I quite like thunder.

This isn’t a random statement, I am writing this in the middle of a thunderstorm.

And I love being inside small gently lit rooms as the hard droplets of rain hammer against and slowly streak down the window; a constant rhythm, a perfect natural beat, never missing a step— the John Bonham of precipitation.

Deep brooding rumblings swell, almost visibly, in the burnt purple sky. At seemingly randomized moments the rumbling will burst into mega-decibel cracks in the sound barrier— an almighty, omnipotent whip lashing the blackened horizon.

The gnarled oak outside my window stands firm, its flimsiest branches gently dancing to the rain’s pounding rhythm.

I sit waiting— waiting for the potential fire crack of lighting to briefly illuminate the entire scene and scare the bejesus out of the unsuspecting.

I imagine I could be in a small log cabin in the middle of upper North-West American wilderness, working on some literary masterpiece, with only the elemental music of nature as a distraction. That’s how I feel, in the moment— at the moment.

Then the stream of my digital radio recovers and the distorted riff of NIB brings me back to reality.

I tend to romanticise thunder storms this way. They’re nothing special, just an expected meteorological phenomenon— especially after a warm day.

The inconsistency in British weather is not good for one’s health

We constantly switch between wet and dry, hot and cold— we are essentially a bacterial wet dream.

No two days are the same— more often than not our weather will change drastically over the course of a day.

No two hours are the same.

I’ve had a cold for most of 2009. I also live in an environment with five people who are terrible at washing up— bowls of festering; mould dwelling dishes share the same area where all my food is prepared.

It’s generally accepted that university is a germ breeding ground— throw in the decline in diet and exercise and you could accurately conclude that I should have died about two months ago.

I’m not entirely sure I haven’t.

The healthiest I’ve ever felt was a two week holiday in America. Even in New York I felt healthy— I had urges to eat fruit.

It was constantly hot; I only ever wore shorts and t-shirts. We were walking pretty much everywhere. Once we got to San Francisco it was even better. The heat was healthier; the Bay provided an invigorating breeze and slightly salty sea air.

By this point I was tanned, my skin looked healthier and I kept wanting to eat fruit.

About three months later I was as white as an Eskimo’s ass cheek, eating chocolate like most people breathe oxygen and doing approximately no exercise. And, of course, sneezing and coughing from a cold.

I tried to recreate the free ‘n’ easy lifestyle here at university by ditching underwear and wearing light, flimsy clothes like I did back in ol’ Frisco.

I promptly caught myself in my fly.

Yeah. Ouch.

I’d heard people talk about it, or talk of it, but you never think it’ll happen to you.

Undoubtedly the most painful and panic stricken moment of my life.

What the hell do I do?

I kept worrying that no matter what, I would lose skin; that I’d accidentally convert to Judaism.

That I’d be the next John Bobbitt.

Apparently he went on to become a porn star for a while, with his deformed, reattached penis.

Despite the pain I took my time. You can’t rush these dilemmas.

I thought maybe I could just pull free, alas there was too much, too deeply entrapped.

So basically it came to up or down.

I’d caught myself near the top. I figure zipping up would be less painful due to the shorter distance of zippage.

I also had a horrible, horrible vision of basically slashing my penis lengthways, gutting it like a fish.

All in all it turned out ok. I’m not yet Jewish, everything is in working order and the indented pattern of the zip is starting to fade.

I’m still a man.

It. Hurt. Like. Hell.

This was just before my last social engagement at the University of Essex— no time to dwell on it.

Every Monday night I meet up, or did meet up, with other writing enthusiasts and we all read our masterpieces, then go and get drunk and play pool.

The room we used to assemble in was reassigned to the Pole Dancing club.

That’s how much my university values literary endeavours.

This week everyone had made me cake. These were casual acquaintances at best; literally we’d meet one day a week. I have no friends.

And it was touching to know how much these people were going to miss me. I don’t know if it was the homemade chocolate cake I’d been baked or an aftershock to the zipper affair, but there was definitely a tear in my eye.

The thunder storm has ended. In a fit of romanticism I’m going to end this blog with the storm and the return to calm and serenity (and in no way suddenly rush into an ending because I’ve run out of nob-in-zip stories.)

This is like the blog ending equivalent of No Country for Old Men.

Just gonna cut to black.

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James D. Irwin is a British writer based in the Hampshire countryside. His work has appeared online, in print, and on stage. He can be contacted at [email protected]

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