Guide to Moral Living in Examples: Hurricanes

Abi had bought his house because he loved the ocean. And yet now, when the ocean was trying to love him back, he barricaded himself behind layers of plywood.

"Damn it!" Abi said. He had dropped a nail. As he spoke, all the rest of the nails that he was holding between his lips dove after their brother. Abi sighed and set down the plywood that he had been about to hammer into place.

"Hey, Abi, you gonna leave?" asked Abi's neighbor, George, a rotund moustachioed man who was always quick with the questions and slow on the uptake.

"Does it look like I'm going to?" Abi asked.

"That's why you need a houseboat, the only thing that I have to board when there's a storm coming is myself. Onto my houseboat!" George said, opening the throttle and putting away from the rocky coast where he had been moored. He waved as he rounded up the coast and away from the oncoming hurricane.

"Stupid houseboats. That's as stupid as having a houseplane," Abi thought, returning to his task. After he had finished boarding up his house, the storm was close. The swells were smashing into the rocks below his house. Abi gave one last glance at the stormy sky and retreated into his house. He entered his basement, which he'd carefully waterproof, slammed the bulkhead door shut behind him, and waited.

Through the concrete and steel walls came the rumble of the waves. Despite the storm's fury, the pounding rhythm became hypnotic and relaxing. Abi soon fell asleep on the cot.

He woke up hungry, cracked open a can of beans, and shuffled them from the tin to his mouth. A few scattered across the bunker, but no mammal, no bird, not even an insect could infiltrate the room and scavenge on the forgotten feast. Abi had checked all of the seals around all of the doors.

Where mammals, birds and insects failed, however, is that they weren't terrifying sea leviathans. Without any warning, the wall split open and a massive tentacle penetrated the room like a finger through an eggshell.

Abi screamed.

A second tentacle soon followed, widening the hole. Water entered the room, but not much. Most of the hole was occupied by tentacle.

Abi pushed himself into the far corner of the room while the great tentacles thrashed around in his safe room. He held up his can opener for defense.

The hole widened more as the face of the leviathan pushed through the hole. It was a hideous face, born and bred in murky sea depths far away from the light of the Sun. Enormous, melon-like eyes rolled around on opposite sides of a gelatinous lump. A beak sat in a crevice between the tentacles. Many smaller tentacles sat underneath the head, and as soon as the leviathan was through, they went about plugging up the hole behind it.

Abi squeaked in fear.

One of the great eyeballs swiveled in its socket. It was so large that it gave Abi motion sickness to watch. He swayed, once, and toppled over, only to be caught by a spare tentacle.

The tentacle patted Abi on the head, then the eyes swiveled back to watching the hole. Abi didn't know what to do, and by time he thought to introduce himself, the great leviathan had closed its eyes. In some primal way, Abi knew that it was asleep, and decided that he should grab a nap as well.

The next morning, he awoke with a tentacle for a pillow. He yawned, stretched, and blew his nose to try to get the reek of ocean creature out of it. Abi turned on the weather radio.

"Hurricane Harper has glanced off of the coast, and folks are being allowed to return to their homes."

The leviathan pointed at Abi's bulkhead. He opened it up.

With one enormous squish, the leviathan shivered its way back out through the hole. Immediately, sea water poured in through the egress and converted Abi's saferoom for people into a saferoom for fish smaller than the size of that hole.

The Moral: in a world of robots, only outlaws have can openers

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