Morning for Sokroshera Chapter Fifteen

By Timothy Smith, 2020

Morning for Sokroshera Chapter 15

Tim’s novel of Russian America (Kodiak Island area)

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Friday, March 27, 1964: 5:36 p.m. in Sokroshera Cove

At 5:36 p.m., Marla was just taking a sheet of chocolate chip cookies out of the oven. Her little portable phonograph, thin sounding and scratchy compared to Judson’s big stereo, was in the next room, set up on a table, the speaker facing the open door to the kitchen. She’d left all her Beatles records except one at Judson’s place. She would probably go over and get them tomorrow. The Beatles were grinding out “She Loves You” for the umpteenth time since she got home from school, and her mom had gently complained that Marla would be a lot faster at baking if she didn’t have to walk over to change the record every few minutes. A few other hits and oldies were stacked on the table beside her record player, along with the Burl Ives children’s LP The Little White Duck, for which the twins were patiently waiting. Their favorite song, “The Whale,” would fill the room the instant Marla relinquished control of the phonograph.

Marla didn’t notice the rumble in the ground until she had just placed the last cookie sheet in the oven and was placing the just-baked one on the side table to cool. “Hey!” said Marla, mostly to herself. The Beatles single on Swan Records, with its memorable slogan on the label, “Don’t Drop Out,” had just ended. The swish-click, swish-click of the inner groove was demanding Marla’s attention when the first wave of what would be five minutes of gut-wrenching terror began. Marla felt a little unsteady on her feet as she removed the tone arm from the swirling 45, and within seconds, the house began behaving like a seiner rounding Spruce Cape. The twins rushed in calling, “Why, Marla?”

The First Wave Hits; Jay-Jay, his dad, and Marla are moving the old fire truck uphill

By now, it was nearly dark, and Judson could see the headlights bouncing out of sight in the dip above east beach, and then disappearing up into the trees. They were bouncing along themselves, and soon reached the dip. As Jeffrey headed down, he suddenly screeched to a halt, and gingerly put the big old REO into reverse. Judson could barely see swirling water that seemed filled with junk that he couldn’t see clearly. He even saw a log or two passing in front of them where the road had been. Not high enough to reach the lake yet, he reasoned, but plenty high enough to block this road. They all silently prayed that the wave was not going to come as high as the crest of the small bluff where Jeffrey was idling the fire truck; with the water already this high, they had nowhere else to go. The truck’s headlights revealed more of the objects of various sizes floating inland as the insistent current rose higher and higher. Judson didn’t bother trying to identify anything; the fact of the rising water overpowered all other thoughts. For a few agonizing minutes, the headlights made it appear as though they were adrift at sea. The water came right up to the bottom of the tires before slowly receding.

Judson and his father, flashlights in hand, surveyed the road as soon as it was clear. A shaggy log almost twenty feet long lay across the roadbed. When the Hansens gingerly examined the shore side of the road, the flashlights revealed that the receding water had already eaten away the grassy bluff to within five or six feet of the roadbed. Herman and Marla joined them as they struggled with the log, and it was all they could do to roll it over onto the east beach bluff. Jeffrey examined the shoulder and the embankment on the landward side, and saw a swamp now filled with logs and debris, right up to the edge of the old gravel roadbed. Mr. Hansen decided he could make it through. “Looks like this could be a one-way trip for this old truck, at least until we find a way to fix this road. Hang on, and don’t be afraid to jump off and run for it if the road collapses or the wave comes back!” Jeffrey Hansen was being realistic, not dramatic, Judson realized, but hated the sound of it.



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