If it's true that a butterfly's flapping wings can cause a hurricane on
the other side of the world, then Joanie Kleumfs has a lot of explaining
I met her 10 years ago while visiting some Pollocks in Colorado Springs. She was in the garden
incorrectly pollinating sapromyophilous flowers. I excused myself from
the dinner table and opened a sliding glass door to where the garden was.
"My name's Harvey,"
"What the fuck did you just say?" she asked.
Joanie had a voice that spanned
time. It parted fog and Nazi wind. It split atoms and threw dinosaur bones
into big industrial fans and it's the first thing I noticed when I slid
the door open. She was bitching about double shifts
and how she just needed to get her robotics company off the ground and
blah blah blah.
"Oh.. I just was telling
you my name," I said. "It's Harvey."
"Yeah, sorry I snapped,"
she said, "This shift is knocking the balls off me. I haven't had
a break in probably 12 hours. I'm wearing a nicotine patch on each
wing to take the edge off.
"That's okay. I saw you
out here and it looked like you could use some company. What's your name?"
"Do you realize you're
trying to pollinate a stapelia, Joanie? That's a sapromyophilous flower.
It'd be like an acropoymious trying to pollinate a challimus agutum!!"
We both laughed.
Me and Joanie kept in touch
a while, but our busy lives spread us too thin and too far apart to pay
attention any more. Business whisked me away to a new seaport home in
Belgium, and it was several years before the storm hit. Much of Ostend
extending west throughout various English seaside towns was ruined. Tracks
were torn up and set down again and green hills were turned into
cliffs and the cliffs were crumbling. Churches fell, bodies broke in half and tubs of butter melted and evaporated.
Joanie Kleumfs had wings like sheets of concrete clapping together, with
a nicotine patch to take the edge off.