The Legend of the Storm Stomp

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!

Chapter Three: Tiller Towards Trouble

Yah woo! Yah woo! Zonga!

Ska the Ramoosh worked late into the night, packing the the refugees from the smaller islands into the tunnels of Kuna and packing the loot into his pockets and purses. He and his team of menacing tax collectors fleeced the frightened folk of coin and script and shell and jewelry and the occasional bottle of smuggled rum. They would now be safe from the coming storm hidden in the tunnels and safe from robbers and looters since they had no more loot! And the streets would be clear of camps and squatters when the Queen drove home from the evening’s festivities and that would make everyone happy. Already the winds were building to a steady roar and Ska could just make out the faint sounds of the band’s closing number, carried across the harbor to his tired ears from the Raysailors Regatta Ball. Storm would be here soon, but Ska was ready and in the morning he would teach these foreigners to sing and stomp like real Kuna warriors.

Queen Zonga heard the last notes from the band as well, as she was squired into the royal carriage by Quarl the handsome fleet captain, her escort for the Ball and champion Raysailor.

“Where to, your Highness” asked the coachman. To avoid complications, she never kept the same address.

“Let’s go to royal apartment number six. Palatial, yet cozy” she said and pulled Quarl close into her corner of the seat and spoke softly in his ear.

“You may need to grab the tiller and set your Queen on a course of stress relief tonight.”

Tiller towards trouble, Quarl thought, but just said simply “Yes my Queen.”

“I am worried” she confided, “ about this wicked storm approaching. Ween Tah the Storm King has been haunting my dreams and i am not ready to sleep this night. So many people sheltering on the island, so much preparation to be done. I fear this will be a bad bad year.”

“Do not fear my bountiful Queen, the Raysailors will protect the island. We are strong and fast and true. We will sail our mighty vessels clockwise around the island through the storm and wind. We will sail so fast and high that we will spin a vortex around the island and stop Ween Tah in his tracks!” Quarl’s excitement at being so close to the beautiful and powerful Zonga may have gone to his head a bit, but the Queen got caught up in this vision, too.

“I will draw power from my magic seastones,” she gasped. “ I will supercharge your vessels so the sails stand tall and stiff in the storm and help you sail harder and faster and faster and harder until you cover the island in your powerful vortex!! Yesss!” she pulled Quarl’s tousled head tight to her pendulous necklace and urged the coachman to drive faster into the windy night.

But the Queens of old murmured restlessly in the back of her mind. Oooh handsome and brave too. She’s had too much coconut wine. You would think this was her first regatta ball. SHE MUST WAKE IT. I remember my first ball, so many tanned and strapping sailors. And those wonderful little crab cakes! Raysailor Vortex ha! The boats will not be enough. SHE MUST WAKE THE SLEEPER. It’s been too long. What? For a sailor or the Sleeper? WE MUST TELL HER WHAT HIBERNATES IN THE HEART OF KUNA. IT MUST BE CALLED. But it will be hungry and there are no more of those big tasty periwinkles. NO MATTER – SHE MUST WAKE THE WATERMAKER, THE SNAIL EATER, THE STORM KILLER. Soon. We will tell her soon. Just shut up and enjoy a little romance for a change. Oh you shut up. no you. SHHHHHH.

And while Queen Zonga and Quarl rode happily off to apartment number six and Ska filled his pockets and the pearly periwinkle tunnels, the Flat Islanders drifted far offshore through the night. A long debate about wearing socks with sandals and who remembered why cousin Joel never married and a side conversation about the best time of the moon to plant sunburst tomatoes, enhanced by a two gallon jugs of homemade 125 proof Kuna rum had coalesced into a particular long and deep nap time for everyone on the pontoon and the shifting tide and swirling winds drew the ancients right to the foot of the Storm King’s throne of waves as the sun begin to rise. They woke to a churning sea of towering swells and swirling winds, screaming gulls and frenzied frigates, frantically grabbing their rum cups as the winds began to sweep them off the boat, and turned to scowl full into the face of Ween Tah. “Dang, son, you pert near knocked our cups overboard and we aint even finished our discussions yet! You need some manners and can you back that breeze off a couple of knots, you are messing with what’s left of my hair!”

Flat Islanders feared little, having seen it all already and done most of it before you were even thinking about being born. But Ween Tah had seen it all too, being as old as water himself.

“Ah the old ones have come to visit. How quaint in your tiny floating front porch. Why I would’ve baked a cake, had i but known you were coming.”

