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Tornado on Fire

by Luc Reid

You ain't never seen a true and actual heart-stopping terror 'til you seen a tornado on fire. They rise on up outta volcanos in the midst a' hurricanes, most likely during an earthquake, and they're so tall they been known to scorch up the moon. They set lakes a-bilin', cows a-cookin' to a well-done state, and they'll melt ever'thing made a' wax for twenty miles 'round.

I was only eight years old the first time I seen a tornado on fire. It waltzed through our town and made all the windows shatter and the foundations crack. My momma and my twelve sisters died from the fright right then an' there, an' my daddy, he aged a hundred years just from the pity and awfulness of the experience. Bein' a kid with no more brains than a run-over snake, I didn't think too much of it, 'cept that I knowed ever since then I musta been born to chase tornados on fire. An' that's what I done, for seventy-eight years, gettin' paid no more'n kept food in my belly and tires on my pickup by them silky-palmed, snail-eatin' Mr. Wizard types who just shiver to know anythin' I can gather up to tell 'em. An' I done it good, too, trackin' eighteen tornados on fire so close they near always singed off my eyebrows.

But this last one, oh Lord, it weren't like them others. This one was tall enough to burn the moon right up if it'd happened to be up just then, and it vaporized rivers and turned a strip a' desert a mile wide to glass. But it weren't the size of it as turned me yella, Lordy no. This one had iron sharks in it, which is more than a mortal man can bear to see, and that's why I'm a-here applyin' for my social security benefits.

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