamtime doubts like pesky Purbas to haunt your nights ahead of his arrival. But he is weak and unimaginative. Yessss Ween Tah is coming……but his time will soon pass and the Queens will still rule.”

Zonga set down the necklace, happy to know she could dismiss her bad dreams, but as always, a little nauseous from having all the old Queens rumbling around in her head. Half the time they were better counsel than her Ramoosh, Ska, but mostly they just made her dizzy. Speaking of Ska, she needed to see her advisor and see if plans to deal with all the refugees were moving along (and regular). The island’s streets and markets and public squares were starting to fill up, as the outer islands sent their populations to Kuna to shelter from the storm and she didn’t want ratty camps and their squalor growing like fungus all over her kingdom. That meeting with the Flat Island geezers at least produced one good idea: the tunnels. Yes there was plenty of room to put all these refugees in the wide pearly tunnels that permeated Kuna’s bedrock and eventually led to the Great Cavern of Cool Waters – from whence the islands signature sweet waters bubbled forth. The tunnels had been formed from countless years of burrowing by the giant periwinkles, as big as elephants, that used to populate the whole archipelago. But they were long since extinct since they were very slow and mostly very tasty when roasted on a big palm fire. Her ancestors had feasted the great snails right off the food chain and colorful friezes of the big banquets still graced the public halls and buildings. Ah those were the days. But they did leave behind great wide tunnels, smooth and pearly inside, that they had drilled all through the islands seeking the cool clear water. Plenty of room to host the refugee camps if they could just herd everyone underground and out of her sight. She would speak with Ska after breakfast. Plus she needed a last minute escort to the Raysailors Regatta Ball and he might have to do.

Meanwhile down by the docks, the Flat Island Society struggled against the growing crowds to find their slip and launch their drifting barges for mid morning mimosas and philosophical debates before the storms really started really rolling in later in the week. Already the markets were low on fish and Kuna Beer and the lines at the Pupusa stands were long and slow. Not like the good old days, they grumbled. But they loaded up and drifted on out for the day, taking a few newly retired members with them to celebrate.

Back at the palace, Ska cut short his curling session at the gym to meet with the Queen. As the Ramoosh, her economic advisor, he kept his fingers on the pulse of all the money flowing around the island and always managed to keep his fingers holding some for himself. This influx of storm refugees was just another chance to pad his portfolio. “Yes mighty Queen i am happy to report that we will begin herding, uh hosting the guests from the outer islands in the tunnels starting tomorrow. They will be underground and out of sight even before the Regatta Ball your Majesty.” He had no desire to actually attend the Grand Ball, planning instead to personally collect fees and taxes from all the islanders he tucked into the tunnels.
“Excellent, Ska, excellent. This storm may come in hard this season, and while i want to help the other islands, i do not want to upset my loyal constituents.” Sensing she was pleased, Ska begin to quietly exit the throne room and get back to the gym and its shiny mirrors.
“Wait” the Queen shouted. “ Ska Ramoosh, Ska Ramoosh, can you do the fandango?”
“Thunder bolts and lightning” he exclaimed. “ Very very frightening is how i dance, my Queen.”
“Never mind” she sighed. “ I will command the Raysailors Fleet Captain, Quarl, to be my escort. He’s handsome and single, though not quite as young as he used to be. And he likely can dance. You are dismissed.” Good he thought. I have better plans than the Ball.

Not so far out to sea, where the waves were beginning to mount higher and higher towards the noontime sun, Ween Tah shook his seaweed hair and scowled. This was the time of year he remembered the Great Giant Periwinkles and how they used to hold fast to the islands and relish the scouring of his mighty storms and would have arched their backs like great seacats being scratched if only they could. Being snails and all. But they were gone, like countless other creatures these island humans had eaten out of existence and over time his anger burned like lava. Especially for Kuna where haughty Queens had reveled in roasting his precious periwinkles at every sacred feast and holiday. In his own time he had been herding all the islanders towards big Kuna, year after year after year. This year felt like a great time to wipe them all out. “I consider it a challenge to drown the whole human race, and i aint gonna lose” he shouted to the seas and the thunderclouds. “We are the champions my waves! And we’ll wash these humans to their graves. We are the champions. We are the champions. No time for mercy for we are the champions….of the storm!” Muhahahahahaha he laughed loud to drown out the puny songs of the puny people preparing for his arrival. For back on the big island, they were shuttering their windows and bringing in their lawn chairs but mostly enjoying a crisp Kuna beer and singing their favorite song:

Buddy you’re a cloud, puffing up proud
Spinnin all around, gonna be a big storm someday
You got spit in your eye, reach too high
Blowin your winds all over the sky.
We will we will Stomp You
We will we will Stomp You
We will we will Stomp You
We will we will Stomp You

Yah wooo Yah wooo Zonga!