“Oh we like cake. You ever had one of those old fashioned sheet cakes? Where you punch holes in the top and pour that hot chocolate frosting all over. My Aunt Sukey used to bring….”

“Silence you puny humans!” Ween Tah galed and blew the top right off the tiny pontoon he now held up in his giant hands. “No more blathering – although i do like a good sheet cake now and then – but what i would really like is to wipe all these islands clean of you unclean, uncaring humans and return my archipelago to its pure and primordial state.” Thunder rolled off his tongue and lightning flared around his stormy brow. “I will spare you Ancients for now but i send you back with a message for your prideful Queen. Tell your Queen to say her prayers to whatever serves as her god or goddess and drag all those old spirit Queens in to sing the farewell chorus for I, Ween Tah, Ruler of the Waves and Winds and all Chaos of Creation, am coming soon and there will be NO MERCY this time. None. I am finished with you humans and you will be finished too.” And before they could object or tell another cake story, he set them on a tidal wave, puffed up his chest and blew a 74 mile per hour puff that sped them seventeen miles back to the east beach of Big Kuna and ran them up 500 yards in the sand.

“Well wunt’n that something” they all exclaimed. “What a ride…and we didn’t even burn any fuel on the way back. Yep that’s the way we used to do it in the old days. Well we best be gettin on to find the Queen and deliver that message and maybe she will send someone to pull this boat off the beach. Grab the rest of that rum.” And off they went to find the Queen and tell her just how angry the Storm King was. And then take a little nap.

As they walked into town, they were surprised to see there were no crowds, no visitors, no refugee camps beside the Pupusa stands or along the streets. The stores were all shuttered and the wind was starting to push the palm trees low. But they felt a faint rumbling underfoot. A shaking. A stomping underground. And the sound of voices came singing up through the island tunnels. Stomp Stomp Clap. Stomp Stomp Clap. We will we will Stomp you….We will we will Stomp You….sing it! We will we will Stomp You…..

Yah woo. Yah woo. Zonga!

Chapter IV: Any Way the Wind Blows

Yah woo! Yah woo! Zonga!

Queen Zonga woke from a wonderful deep sleep, reached across the big fluffy bed in Palatial Apartment #6 and found the pillows empty and cold. Quarl, the handsome racing Captain had left early to oversee the rigging of the Raysail Fleet as they made preparations to defend the big island of Kuna. Somewhere on the dreamy ride home from the Regatta Ball they made crazy plans to super charge the boats with the Queen’s magic seastones and challenge the winds of Ween Tah with a super vortex of their own. Probably best that Quarl was gone already, for the Queen had much to do before the Blessing of the Fleet later on. She reached for the crown jewels, filled with mystical energy and the wisdom of all the queens who had worn them before, strapped them firmly around her neck and was immediately assaulted by the creaky voices of her ancestors.

“About time she woke up! Dillying about all night with that sailor would’ve made me sleep all morning. You let him get away! BE QUIET YOU BIDDIES” the harsh voice of Queen Nonzi the Elder cut through all the others and took control. “ There is no time for all this idle chatter. Ween Tah and his wind and waves are nearly upon us and we must tell young Zonga about the Sleeper, the WaterMaker, the Storm Killer that sleeps in the heart of Kuna. Only he can truly stand a chance against the storm. It is time. He must be called forth. Yes my Zonga, you must awake Agweh the Great Seadragon who hibernates deep under the island. In days long past, Agweh the Seadragon lived deep in the Crystal Water caverns of Kuna, generating the clear cold water we love and feasting on the giant periwinkles as they burrowed in to find the sweet water. Agweh regularly fought the Storm King and protected us. But one day, the great periwinkles – which we also found oh so tasty – all perished and disappeared and soon Agweh tuned his taste buds to savor human flesh. So we had to place a spell upon him and send him into a long long slumber down in the caverns where he still lies, still dreaming forth the clear sweet water we love, but no longer snacking on our friends and relatives. Over time, we erased all public memory of him, for the people would panic if they learned the giant sea dragon slept beneath their feet. You must find him in the caverns and rub your jewels on his forehead to wake and speak with him. You are his Queen and Agweh will do your bidding, at least until he gets hungry! Hurry young Zonga there is no time to waste.”

Queen Zonga quickly gathered her clothes and necklace and hurried back towards the Grand Palace. Along the roadway, she spied the Flat Islanders trudging along, fighting the rising winds. “Mighty Queen we have a message for you. We have seen Ween Tah and he is very angry and very close. He says he will show no mercy this time. No mercy at all. We are far from our homes and need to take shelter. Where can we go??”
“Why don’t you seek space in the tunnels.” she suggested.

