The Origin of Tom Twister

“OMG, OMG, OMG,” Ron McFarlane said as he saw the tornado crash across the highway directly at his pickup truck. So this was how he dies, too soon, too young. He wasn’t ready.

The truck lifted off the ground and smashed brutally onto the pavement. McFarlane looked out the front of the truck sideways. The wind’s roar was deafening. He tingled all over as the overturned vehicle spun along the ground.

And then the wind pushed the truck back onto its tires. “What the —?” the stunned driver muttered, the wind still screaming in his ears.

He shook his head, mashed the gas pedal, and the truck sped away down the highway.

Did that just happen? Was he really safe after having his truck pummeled by a tornado? In shock, he didn’t remember driving home and falling into his wife’s arms, so grateful to be alive.

+ + + + +

“Police are warning people to stay in their homes,” the morning news anchor said grimly. Band of looters are reported wandering through the stricken neighborhoods.”

“The storm missed us by a block,” Beth called up to Ron. “The Smiths over on Adams Street lost their home.”

“Unbelievable,” McFarlane said as he emerged into the upstairs hallway.

“Somebody got video of your pickup in the storm!”

“No way,” he said.

“Really! I can’t believe it, you just drove away, and HEY! What do you think YOU’RE doing?” A sudden crash crashed from the kitchen.

“Beth? What’s going on?”

“Just be nice and nobody gets hurt,” came an unfamiliar voice.

When McFarlane reached the kitchen, he saw three surly-looking young men surrounding his wife. Two of them held guns on her, and one of the goons turned his weapon toward Ron as he approached.

“Like I said, let’s all just be nice,” said the surly-looking young man.

What happened next took place faster than it will take to describe it. Suddenly Ron McFarlane was not there, and in his place was a 7-foot-high twister. The little tornado barreled into the three men, scattering the weapons, lifting them off the ground and smashing them to the floor. And then Ron McFarlane was standing over them, hands curled into fists, snarling at the groaning young men underfoot.

“Ron?!” Beth said, and suddenly Ron looked as confused as she was.

“I don’t know what I just did,” he said. “I was so mad to see them threatening you, it was like I became the storm.”

“Maybe when the storm hit your truck last night, you absorbed some of its powers,” she said.

“Like being bitten by a radioactive spider?” He laughed.

“I don’t know,” she said. “You have a better explanation?”

They looked at each other across the room. One of the not-so-surly-anymore young men groaned in pain.

“Whatever just happened,” he said, “we’d better call 911.” 

Published by WarrenBluhm

Wordsmith and podcaster, Warren is a reporter, editor and storyteller who lives near the shores of Green Bay with his wife, two golden retrievers, Dejah and Summer, and Blackberry, an insistent cat. Author of Full, Refuse to be Afraid, Gladness is Infectious, 24 flashes, How to Play a Blue Guitar, Myke Phoenix: The Complete Novelettes, A Bridge at Crossroads, The Imaginary Bomb, A Scream of Consciousness, and The Imaginary Revolution.

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