It was a once in a lifetime, barnburner, shitshow of a storm.

Certainly it was being hyped as a Biblical-level event. So much so that the grocery stores and gas stations were being plundered by modern day, milk-and-bread pillaging Vikings, annihilating everything in their path for over fifty miles. There was no getting in or out, a palpable, menacing sense of anticipation hanging in the air like the dark storm clouds forming low over the horizon. A Disaster Holiday. At least that was the feeling Stanley Firpo got at every breathless blonde anchor babe he saw hyperventilating in real time across his plasma television.

Storm of the Century!”

Big, angry letters scrolled across the bottom of the screen as Firpo raised his fourth beer high into the air in a sloppy, gleeful toast. Hurricane Nora, what a joke! A hurricane was an unusual occurrence in Honolulu; no wonder everyone was flipping their lids over it.

“Here’s to you, Nora, you windy old battleaxe! Bring it on!”

He was loose as a goose tonight, his boss telling him when it first began not to bother showing up. Firpo was under no illusions that he was the World’s Greatest Bartender, but when weather conditions interfered with the drinking habits of the Lagoon’s most dedicated patrons, he knew the storm was some serious shit.

Stanley Firpo had a lot to thank the Blue Lagoon Bar and Grill for, not the least of which was the emergency twelver of Bud he managed to sneak out after his shift last night. They’d never miss it. He knew for a fact that Leo never met a bottle of Beam he didn’t like, the only difference being that Firpo usually did his drinking off the clock while the manager of the Lagoon stayed on a professional-level buzz pretty much every night.

Not that Firpo could blame him. The endless supply of lost, older women in ill-fitting muumuus and sad-eyed men attempting to relive their glory days in the Lagoon could wear even the most battle-hardened of them down. Leo was reasonably young and in shape, much more so than Firpo, anyway. Firpo was a well-seasoned 39 with a disheveled, Don Johnson in the mid-90’s look that still snagged the occasional bite or two. More infrequently, he noted, with every passing season. He was in the early stages of going to seed while Leo, with his well-defined arms and whitened teeth, was still very much in demand. Firpo was happy and more than a little bit relieved to pass the baton along to Leo, just as long as he could abscond with the occasional twelve-pack every now and then.

The wind battered the flimsy walls of his tiny apartment, a howling, empty sound that sent Firpo back to the fridge to crack open another beer. He wished, for perhaps the thousandth time, that he had someone to share the Disaster Holiday with. His latest fling with a newly minted divorcee named Coco had turned out to be its own kind of disaster, the lure of lost wealth and prestige hurtling her back to her old man in record speed. Faster than the rain and wind now beating up his old windowpane, he thought in bitter amusement.

The smell of her perfume still lingered as he fell back onto the couch and turned on the latest weather report. Ten inches of rain had already fallen with no relief in sight, the forecasters reported in somber tones, their pale, tight-lipped faces causing the first traces of alarm to take root in Firpo’s fuzzy mind. Taking a deep pull of his beer, Firpo leaned back, letting the droning, disembodied voices carry him off into a hazy and disjointed sleep.


Take immediate shelter, do not leave your homes if at all possible. The governor has declared a state of emergency, we repeat, take shelter immediately…rescue teams have been out all night searching for stranded…”

Firpo fell hard onto the floor, waking himself up and knocking over partially filled beer bottles like pins in a bowling alley.


A generic alarm went off on his cell, a high-pitched tone he usually associated with amber alerts. His head was pounding, urgent graphics flashing across the TV as the latest news reports bored into his brain. The heat kicked on automatically, Firpo noting the temperature in the apartment had dipped well below 50 degrees. In his three years of living here, had that ever happened before?

Local temperatures have plummeted in the last 24 hours, wind gusts up to 150 miles an hour. The president has declared a national emergency…”

Firpo scrambled up from the floor, running his fingers through thinning salt and pepper hair. The lights flickered on and off, a terrifying phenomenon as he considered the possibility of being trapped here indefinitely, in the dark. The sun was like mother’s milk to him, the main reason he’d moved to the island some twenty years before. This wasn’t the first bad weather he would go through, nor would it be the last. Gathering up his courage, Firpo crossed the room to the sliding glass doors and yanked the curtains back.

A blinding sheet of white assaulted his eyes, snow blowing and whipping around at impossible speeds, causing Firpo to literally fall backwards onto the floor. He could just make out the water, rollicking and in great distress, from his patio. The view he coughed up an extra 20 bucks for every month just so he could see the ocean.

Up to two feet of snow expected in the next 24 hours with temperatures falling into single digits. There are reports of freezing ocean temps, Pearl Harbor is frozen for the first time in recorded history. Hurricane Nora was already at a category four when the eruption at Yellowstone occurred at approximately 12:50 Mountain Time, eradicating most of the western U.S…”

Firpo sat up in wide-eyed astonishment, trying to imagine a world in which things were turned completely upside down. At least they finally got one thing right: this was the “Storm of the Century.” Hell, the storm of several centuries, probably all the way back to when dinosaurs had free range of the planet. His mind tried to contemplate such a level of disaster as he polished off the half-finished beer at his feet. It was warm, but would do in a pinch. Firpo began to laugh, a braying, maniacal sound, as he realized the beer was the last warm thing he would ever enjoy.

The wind speed picked up, blowing snow indiscriminately outside of his window, lights flickering wildly before plunging him into complete darkness. Firpo had the inescapable thought that if Heaven was freezing over, then Hell couldn’t be very far behind.


Stanley Firpo cracked his second-to-last beer, the only candle in his apartment finally reduced to dregs after so many hours, and continued to watch as his beloved island of Oahu was overrun by a hurricane of snow. He watched as graceful palm trees were weighted down and destroyed, the snow’s unfamiliar pull dragging down every facet of island life. Even with a dead cell phone and no connection to the outside world, Firpo was strangely content. At least I won’t be forced to make boat drinks for the bluehairs tonight!

He thought briefly about finding people in his apartment building, some final human contact. It was a sad commentary on his life that Leo was his only real friend, and not much of one at that. He hoped his manager was faring well in the apocalypse; every man for himself, as the old adage went.

It was rather beautiful in a tragic sort of way. He had the errant thought that he might need to dig out a wayward pair of pants and old sweatshirt from the back of his closet as he watched his breath come out in icy puffs. Cargo shorts and Hawaiian shirts were his standard uniform, perfect for the soft, gentle evenings of serving tropical drinks to the tourists in paradise.

As he watched over several hours, the storm in Hawaii surpassed four feet of snow, covering most of the patio doors. When the sliding glass door eventually exploded, Firpo was ready. The time had come for him to take his own Disaster Holiday.

Wind and snow whipping all around him, he threw back the remains of his final beer and went out to face it head on, a snippet of an old song dancing around in his head.

It’s the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine!

With an exuberance he hadn’t felt in many years, Stanley Firpo was surprised to find he did feel fine as his feet left the Earth and he gave himself up to Armageddon.