Lost & Found – Black Umbrellas

The weatherman says that things don’t look good today. It’s triple witching hour in the heavens, with a perfect storm brewing offshore. I’m lying in bed listening to the rain coming down. Crows are being tossed around like black snow in the wind.

When I go downtown for coffee beans, the water is ankle deep. I stand under an awning and watch the office workers straining against the wind, their pockets filling with rain.

The flood comes in the middle of rush hour, and before long the water is above the transoms of the library across the street. Encyclopedias and books of Russian poetry are getting fat with water. Somebody left the windows of the natural history museum wide open, and now there’s a stuffed armadillo, a mandolin, and an Egyptian mummy floating down the street. At the playground, the children are wearing swimsuits and diving masks, some of them are doing handstands. A girl is releasing her tropical fish.

In the financial district, there’s a rumour that food supplies are going to run out within a week. To be on the safe side, the stockbrokers and accountants are killing and eating each other. In turn, they are being eaten alive by crocodiles and sharks that escaped from the aquarium.

Diving below the surface, I can see the lighted windows of trolley buses. There’s a kid inside listening to a radio and a man reading a Victorian novel. Scraps of paper are floating around. The whole world has been shaken up like one of those glass Christmas globes. On Granville Street, there’s a busker floating in a wooden barrel, playing a mournful tune on his trombone.

I walk into the department store and take a canoe from sporting goods, then paddle up and down the aisles. There’s a sale on in the homewares department. People are filling up their shopping baskets with savings up to fifty percent off the last ticketed price. I circumnavigate linens. There are two old women floating on their backs, holding hands and laughing.

At the exhibition grounds, the ferris wheel is half submerged. I’m eating roasted peanuts in my canoe, waiting for cars of the roller coaster to break the surface. The riders are laughing and sputtering.

As night begins to fall, I slowly paddle my way home. There’s a man sitting on a rooftop, smoking a pipe and dangling his feet in the water. There are thousands of black umbrellas floating on the surface.