The Rockport Miracles-Part 4: Episode 33: “The Ballad Of Derecho Dan” Continues:

Little Dan had split a storm in two and taken the proverbial cake! As it was later explained by expert psychologists and members of the Grateful Dead, the LSD Little Dan had ingested encouraged his brain to reach a higher plane of whatever. His enhanced mental state enabled him to shape-shift the storm into a Japanese monster lizard which, in turn, imbued Little Dan with the sense of purpose and duty one needs when blowing up storms. Even his detractors had to admit that Little Dan performed an Old Testament-style miracle complete with Old Testament-style consequences. 

Torn asunder by Maynard Gridley's exploding boat, the western lobe of the massive storm did an “exit stage right” directly onto the upscale neighborhoods along River City’s coastline. Hundreds of Riverites who’d gathered atop their shale cliffs to watch the derecho storm victimize Rockport had instead become the victims thanks to Little Dan’s electric kool-aid acid voyage into history.

Once, the most wanted criminal in Rockport for his derelictions that caused the Gas & Lube disaster, Little Dan had become an instant sensation once the accounts of his deeds had found their way into the lunch counters and dive bars of Rockport. Rockporters everywhere raised their glasses and toasted the local hero who’d forced the elite citizens of River City to drop their barbeque tongs and run for their very lives.

Even before the ambulance had delivered Little Dan to Rockport Hospital, a local businessman known as “Cy the T-Shirt Guy” had sensed the largeness of the moment and cranked out a line of T-shirts and tank tops carrying Little Dan’s likeness with supportive quotations and a timely new nickname that stuck. One design said, “Derecho Dan Has the Guts!”, (a thinly veiled reference to the tons of blenderized fish the explosion had dumped on River City). Other shirts carried the ever popular battle cry, “I Break Wind with Derecho Dan!”

It wasn’t all guts and glory, however. The incident had left Little Dan seriously injured, intermittently unconscious, and subject to the homicidal whims habored by the entire population of River City. When hordes of Rockporters swarmed into the Rocky River Valley to rescue Little Dan from mob justice, the battle known as “Shale Wars I” erupted and raged into the evening. Before it was over, the cliff tops of both cities were ablaze.

The Rocks of Rockport and the local safety forces eventually dispersed the angry mobs and stopped the hateful violence. At 11pm, both cities had imposed martial law. By then, a total of 46 backyard gazebos and 12 pergolas had been burnt to the ground. The cluster of ship-shaped homes that had piled up at the corner of Ahoy Avenue and Crappie Lane, were set ablaze by raging Rockporters. The resulting conflagration was the largest bonfire remembered in these parts since the Christmas Tree Bonfire of 1970 when Storm 1.0 blew in and kicked off the Storm Era.

Inside the speeding hearse-like ambulance with sirens blaring, Little Dan wove in and out of consciousness. Nonetheless, his Aunt Rowena Gridley wanted answers. She screamed into his ear, “Little Dan--What was it that pulled you out of the storm?” Rowena was referring to the invisible force that she and hundreds of onlookers had seen pulling Little Dan's raft away from danger.

“Tell me, Little Dan!” she pleaded, “What was it?” Little Dan opened his eyes and began moving his lips, though no audible words came forth. “What did you say?” asked Rowena as she moved her ear closer to Little Dan’s mouth. Little Dan took in a labored breath and wheezed out a word that sounded like, “Ba…hee…moth.”

“BEHEMOTH???” exclaimed Rowena. The driver of the ambulance who’d been eavesdropping yelled out, “Did he say, ‘BEHEMOTH’?” A puzzled Rowena replied, “Yes..he said, ‘behemoth.’” The driver scratched his head and said, “Hmm…well,” that’s kinda like in the movie, ‘The Giant Behemoth.” While driving at speeds approaching 100 mph, he further explained, “Y’see, the movie opens up on a beach in merry old England where an old fisherman gets fried like a piece of chicken by the heat rays from an off-camera radioactive sea serpent!” 

As he nimbly steered his ambulance into the entrance of Rockport Hospital, the driver went on to say, “So, after the guy’s daughter and her boyfriend discover him on the beach, they start screaming, ‘What was it daddy? What was it that baked ya like a potato?’  Then... right before the old codger croaks, he opens his mouth and says, ‘BA-HEE-MOTH’…just like Little Dan did! BA…HEEEEEEEE…MOTH! Ha! I’m tellin’ ya, it’s my most favorite movie!” 

A couple days later when Little Dan was able to eat soft foods and talk more coherently, people all over the world would learn that it was Little Dan’s "most favorite movie," also.

© 2020 Scott MacGregor-EOI Media Press Inc.

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Volume 16, Issue 19, Posted 5:22 PM, 09.16.2020