Note: Tonight, some of my dearest friends are singing at Carnegie Hall in the world premiere of a new work, “Mortals & Angels: A Bluegrass Te Deum.” I should be there. This is why I am not. Love and all good wishes, my friends, for a wonderful performance!
Karma slumped onto her cloud, exhausted. It had been a busy day. She closed her eyes against the glare of an exploding nova and drifted into a reverie of mayhem until awakened by an icy blast in her ear.
“What the f—?” She swatted at her head.
“Need to chill, baby?” Old Man Winter whispered, sending brilliant crystals of snow shimmering over her face.
“You need to do something about that breath,” Karma held up her hands and created a wall of sunshine between them.
“Aw, baby, you’re hurting my feelings. Tell Old Man Winter all about it.”
“I’ve spent all week hounding this woman who keeps dodging me,” she pouted. “You know her. The Heroine of Hope?”
“You mean ‘Suzie Sunshine’? I like watching her bob-and-weave. She’s spunky, puts up a good fight. You’ve been after her for six decades. Maybe you should ease up on her already.”
“Like you should talk,” Karma spat fire at Old Man Winter. “Remember what you did to her last winter?”
“Has it been a year already?” He plucked at the sleet in his beard. “Time flies. Last winter, I turned her lane into a sheet of ice for 10 days. She had to park her car up by the road and hike in and out, day and night. I heard that mice got in and destroyed the wiring. $6,500 worth. Took five weeks to get a part from Japan.”
“The shipping fiasco was my doing,” Karma smirked.
“Well, I really can’t take credit for what rodents will or won’t do. And her damned insurance company picked up the cost of the damage, like a good neighbor.”
“By the gods eternal, I hate that woman,” Karma hissed.
“What’s the problem now?”
“It’s the vacation thing, again,” she sighed, as he blew through her fiery wall and sent an icy shiver down her spine. “I tried to keep her from getting away. First, I covered Miami International Airport in fog, but The Sun came off its throne and burned it off after two hours.”
“My fault, entirely,” Karma admitted. “I didn’t realize that all the flights would be delayed, so her connection was delayed, too.”
“What did you do?”
“When her plane landed, I kept all the other planes at their gates, so there was no room for her at the inn, so to speak. She had to squirm in her seat — in an exit row, by the way, I don’t know how she got that lucky — while the plane waited on the taxiway for almost an hour until a plane at another concourse got tired of waiting and left.”
“Still, she couldn’t have had time to make the connection, could she?”
“You wouldn’t have thought so. With 10 minutes to departure, she had to take the monorail from one end of Concourse D to the other, then run through that ridiculously long hallway to Concourse E. THEY HELD THE FLIGHT!!! Can you believe it? Who does this woman know that holds flights for her?” She collapsed on his lap, cooling off her super-charged ego.
“There, there, baby, you can’t win them all.”
“Don’t patronize me!” She sat up. “That’s not the end of it. I whispered a little Spanish into a certain friend’s ear, and the Cuban air force took to the skies to practice air maneuvers, which halted every plane scheduled to fly over his airspace.”
“Impressive friends you have!” Old Man Winter inched away from her.
“He doesn’t want to aggravate his New-Found Friends in Washington, so she only sat at Miami for another hour, waiting to take off.”
“And then, what did you do?”
“I made sure her luggage didn’t get on her flight, but the woman had her bathing suit and toiletries in her carry-on, so she didn’t care. She FREAKING DIDN’T CARE.”
“So much work for so little,” his pale eyes locked tenderly on hers.
“The last straw was when I screwed with her laptop so it wouldn’t connect to the internet, and, instead, she just wrote her precious blog posts on her iPhone,” a shimmering tear rolled down her face.
“Maybe we could work together,” he caressed her hair with a gentle breeze.
“How so?” Karma massaged the frozen tears on her face.
“They’re having a warmer-than-usual winter on the East Coast,” he began, “so I was thinking they needed a little wake-up call.”
“But don’t you usually do that in February?”
“’Keep the meteorologists off guard,’ I always say,” he chuckled. “Suppose we scoop up all this warm, tropical air and send it north?”
“Yeah, but isn’t that a repeat of her vacation in 2010? And 1995, 1996, 1993, and 1978? Just to name a few.”
“When is Suzie headed home?”
“Well, she’s cutting her vacation short this year to sing at Carnegie Hall. She’s flying to Philadelphia on Friday, via Charlotte, spending the night in Philly, and taking the train to New York on Saturday morning.”
Old Man Winter nodded as she spoke. “We’ll see about that. If I send freezing rain to Charlotte on Friday, even if she could get to Philly, that gives me time to dump a load of snow on them, so she can’t get to New York on Saturday.”
“Pure Genius!” Karma ignored the prickling of icicles as she held her cheek close to his.
“Baby, with age comes wisdom,” his icy fingers encircled her heart as they lay back on her cloud.
On Thursday, the airline cancelled Suzie’s flights and rescheduled them for the following Tuesday. She was sad to miss being a part of a world premiere performance of a work entitled “Mortals and Angels” at Carnegie Hall. While greatly consoled by spending four extra days in the sunshine, Suzie worried about her BFF, her family and friends, and especially about the power lines and that long, long lane to her house.
On Friday, Old Man Winter conjured up enough hot air to create freezing rain at the airport in Charlotte. He howled and blew snow from the Carolinas to New York. With Karma by his side, the snow fell faster and thicker, until, by midnight on Saturday, Maryland was covered with more snow than had ever been recorded in a two-day period, a whopping 30” in some places, obliterating the presence of roads, and, while all the airports closed for four days, the power held.
In Grand Cayman, on Monday, her laptop miraculously connected to the internet all by itself, and Suzie held her breath — in the warm sun — waiting for Tuesday …