“Oh they are all jammed up. We have already passed three with tall wagons blocking the entrances and traffic backed up for miles.”

“Damn the tunnels! why couldn’t the snails have built a bridge!” the Queen cried.”I too need to find a way into the tunnels and down to the crystal caverns, as soon as I bless the Raysail Fleet and st them to their task. This is a disaster.”

“Don’t worry Queen, we remember tales of an old way down to the caverns. There is supposed to be a secret periwinkle path under the palace. And the old ways are the best. We will go to the palace and find it and wait for you to return from the Fleet.”

“Excellent my Ancients. I will return soon”. And with that settled, the Queen changed course and headed straight to the harbor to find Quarl and the brave Raysailors.

Since early morning, Quarl had been working frantically to see that every Raysail was rigged and ready to launch. The wind and rising water was playing havoc with every attempt to be ready and still hold the fleet at the docks, and Ska the Ramoosh had dogged his every step wailing about the cost of everything that was sure to break and all the sails that would be shredded in the storm, but Quarl paid him no mind. His magic night with the big beautiful Queen had convinced him that her mystical powers would protect the boats and sailors while they battled the storm. The rest of the sailors might not be quite so confident, but they also relished the challenge of big wind and wave and heroic deeds that would make them legends.
And here she came, striding down the dock amidst a phalanx of minor priests and guards and attendants, golden hair streaming behind her in the feeder band breeze, magic seastones bouncing on her ample bosom, majestic, regal and royally intimidating.

Quarl gulped. “I gotta be cool. Relax. Get hip. And get on my tracks” he thought. What if this is crazy? What if it doesn’t work? Am I really this brave? He straightened up as she got closer and reassured himself “Heap big woman, you made a big man outta me”!!

“What did you say Quarl?!” “Oh nothing. Greetings great Queen Zonga!! Your fearless sailors are ready for the Storm Battle and await your great blessing.” The Fleet came to attention.

Having never actually done this before and being in a hurry to go down to the caverns and find Agweh and wake the beast up, Queen Zonga decided not to fool with consulting all the old queens or the priests and just went with her instincts. Taking her magic necklace in both hands she raised it high over her head and began to envision the powers she needed for the fleet.

“Fast as a frigate, fearless as a killer whale, stronger than a hundred kraken, bend the wind to your will my sailors and spin us counter wind all the way to the heavens!!” She could feel the stones quiver and shake and, suddenly, against the dark background of storms ready to pounce upon them, the boats begin to glow with power, hulls swelling bigger and sleeker than the great orcas, lightning coursing and crackling up and down the stays, every mast thrusting higher and stronger and the sails stretching tall and wide and turning jet black as a frigate bird. The sailors, every woman and man, began to glow like the fullest moon, new muscles rippling along every limb and a new mass of powerful tentacles burst from their backs and sides. Well i guess that kraken thing was a little over the top, she thought, but that should help a lot with hiking and hauling sheets. “Quickly warriors – to your vessels – and weave a whirling vortex around the island to protect us from Ween Tah! The nation will sing songs of your great courage forever! Get on your boats and ride!” The tentacles were starting to creep her out and she really needed to get this show on the road. Fiercely enchanted and focused on their mission, the Raysailor Fleet with Quarl in the lead launched into the building storm, linked together by streams of eerie light and glowing wakes and began their clockwise race around the island to build the vortex.

Just offshore and high above the harbor, Ween Tah, King of all Storm and Chaos, relished the view from atop a towering thunderhead. All the antics in the Kuna Harbor merely amused him, after all this was what he lived for, yearned for, dreamed of – his time to crush the humans.

He mused “ Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy? Caught in my whirlwind! No escape from reality. Open your eyes, look up to the skies and see. I’m just a poor storm, i need no sympathy. Because i’m easy come, easy go. winds are high, pressure’s low. Any way the wind blows doesn’t really matter. Doesn’t really matter much to me eee eee hahahahahahaaaa!!

And with an evil laugh, the assault began and Ween Tah reached out with all the oceans’ power of wave and wind and began to sweep the island clean of palms and chase the Raysailors along their course. Tides began to surge and froth and soon the beaches and low places were covered in raging flood. “This won’t last long” he chuckled, and settled in for the killing blows.

Back in the palace, Queen Zonga hurried down to the underground catacombs and found the Flat Islanders sitting on a crypt and finishing off the last of their Kuna rum. “Whew, just in time, Queen. You got any sacred rum or coconut champagne stashed down here?”

