Sam felt a bit strange as he and Jimbo sat in the park, watching the girls baseball team practicing. Not because he was watching the girls, but because he felt strange.
"What's eating you, Sammie?"
Sam looked at Jimbo, his tall, rascally Texan friend with a drawl a mile long and fists as big as hams. "All morning I've been feeling as if at any moment I might go...boom!"
Jimbo jumped a bit when Sam emphasized the boom a bit loudly.
"Don't have to go ballistic and emo on me."
"Sorry. Just feels like...boom!"
Jimbo plugged his ears. "Through?"
"Think it's another kind of power thing or other?"
"It's the other that's got me worried. Remember last time I felt this?"
"Yeah. We got caught up in a fight with some kinds of demons from the seventh level of hell. And it turned out to not be hell at all, but some kind of projection by a misguided, miscreant..."
"Whoa, my Texan partner."
"Gotcha. Look, weird is weird after awhile. So how much more weird can it get?"
Samuel was about to answer when one of the girls slugged the ball so hard it spun overhead, and dropped towards his lap. He shot up to catch it.
San Francisco was burning. People were screaming. Horses were screaming. Men and women were running in every direction as the place was shaken and torn by a huge earthquake that no one had ever expected.
Samuel found himself dodging falling brick and mortal, leaping over sidewalks that sprouted broken water mains, and hissing gas that exploded into searing flame throwers as he passed them. It was a race for his life. He couldn't believe the horror of it all. One man ran towards him screaming, his body on fire, his eyes burned out of their sockets, hair smoking and flesh burning. He smelled like singed pork.
Samuel tried to help the men by extending his umbrella to steer him towards a horse trough, but when the man struck the water, the trough exploded as a huge piece of building smashed into it from the side, sliding it and the man towards oblivion.
Samuel ran and ran, until he didn't think his high heels would last any longer. He finally had to tear his long petticoat free as it was catching on everything. He felt it tug free, revealing his legs, which in any other time would have caused him great shame, but a woman had to do what a woman does.
He finally reached the safety of the pier, but it was also breaking up beneath the rips and tears of the earthquake. Fire was spreading from the warehouses onto the dock, threatening to overwhelm all the ships moored there.
He finally managed to reach his destination and ran up a boarding ramp onto a large schooner that his father owned.
His father was already ordering his men to shove off from the pier for fear of the flames and water damage. He knew a minor tidal wave had to be coming as well, and they needed to draw as far as possible from any structures that they could collide with.
"Darling, help the boys now, will ye?" Her father said.
She tore off the rest of her petticoat, which again would have driven the sailors mad with lust, but when they saw her flying across the main deck to help raise the anchor, they ignored her, for their lives were at stake. There might be hell to pay on the morrow, but today they were one family determined to survive the Great Quake.
Finally, the ship began to pull free from its leads to the dock, and the anchor groaned loudly on its chains as it rose, dripping from the sea water.
Her father strode over and grabbed the anchor and with the help of two men, they angled it to its berth.
She went immediately into the Captain's Cabin and threw off her female clothing and put on regular sailor clothes. She stopped for a moment to admire herself in one small mirror. Then she frowned. "How can I be me?"
"Is he going to be all right?" He heard a pretty feminine voice ask with great care and concern.
His eyes fluttered open and the bright afternoon sun lanced into his brain for a moment, until he put an arm across his face.
"I'm okay." He muttered, not feeling okay at all.
He gradually removed his arm from over his eyes and revealed the most beautiful girl he would never know. For the moment he recognized who it was he knew Jimbo was going to be out with her before he could say a word.
"You're one brave gal." Jimbo laid it on with thick sweet honey Texan drool.
She looked at him and dimpled.
"I'm sure you helped cure whatever was ailing my friend and partner here."
"Friend and partner?"
"Yeah. We have a detective agency."
"Really?" She asked, her eyes wide with excitement.
As Samuel slowly got to his feet, the girl and Jimbo were already heading in a different direction while the rest of the girl baseball team gave Samuel a thumbs up, then went back to play.
"Whammy Sammy!" He muttered, feeling the slight bruise on the back of his head where he had struck the ground. "I get the wham and he gets the girl. For all I know he'll be doing that until I'm a hundred and three."
He sighed, then tucked in his shirt and headed for home. "Things could be worse."
"You betcha, Sam."
Samuel looked to his right and Albert, the scientist man with a brain the size of a universe, was striding beside him.
"Why didn't you warn me?"
Albert shrugged. "What good would it have done? You'd have still caught it."
Sam sighed. "Suppose you're right. My one shot at making an impression on the girls and I blow it."
Albert smiled. "Not really."
Sam gave him a puzzled look.
"Hi, are you Jimbo's friend and partner?"
Samuel stopped to turn around and the most gorgeous redhead he'd ever seen was standing behind him smiling.
"Does your head hurt? I know the perfect thing to fix it."
"You do?" He asked dumbly, stumbling over his words.
She took his arm and steered him away from the direction towards his home. "I do."
Sam smiled. Maybe the day wasn't totally a loss, but what had that whammy been about and why had he been a girl in it?
"You listening?" The redhead asked, when he didn't reply right away.
"I'm sorry." He quickly recovered. "Still a bit shook up."
She gave him a bright smile. "I'm going to fix that too."
She laughed and the sun shone brighter still.