The wooden porch swing creaked as I rocked and watched the storm brew. In the distance, dark clouds swirled like an eddy and flickered silver at the edges. Dad said that a good rain could break the heatwave. We sure could use the water. Looked like Dad was getting his wish.
As the wind kicked up, the clouds rolled over the hill and across the field, toward the house. An eerie darkness crept closer, and thousands of cornstalks bowed in homage. The branches of Mom’s apple tree flailed, tossing several not-quite-ripe apples to the ground. She wasn’t going to be happy. The entire sky flashed a brilliant white; I blinked and counted. One, two… thunder rumbled at three. The storm was getting closer.
From inside the house, Mom yelled my name. I stopped rocking and slumped down in the swing. Maybe she wouldn’t see me. She yelled for me again.
Another flash and the simultaneous boom vibrated the house, rattling the windows. I heard a loud crash. Mom screamed something about her souvenir shelf. Dad never liked those dusty old knick-knacks, anyway. Neither did I.
Suddenly, the screen door flew open. Mom, with her dyed-red hair flying every which way, stomped across the porch, grabbed my ear, and pulled me off the swing.
“Ow! My ear!” I shouted. “Let me go!”
She gave my ear an extra twist and pushed me through the door into the living room.
“What were you thinking?” she slammed the door behind her. “Do you want to get electrocuted?”
Rubbing my ear, I shrugged and plopped on the sofa beside our old, deaf and blind cat, Puffy, who sleeps through everything. Even Mom.
After the next flash of lightning, Mom darted around the house from the television to the lamps to the toaster, unplugging everything and shouting her usual lecture about preventing fires and short circuits. Another flash and boom had her screeching at Dad to shut the windows. Dad walked over to his chair, sat down, and started reading the newspaper. Mom glared at him. Then she turned to me with that evil-eye look that made everybody cringe. I was afraid to move, and afraid not to. Lightning flashed. Mom reached down and took off her slippers, flung one at Dad and the other at me. Dad batted his away. Mine got me in the head. Thunder boomed.
Rain pelted the ground furiously. The wind flung it into the room through the still open windows, and it puddled on the floor. Mom’s bare feet slid on the wet wood, and she almost fell. Dad snickered. I stifled a giggle.
Just then, with an ear-shattering crack, an explosive stream of sparks flew out of a wall socket and hissed across the room, searing into Mom’s chest. She froze in place, hair standing on end, open-mouthed as though she was yelling, but no sound came out. Her body convulsed and steamed like a tea kettle boiling over, and her eyeballs burst, spewing hot liquid onto Puffy’s butt. He yeowed and flung himself up through the air, flipping over the back of the sofa, crashing into the wall. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. I laughed like a maniac.
When the storm rolled away, and we were left with a gentle rain stuttering on our metal roof, I stared at the smoldering heap on the floor that used to be Mom. Dad still read his paper.
“Mom got electrocuted.”
“Uh-huh,” he said, as he turned the page of his paper. “Quiet in here now.”