“Not now, my dears. Show me the tunnel.” Carefully they crawled down from the crypt and shuffled over to an entrance, hidden behind an ornately carved column of sacred festival parades and periwinkle barbecues. “We’ll just stay here and wait for you. The downhill part is easy, but we might never make it back up to the top.” And they tottered off for a short nap.

Queen Zonga followed the pearly tunnel, twisting deeper and deeper into the island and just when she felt like giving up, her necklace began to quiver and glow and the voices came back to her head “ Close now. Don’t falter. Don’t fear. You are the Queen, no matter how fearsome Agweh may seem. Maybe you should’ve worn some more sensible shoes, dear.” Around the next turn, the tunnel opened up into an enormous crystal cavern and a vast lake of the clearest sweetest water in all the world, gently lapping at her feet. She gripped the necklace tight and formed the sea dragon’s name in her mind. AGWEH. AGWEH. AGWEH. Your Queen commands you. Your time of sleep is over. Ween Tah is here.”

And slowly, steadily, the great head of the silver sea dragon rose from the middle of the lake and turning toward the Queen, lay its snout at her feet. Zonga leaned forward and pressed the magic stones to his forehead and their minds linked as if they were one.

“Yes My Queen. It is time. Long have i slept and dreamed the cool water. But lately i have felt Ween Tah and his anger creeping along my dream ways and disturbing my rest. Many times we have fought. Many times we have rested. But he never gets over how we ate all his tasty periwinkles. What a whiner! Well fear not. I am rested and ready to protect my Kuna once again. But I warn you. Soon I will be hungry and feeding will be on my terms if we win this battle. Climb aboard and i will take you to Ween Tah and we will see who is the mightiest.”

Queen Zonga climbed on his great broad back and Agweh stepped from the lake and began to stamp his feet and clap his great scaly wings and together their song echoed all through the crystal cavern.

We will we will Stomp You. We will we will Stomp You.

Yah woo! Yah woo! Zonga!!

Chapter V: We Will Stomp You!

Yah woo! Yah woo! Zonga!

The sea was as hot as a kettle of Kuna gumbo, churning with energy and begging to boil over into a storm of epic proportion. But not as hot as Ween Tah, Ruler of the Wind and the Waves and all Chaos of Creation. Storm King, Avenger of the Periwinkles and Scourge of all Humanity. Lightning sparked from his eyes and thunder rolled from his belly as he bore down on the big island of Kuna, unleashing his righteous anger in the great spiral arms of his storm. As he told the Flat Islanders, there would be no mercy this year and he set to the task of demolishing the island and all who had taken shelter there. He could see the RaySail fleet below, newly enchanted by Queen Zongas powerful magic, sailing swiftly around the island on a clockwise course, glowing brighter than deep water scuttlefish but he cared little for their efforts. No boat had ever bested the Storm King. He cranked his winds up another 20 knots and was just stirring up a tidal surge when a staggering blast of cold water slapped his stormy head.

With Queen Zonga mounted firmly on his back, Agweh the Great Seadragon, wheeled around and made another close pass at Ween Tah’s head, blasting him again with a torrent of icy cold fresh water. “Leaping lizards!” Ween Tah exclaimed. “Where did you come from, traitor!! I have not seen you for a thousand years! Begone and leave me to my work. I must rid the islands of these haughty humans once and for all!!”
“Oh no old friend. This is my island and I am well rested and ready to defend her. Did you bring me any tasty periwinkles this year?!”

Aaargh!! My Precious Periwinkles! You cut me to the eye you disgusting dragon. No Mercy!”

Queen Zonga pressed her bodacious seastones into Agweh’s scaly back and growled, “Quit seahorsing around, you clown, and take down this fat squall. I thought you were the Storm Killer!”

“Ah yes my Queen. The Watermaker, the Snail Eater, the Sleeper and the Storm Killer. I will vanquish this delusional demi-god and then i will be ready to feast!!” And so the battle between the two commenced – with Agweh and Zonga pestering, pummeling and distracting the Storm King, who in turn drew deep into the hot sea and deeper still into his righteous rage and pounded the island with wind pouring over the top of the vortex ripping the tops off of the buildings, waves surging over every shore to devour what was left.

Down below, Quarl the Fleet Captain looked up into the stormy sky and saw mighty Agweh and the Queen battling with Ween Tah and his heart leapt. “There goes my baby. She knows how to fly so high. She drives me crazy. She gives me hot and cold fever. Leaves me in a cool cool sweat.”

