Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Blowout (04/28/11)
TITLE: The Transformation of Charles Chambers
By Tim Pickl
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WEATHER ALERT TIMESTAMP 13:32:01 SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING FOR WASHINGTON COUNTY. SEVERE WEATHER, INCLUDING TORNADOS IS IMMINENT. SEEK SHELTER IMMEDIATELY.
As “the smart phone lady” (as I call her) was reading the message aloud to me, I pulled over and turned on the radio. Within seconds after changing the station to a local News/Talk frequency, they had the same emergency alert.
“Oh, my…” I thought to myself. I was torn, knowing my home was located in a subdivision in the middle of Washington County right in the path of the storm—and—knowing if I cancelled this meeting again, my company may never get the sale we so desperately needed in these tough economic times.
“Dear Lord, what should I do?”
My smart phone chirped like a robin in the springtime (I like bird ring tones, they seem more natural) and I tapped my bluetooth headset to answer it.
“Good Afternoon, Chambers here.”
“Yes, this is Charles Chambers.”
“Hello, this Debbi from Supercell Software. I’m calling on behalf of Mr. Tempest. He wanted to postpone our meeting until Friday, after the severe storms pass.”
“Oh, thank God…”
“Thank you so much; Friday is good for me. Same time?”
“Yes, same time.”
“Be careful out there.”
I thought that was nice of Debbi to say, and strange at the same time. I rehearsed it in my mind for a few seconds. Be careful out there. I remembered the tornado that hit the St. Louis Airport and blew-out more than half of the windows at the terminal. Miraculously, no one died in that vicious storm, thank God.
Interrupting my thoughts, the Smart Phone Lady started to speak again, this time right in my ear. “Ouch!” I instantly muted my bluetooth headset.
WEATHER ALERT TIMESTAMP 13:41:01 SEVERE THUNDERSTORM AND TORNADO WARNING FOR WASHINGTON COUNTY.
That was enough for me. I turned my car around and sped toward home.
SEVERAL CONFIRMED TORNADOS SIGHTED AND RADAR-INDICATED. SEEK SHELTER IMMEDIATELY.
My car was a newer Ford Hybrid, and I had never tested it at higher speeds.
“Today is the day,” I said to myself with a smile.
I took it up to 80, then 90, then over 100 miles per hour (about 169 kilometers per hour). I knew what I was doing was wrong, but it was simultaneously exhilarating. I never thought that hybrid was capable of maintaining those speeds.
As I got closer to home, the skies were ominously darker, and the crosswind was blowing like crazy.
I slowed down because I was stuck behind a big truck on a two lane highway. I noticed there was a scripture on the back of the truck. “Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand!”
One of the tires on the truck blew out, causing the driver to slow down.
My patience turned into impatience.
“That’s enough of this!” I sped around and got in front and way ahead of the truck.
I was so focused on passing the truck and getting back up to excessive speeding, I subsequently forgot about the sharp curve in the road dead ahead. I started to brake, but was too late. As I turned into the curve, the rear driver-side tire stressed and blew-out. I lost control and crashed into the guardrail on the other side of the highway.
The airbags deployed and I passed out.
I found out later that the trucker saw the whole thing and stopped. He radioed for help and walked across the highway to see if I was okay. I was trapped in the front seat and my head was bleeding because the window on the driver’s side window was blown out during the crash. The trucker knew he couldn’t move me because of my injuries, but he knew how to pray.
“Father, God, have mercy on this man. Heal him now Lord, to the saving of his body and his soul. Bring those who will help him now, in the mighty Name of Jesus. Amen.”
Tornado warning sirens echoed from the Washington County area, mingling with ambulance and emergency vehicle sirens. As help arrived, the trucker waved them over to the car with me pinned inside it.
The trucker was our Pastor.
“Thanks for listening today to my testimony.”
Then, I moved my wheelchair over to my pew, simply thankful.
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