May 02, 2010

American Hero

By Dawn Summers © 2010

On Saturday, all manner of hell just about broke loose in Brooklyn, NY. The skies were just this shade of pitch black at nine in the morning. The rain was slamming against my windows. And the wind, oh the wind huffed and puffed and tried to blow my house down.

I called my mother and informed her that I believed 2010 had physically manifested into precipitation and was trying to get me.

She said I was crazy and told me to nap.


I stood at my balcony door and watched the water splashing against the paint. Puddles were forming.

Mmmhmm. Nap.

I put in a movie. I would tell you about it, but I am apparently, now locked in a movie review battle royale on Film Chaw with Julius Goat, so I need the ammunition reserve. (Incidentally, you guys read that correctly, there is a man, somewhere (Canada, I think) with two personalities, who thinks he can outblog DAWN SUMMERS!!)

Anyway, I’m watching this movie, and when it ends, I put in another movie (now, I’m just trying to get into his head) and peek outside again. The puddles had merged into pools. My cooler was floating from one end of the balcony to the other. My planters were naught but dirt and water — mostly water.

I called my mother again!

"The balcony is flooded!"


"Yes! 2010 is coming! Like that Terminator guy who turned all liquid silver and poured himself into the house!"

"Did you nap?"
Damn you, woman! I. Will. NOT. NAP.

I'm almost finished with the movie, when I see something move out of the corner of my eye.


It’s creeping toward me and my lunch! I roll off the couch and stand up. A pool had formed in the dining room, though the area directly in front of the balcony door was completely dry! The windows were closed and the ledge was also dry. The water was literally materializing out of thin air and HEADING MY WAY!

I picked up my comforter, called the front desk and grabbed some shoes.

"Luis, this is Dawn! In apartment 12! Two thousand and ten is trying to kill me. It has broken in from the balcony and is pooling in the dining room."

"What? There’s water in your dining room"

"Yes, water, 2010, tomato/potato, send HELP!"

Our little handyman, Duncan, rang my bell about five minutes later rolling one of those yellow buckets that janitors use in public elementary schools. He also had an industrial size grey string mop.

"Where’s the –" he started to ask before staring down at the flood of rainwater creeping toward my front door.


He rubbed his head.

"I think I’ll go get the water machine from the basement."

He aboutfaced and left me with the mop and the flood.

I stared my nemesis down.

"You stay there! I will SO MOP YOU!"

I gripped the handle. You know, to show I meant BUSINESS!

It inched forward.

"Ahh!" I jumped on my couch.

"Fuck you!"

I called my mom to update her on my deteriorating situation.

"You said, NAP! And now I am walking on my furniture!! ON MY FURNITURE!"

She apologized profusely for ignoring me earlier.

"Call the super."

"I did."

"Put down some old comforters to soak up the water."

"No, the guy is bringing a machine to suck it up."

She was silent.

"So why are you standing on the couch?"

"Cause the water called my mop bluff."

Sheesh. It’s like this woman has never heard of a Mexican standoff…between a black girl and um…water.

Duncan came back.

"I gotta go."

He asked me where the outlet was, I pointed to the pronged holes in my wall.

"Yeah, this wind is killing the east side of the building. The woman in apt. 17 – her whole place is flooded."

"Where’s it coming from? The windows and doors are dry."

He trudged through the pooling water and looked out.

"Your whole balcony is flood! Did you see that? That’s where it’s coming from!"

He turned the wet vac on and it began to buzz.

I put my movie back on. Luckily, it was a French flick with subtitles cause I couldn’t hear anything. And then my apartment whirred silent.

The power blew.

I reset the breaker thingie and everything came back to life.

I finished my movie and ten minutes later, pow: out again.

I turned off the TV, all the lights and fixed the thingie again. Thirty minutes later it blew one more time. The handyman emptied the wet vac again, but water was still coming.

I had to drain the water from the balcony or we would both die! (Shut up. You tell your stories your way, I’ll tell my stories my way!)

I dug my rubber rainboots out of the closet and grabbed the plunger from the bathroom.

I was going out there. I pushed the balcony door. It didn’t budge. I jimmied the handle, still nothing.

"Duncan, I can’t get it open."

He shuffled over; water rippled around his ankles.

He pushed the door. Nothing.

"It's the wind, man!"

He leaned his whole body against the glass and it eked open for a moment before slamming shut again.

So…if I go out there, I won’t be able to get back?

Who signs up for a suicide mission wearing pajamas, boots and holding a two dollar plunger?

How is this my life??!

"We should prop open the door with something heavy."

"No, then everything will get wet. Look, I’m going out... you save yourself if anything goes wrong. I will be okay. And if my mother calls, you tell her I said "I told you so!""

We pushed against the door until it opened wide enough for me to fit through, I stumbled out into the eye of the storm. The door slammed behind me and the wind laughed cruelly.

I waded over to where the drain should have been, but it was covered with debris. I started to kick the leaves away and immediately regretted not having laced my boots.

Water seeped in.

Well, at least I’m not wearing socks.

I started to plunge the drain. The rain and wind shoved me against the wall.

The water height remain unchanged.

I grabbed a broom and tried to push the water over the side.

This was a BAD idea. Each time I pushed the water to the edge, the wind spit it back at me. My pajama pants were drenched.

I went back to plunging the drain.

After about five minutes, I heard a gurgle! A circle began to form and as it gathered momentum the water began to recede!

A-ha, 2010! Suck on that!

I was actually able to open the balcony door quite easily – no doubt thanks to my newly acquired plunging muscles.

I stepped back across the threshold into my apartment.


I had saved myself, Duncan, my building.

In effect, I had saved the world.

Dawn Summers is a writer from Brooklyn, NY

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