36. Amber Rainstorm – sassy, direct and not at all wet

Amber raincloud

An exclusive extract from my hotly anticipated new novelette, ‘Amber Rainstorm – my part in her downpour’:

The rain fell like hundreds of tiny silver bullets onto his forehead, nose, ears, ankles and other exposed parts of his face and body. ‘Ouch’, he said. ‘This rain is really hard’. ‘I’m soaked to the bone,’ she concurred. ‘Really?’ he countered. ‘Or is that just a convenient cliché?’ ‘Sometimes I wish you weren’t a writer,’ she said. ‘Yeah?’ he sneered. ‘What would you have I be instead then?’ She slapped his big wet face in slow motion. ‘A meteorologist,’ she thundered precipitously, slipping on her bright red, thigh-length wellingtons and storming out of the flat.

Arriving at Hong Kong observatory that afternoon, the writer receding into distant memory like the Hell’s Angel, furniture delivery guy, and college football star before him, Amber knocked twice at the heavy oak door. The observatory sat on a green hill high above the city. There was a crow’s nest of TV aerials and satellite dishes attached to the top of the building, along with an illegal rooftop apartment shared by a number of unemployed RTHK weather forecasters. She glimpsed one through a taped-up window eating noodles straight from the pan in her curlers – sans make-up – and shuddered involuntarily.

Eventually the door was answered by a shorter-than-average panda in a three-piece suit and bowler hat who invited Amber to remove her wellies and enter.

‘I’m looking for a meteorologist. Must have liquid assets and GSOH,’ she told the panda in her indiscriminately icy manner. The panda nodded politely and gestured towards a man in a white coat who was seated in front of a huge bank of flickering monitors. When the man spun in his chair to face her she recoiled in horror. He wore an eye patch and was completely bald.

‘Sorry, I don’t like baldies,’ she said, firmly and then – to break the awkward silence that followed – ‘How will the weather be…next week?’

‘How should I know?’ the scientist replied impatiently, waving towards the TV screens that showed hundreds of protestors camped out in the middle of Hong Kong. ‘The climate is changeable…distinctly changeable.’

[To be continued…]