Losing his focus momentarily, Quarl’s RaySail submarined through a particularly nasty wave and he almost flipped overboard but his newly grown tentacles steadied him and he regained the tiller. He needed to concentrate on building the vortex to shield the island, staying on course, but they seemed to be losing the battle with the storm. They needed more speed. The vortex was wavering.

Up above, the frontal assault on Ween Tah was wavering too. Agweh and the Queen were distracting the Storm King and cooling him down, but they weren’t really slowing his progress. Queen Zonga reached her mind into the magic seastone necklace to find the old Queens and seek their advice. “Weetweet! Weetweet!” they screamed. “He is too strong this season. Return to the Palace and gather your magic. Seek the old ways! You must find more help!”

Terrific thought the Queen. They want me to go talk to the old ones in the palace when what i really need is some Dynamite with a Laser Beam! Reluctantly she pulled the Great Seadragon away from the Storm King and circled back to the palace to regroup. Nothing was going right. The Watermaker was tiring out and getting hungry and the RaySailers were faltering and she was more than a little chafed from riding the dang dragon. Regardless, she swept into the palace between feeder bands and quickly found the Flat Island Society, who had commandeered the Royal Lounge and were waking from their afternoon nap.

“Hello great Queen. How goes the battle?!” “Not well I fear. The Storm King is strong, the Raysailors are slowing down and Agweh is hungry” She watched out the window as he ate two Pupusa stands and her favorite cat. “The old Queens say we need more help and i must seek the old ways.”

“ Well we are the old ways so maybe we can help. You just need to ask for more help, like in the old days. Yeah in the old days, everybody helped. Everybody worked together. Everybody stomped. We need to pull everybody up out of the tunnels, out of hiding, and face down this Storm King and Stomp him away!”
“But will that be enough?” “Why don’t you ask yer magic necklace if you don’t believe us!”

Queen Zonga took a deep breath and palmed her magic seastones and suddenly she was on a 4 way conference call. The old Queens murmured their assent, yes the old way is the stomp way and you need everyone. Quarl, in his transformed state, reached out and begged for more speed and Agweh, the ancient beast answered and said – “You can foil. Use your new arms and tentacles, cling to the hull like a briny barnacle and become the foils. I feel much better after my little snack and i can draw on the power of the Kuna water. Ween Tah controls the salty sea, but i rule the sweet clear water. and it is cold. Clear the tunnels of those tasty humans and i will show you my true power! Queen Zonga you stay here and focus the power of the seastones and together we can beat might Ween Tah”

And so it was. The Raysailors foiled up, picked up speed again and the clockwise vortex began climbing toward the sky. The Flat Islanders, with the help of Ska the Ramoosh and the rapidly rising water inside the tunnels, evacuated everyone out into the limestone plaza at the center of Kuna and Queen Zonga channeled all her powers into their midst and they began to stomp. To stomp and clap and sing defiantly. Stomp stomp clap. Stomp clap. Stomp clap. We will We will STOMP YOU……we will will Stomp You! EVERYBODY.
The whole island shook and trembled with their stomping as Agweh flew high into the top of the vortex. Suddenly, the vast reservoirs of clear cold Kuna water began spewing forth from every tunnel, flowing into the Raysailors vortex, arced high into the heavens and poured down straight into the eye of the storm, drenching Ween Tah and rapidly cooling all the sea beneath his webbed feet. Like snuffing out a candle, the storm was done and all Ween Tah could do was gather a few stray thunderheads and limp back toward the equator. “Another time, humans, another season. I’ll be back.”

All over the island there was great celebration which lasted for many days and nights accompanied by too much rum and coconut champagne.

Ska Ramoosh never got a chance to fandango, as he tarried too long in the periwinkle tunnels, looting through the refugee camps and was launched into the eye of the storm like a spitball through a straw.

The Flat Island Society found their pontoon boat perched on a high rock in the center of the island, but convinced Agweh ( with a gift of two barbecued goats) to carry it back to the harbor where they repaired the top, reloaded the coolers and continued their philosophical floating debates. And their naps.

Agweh the great Seadragon hung around the island for a few weeks, snacking on all the outer island refugees as they began to sail back home, until finally the Queens of Old urged Zonga to send him reluctantly back to the Crystal Cavern and sweet dreams of sweet water.

Queen Zonga began the arduous task of rebuilding the island economy without Ska’s help but with gallons and gallons of fresh new Kuna water. And she removed the enchantments from the super sized Raysailers and their vessels and returned them to normal. Except for Quarl, whom she moved permanently into Royal Apartment #6 where she slept soundly each night wrapped in his many many many strong arms.

Yah Woo! Yah Woo! Zonga!!