Monday, September 06, 2004


The Devastation in Cockburn Town

Hi, folks, I'm Commerce Blogspot for News Channel 5, and I'm here live in Cockburn Town, Grand Turk Island, trying to climb, crawl, and hop my way down a street that has been, well, to put it mildly, rearranged by Hurricanes Francis and Ludwig. The devastation is unbelievable. Things that were on top are now on bottom, on the side, or all mixed in between. Things that were side by side now occupy the same space or have been separated by miles of torn real estate. The scene here looks, in fact, like some dead cardinal's depiction of heaven, "omniadjacent and omninestled."

I'm going to try and talk to some of the people on the street here, most of them glumly surveying the sticks and splinters that remain of their homes and their earthly possessions. You, sir--can we talk to you?

"Uh, sure."

What's your name, sir?

"Mullah Billdoug."

Interesting name. Is that Cuban? No? Well, never mind. Did you lose everything in the hurricanes, sir?


Nah, sir?

"Nah. I thought I had. I was hoping I had. Turns out I just lost my address book out of my pocket here. See? Empty pocket. I had an address book there. Still have the pocket. Still have the pants. Still have the stuff the pants cover up. No address book. One of those hurricanes must've reached in and picked my pocket while I wasn't looking. Pretty good hands, wouldn't you say?"

Just one of the hurricanes, Mr. Billdoug?

"Well, just one pocket."

Oh. Right. Well. But. But--your home, Mr. Billdoug! Was it destroyed?

"Oh, no. Not really. Not that I'm aware of."

Oh, so you don't actually live here?

"Well, now I do. But I didn't always."

Wh-- When did you move here, sir?

"Just before the storms hit."

What terrible luck!

"Tell me about it. You would've thought two big hurricanes like these, incarnations of two great Sufi masters, the Limper and the King, would have done more damage. But here I still am, head and home intact. Only my address book mysteriously whisked away."

I--I'm afraid I don't understand, sir.

"Really? Well, that's reassuring. Maybe the hurricanes did more damage than I've been thinking!"

Excuse me?

"Uh--do you have a light?"

No, I'm sorry, I don't smoke.

"No, you're right, neither do I. Well, nice talking to you!"

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