Funnel as Paranormal Conduit

Ryan Call

The funnel of a tornado acts as a paranormal conduit, by which the deceased farmer may gather around himself bits of the world: the fragrant earth that he once tilled, boards of wood to remind him of the simple houses in which he used to dwell, cows and other livestock upon which his livelihood at one time depended. The funnel extends conelike down to the ground from a fertile cloud, usually the cumulonimbus of an active thunderstorm, and, at its narrowest point, there exists the farmer, weeping, clutching his chest, harvesting. The rapid condensation of water vapor in the low pressure of the whirling air forms the visible part of the funnel, and near ground level, the mounting debris cloud adds to its bulk, sometimes creating funnels of monstrous proportion. Several funnels may develop in a mature tornado system, with small vortices (farmer children) continually forming and dissipating while rotating around the central core of the main tornado system. This is called ‘familying’ and is to be respected for its patriotic nature. A tornado funnel can assume various forms, from a thin, writhing, ropelike column of grayish white, in which crouches the dusty, economically disadvantaged farmer, to a thick, amorphous mass of menacing black, run by a board of corporate farmers in a city far away. In the Northern Hemisphere, tornadoes almost always spin counterclockwise. We believe that this is symbolic of the deceased farmer’s desire to return to a time long ago, a time when he was alive and his bounty plentiful. And although there are verified instances of clockwise-spinning tornadoes, little is known about them. We can only guess that these are the funnels of immigrant farmers, cynical farmers, those farmers who lived to rape the earth.

Ryan Call is the author of Pocket Finger (Publishing Genius), a chapbook on which he collaborated with his sister Christy Call. His fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in Barrelhouse, Avery, Hobart, No Colony, New York Tyrant, Caketrain, and Sonora Review.