What Hurricane Sandy Uncovered
It was 2012 when Hurricane Sandy hit the Northeast United States. New York City was fixated on a dangling crane in midtown Manhattan. Weird stories and photos circulated the internet and social media. Most notably, a picture of a shark on the flooded front lawn of a New Jersey home. One of the more disturbing picture I saw was of a casket floating down an empty street. I’ve searched high and low for a copy of that photo more to prove my story than anything.
Caskets floating away during a flood aren’t a new thing believe it or not. In New Orleans, the problem of airtight coffins popping out of the ground because of heavy rain fall became so bad most graves are now either lined with concrete or built above ground. Before Sandy, this phenomenon was unheard of in the state of Connecticut. I never saw it personally mind you. I just saw the picture I mentioned and a few stories from patrons at the bar I used to work at. Problem is, drunks aren’t exactly known for their honest story telling.
The story I’m telling you took place the day after the hurricane. The bar I work at is located on the outskirts of Waterbury, Connecticut. My boss called me and asked if I could go check out the place and make sure it hadn’t been damaged or looted. I said I would on the condition that I could drink for free when I got there. He agreed (Not much choice. He was flooded in) and I was in my truck and on the my, figuring I’d spend my afternoon relaxing at an empty bar.
There’s something creepy about a city the day after a storm. Major roadways are abandoned. Street lights are out. One major intersection I had to go through simply had a stop sign stuck in a Home Depot bucket in the middle of the road instead of it’s usual working stop lights. The power was out so most of the houses I passed were pitch black. Pure silence with the exception of my truck’s engine and the country station I was listening to. Only one word came to mind at that moment. Apocalyptic.
I pulled into the strip mall were the bar was located. I locked up and moved towards the glass front door. The neon sign outside had been broken in the storm. “McKinley’s Gin Mill” was written in hunter green gothic type on yellowing plastic. The break in the sign was in the top left corner were an Irish caricature grinned over a mug of beer. With the top left part of his head missing the single remaining eye made his smile seem more sinister than sarcastic.
I opened up and flipped the switch. The lights stayed off. Powers out signs broken, but I couldn’t see any other damage. I grabbed a green Jameson bottle along with a portable IPod player we kept under the bar and made my way into the adjourning room. The way McKinley’s was set up was as soon as you walk through the front door you’re in the bar room. The room had wood paneling, and was decorated with photos, posters and signs scattered on the walls. Across from the bar was a 5 foot gap in the wall that lead to an area with a big screen TV, pool table, juke box, and a few tables. I put the bottle on one of the tables and set up my IPod. I enjoy solitude for the most part and the idea of drinking a bottle of Irish and listening to music while improving my pool game was welcome compared to how I usually spend my nights. Noisy 20 somethings taking Instagram pictures and comparing how drunk they are. I put my “Chill Out” playlist on and set up the table.