When it finally rained in Houston, nobody knew what to do. As in nobody remembered how to handle the reality of water falling out of the sky. Was there some sort of procedure in place for handling this? Should we make our way to the nearest FEMA camp? Was it safe enough for humans to touch? How long would it last?
And the kids… Well, the kids were only children, after all, and completely without any firsthand memory of rain. And they came shrieking into the house, soaked to the bone, to announce that fluffy grey things had invaded the local sky and were throwing water at them. The kids were worried about the birds, who seemed so unprotected.
When it finally rained in Houston, the desert jinni, the spirits and demons and dervishes from parts generally west of here all packed up their things and began hightailing it out of town. This was just as well, really, because desert spirits are notorious for driving men to do some crazy shit like start religions even, and there’s been quite enough of that already, thank you.
And me, I never thought it would happen. I never thought I would live to see the rain again. Especially after Texas Governor Rick Perry – who is just crazy about bigamy, by the way – had done his rain dance, and he danced and he chanted and he even shook around his crucifix-shaped rain stick, but he failed! He failed!
I thought that was the end of the matter. No rain for Houston. Here is some fire instead.
And when it finally rained in Houston, nobody knew what to say. People called each other on the telephone. Family members. Friends. They called each other and they said, “It’s raining!” And the people they called said, “I know!”
But amidst all this moisture and panic, I could not tell my tale. I could not tell the children. I could not tell the neighbors. Hell, I could not tell Dana that it was me.
Yes, me. I did this. I made it rain in Houston.
I said that I might know such a man. And it’s true. I do know such a man. Sort of, anyway. Because sometimes I am such a man. Sometimes, when I am Ulysses Malloy, Land Pirate/Bounty Hunter Extraordinaire!
A meeting was set up for the next day, which is when I – er, I mean Ulysses Malloy – met a man in an expensive-looking Italian suit and dark glasses. And he, this man in the expensive-looking Italian suit and dark glasses, he told me that there were forces at work I could never know, could never understand. There were forces of flood and forces of fire and for too long now in Houston, his side had been losing. Houston was almost a lost cause. But I, Ulysses Malloy, Land Pirate/Bounty Hunter Extraordinaire, notorious bigamist, anarchist, cattle rustler, heresiarch, and all-around teller of fish tales, I might still save the day.
I nodded. I considered my fee. I said, “Why me?”
Italian suit man looked surprised. Italian suit man said, “Because you can get inside the city walls of Montrose. They will lower the drawbridge for you and they will let you in.”
This was true, obviously. I did not see the relevance. I said as much. “So?” I said.
Italian suit man said, “Follow the bouncing ball, Malloy. If it is going to rain, then we need to appease the rain gods. If we are going to appease the rain gods, then we need human sacrifice. If we need human sacrifice, then it has to be people nobody will notice are missing. If it is going to be people nobody will notice are missing, then it has to be Montrosians.”
That just made good sense. The human sacrifice thing gave me moral pause.
But not that much.
But who to hunt for? Your average meth-head queer is too unpredictable. Agitated. He will zig zag every which way in no discernible pattern at all even when he’s not being chased. This makes him almost impossible to hunt from a moving vehicle. And homeless people, well, they are already zombies and cannot be killed. And lawyers… Well, people would be grateful, I suppose, but somebody would definitely notice the sudden dearth of babbling and sophistry.
That just left hippies.
So I called up Rufus and I called up Eggplant and then they called Cauliflower Ear Guy and the Blob. And we loaded up my van and we got ourselves inside the Montrose city walls. And I got up on the van roof with some harpoons and some rope and some binoculars. Cauliflower Ear Guy was doing the driving, so we put golden-era Dark Throne on the radio and then we went out hunting us some hippies.
Don’t act so shocked. You read the title. You knew this was coming.
When confronted by a threat or by a predator, your average hippie has no effective defense mechanism. At most, the hippie will flash a V with his fingers, will sing a song about a netherworld called Vietnam or will toss a sunflower lovingly at his attacker.
For defense, the hippie relies solely on a psychological theory – put forth by Jesus Christ, Mohandas Gandhi and Martin Luther King and discredited long ago – that most human attackers will be overwhelmed and debilitated by some sense of moral guilt if it appears a victim is not going to put up a fight.
Don’t laugh! More than a handful of otherwise intelligent people have believed this theory. Most of them are dead now, of course.
But the hippies line up outside of Baby Barnaby’s Restaurant every day. They line up outside of Baby Barnaby’s and they talk or they compare tattoos or they do whatever it is hippies do when they are standing around waiting. They stand around and they wait. They are waiting for their turn to sit at one of the three booths Baby Barnaby’s Restaurant has available for the four million people who want to eat the terrible – and apparently highly addictive – food-like stuff that is sold there.
The hippies outside of Baby Barnaby’s Restaurant, no-one-but-no-one will ever notice if they are gone. Everyone will just assume the wait outside of Baby Barnaby’s was… longer than usual. And then everyone will go on about their lives.
You can try and pass judgment on me, but it rained in Houston this weekend, didn’t it?
You can act outraged about the hippies but… you’re welcome.
When it finally rained in Houston, Ulysses Malloy – that notorious bigamist, anarchist, cattle rustler, heresiarch, and all-around teller of fish tales – he was puffing away at a novelty-sized cigar and enjoying the fact that the traffic on Fairview had died down considerably, what with the hippies gone.
That is how it happened. Every word is true.
Keep it to yourself.
But enjoy the rain!