There Ain’t No Church on Fire Tower Road

There Ain’t No Church on Fire Tower Road
Dave Atsals

In the last couple of months central PA saw two major events: an earthquake and a massive flood. Not to mention the earthquake in Penn State. Each event showed the average American’s lack of intelligence. They all made Mick Zano look like Walter Cronkite and the Ghetto Shaman look like the Dalai friggin’ Lama.

During this little earth shaking event, I immediately realized what was happening. My average American coworker, however—not so much. In fact his exact words were, “Did you just fart?” To this I remained silent, I didn’t want to risk the chance he would fire me. Don’t worry, I remained silent but deadly. Revenge is dish best served warm and wafted.

As my Facebook page was lighting up with messages and posts such as, “What was that?” and “Did Dave just fart?” I left one of my own witty remarks.  We all remember that REM song, The end of the world as we know it? You know, the one that goes: That’s great it started with an earthquake birds and snakes, an airplane, Lenny Bruce is not Afraid? With that song as the basis of my post, I left the following witty remark, “I just saw Lenny Bruce…and, boy, did he look scared.” For this wonderfully intelligent post I received no Likes and only one comment, “Hey did you just feel the ground shake where you live?” To which I just had to reply, “No but I think my boss just farted…..Dumb Ass!”

Two weeks later our whole area was hit by a major flood. I mean a big one, with houses, cars, entire roads, and even a few establishments of worship (you know, bars) went floating down stream. Even my poor friend Terry was swept away, bar stool and all. He did manage to keep his cigarette lit somehow. Pennsylvanians are tough. I’ll give ’em that.

Even places not along rivers were flooded, like where I live, on the side of a sizeable mountain.  Barns, cows, cars, neighbors, neighbors that looked like cows, all could be seen taking water rides.  The water runoff down the mountain road was like a tidal wave.  In fact, even the street sign, Fire Tower Rd., was washed away (which will become an important point in our tale). 

While I was out battening down the hatches and closing up the shutters, a VW bug, up to its hubcaps in water, stopped in front of my house. The driver rolled down the window and a column of pot smoke that looked like the Hiroshima mushroom cloud emerged from the window. When it finally cleared, a man, possibly Willie Nelson, looked out at me through blood shot eyes. He explained he heard the highest ground around was at the top of Fire Tower Road and he wanted to seek an elevated area to pray. I explained to him that Fire Tower Road was a dirt road with a river currently running down it, but gave him directions all the same. Sarcastically I said I think the VW would make it up just fine, maybe it would even float.

And Float the God Damn thing did; he must have made it up about 50 yards. Then over the river and through the woods, towards grandmother’s house he went. Thankfully she moved to Arizona years ago. I’d hate to be singing, “Grandma got run over by a Stoner” for the holidays. About an hour later I took out the 4-wheel drive Chevy to assess the local damage. It was bad, real bad, but better than that pot-smoking preacher. I found him clinging for dear life to the roof of the VW. He was drenched, scared sober, shaking, and sobbing. As I drove by, he said, “All I wanted to do was get up that hill to pray, man!”

As I passed, creating a wake high enough to enter his car, I said, “By the way, Sparky, there ain’t no church on Fire Tower Road.”


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