Micro Prose: Shelter in Place by Jennifer Schomburg Kanke

Shelter in Place

Over the rain she heard another transformer blowing in the distance and waited to see if it was theirs. It wasn’t. Not this time at least. The eye wall wasn’t near them yet. She could see on the outage map that the last slut Alex had cheated with was already in the dark. Good. Before morning they’d lose power too, she knew they would. For now though, she let Alex pick the next movie while she poured another drink for the both of them.

She was actually quite proud of them right now. They’d only fought once when they went to the crowded Publix after work, two times less than most other days. Everything was letting out early, schools, government, even some private businesses. Their Publix was out of water but not beer and rumor had it the one closer to the campus was out of beer but good on water. Alex thought they should make the drive across town. She knew it wasn’t worth it. Everyone was out getting Spam and batteries, paper plates and loaves of bread. A few smart ones had gone out the day before and were now home putting their lawn furniture in the shed or tying down the trash cans, doing what they were supposed to be doing, she guessed. But everyone she knew was frantically trying to out-plan the storm.

If it passed to the east, they’d have bad rains, maybe a few power outages, waterlogged trees would take out a roof or two. If it passed to the west, it would be worse than Hurricane Kate back in the 80s. Assholes on Facebook were already posting “Calm down, it’s just a little rain” and all those “Real Floridians be like…” memes with people surfing in a storm surge or drinking beer while chest-deep in floodwater, an alligator doing the backstroke behind them. She wanted the storm to come to the west just to shut those fuckers up. Wanted as much destruction as possible to make her preparations worth it.

Alex thought they could still make it to the other grocery store before it started.

“It won’t be bad to start with anyway. We’d get home when it was just a drizzle.”

Everything was negotiable. Everything would come out fine, why wouldn’t it? The traffic getting there was already filed somewhere in Alex’s mind between decade-old memories of their first date and the name of Gerald Ford’s vice-president, someday it would completely fade.

In the end she had won and they’d bought four 20-pound bags of ice instead of risking the drive. When they lost power it would melt into something more usable. If they never lost power… but they would lose power. How could they not? Everyone lost power during times like these. Everyone.

But things were good so far. They would keep watching movies and cleaning out the liquor cabinet until it passed.

“Turn up the sound,” Alex said, “I can’t hear the good part.”


jennifer sk_photo

Jennifer Schomburg Kanke is originally from Columbus, Ohio, and currently lives in Tallahassee, Florida, where she teaches creative writing and critical theory as a visiting professor at Florida State University. Her work has appeared in Prairie Schooner, Court Green, and Nimrod. She serves as the reviews editor for Pleiades and a reader for Emrys.


Cover Photo by Nate Steiner

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