It was March of last year, a few days before Easter. The thing to remember about that night is that it was stormy everywhere. Hard rain was falling all over the city, “But in Red Hook,” says Jon, “it was apocalyptic.” At 499 Van Brunt St. the winds cut down the pier at sixty miles an hour. The clouds would drop eighteen inches of rain by the end of the night, and rising tides and the last of the winter thaw combined with the rainfall to turn the cobblestone streets into a greasy swamp.
Elsewhere in the world, a lot of bad things hadn’t happened yet. Spills and Roni were in the studio, working on a spot for Rodarte. Twitching images of gaunt women draped in lattices of leather and string repeated themselves on the screens of the edit room as the untended fire went out.
It was maybe too late at night to be editing footage of a fashion collection inspired by Japanese horror films; it was time for Spills and Roni to go home.
When they went downstairs they stepped outside and found a lake where the lot should be. The water, they swear, was waist-deep in places. A glassblower stood in front of the warehouse, half submerged in water. He raised his arms in a gesture of comic defeat and announced “Exploration time!” Then he waded away.
Spills and Roni stood on the high concrete blocks that mark off the parking lot to keep themselves dry, and Spills took out his camera to capture the flood on film. That’s when a man materialized out of the blackness, wading through three feet of water, wearing garbage bags for pants and carrying a spotted dog. The hard wind barely ruffled his long white beard and hair.
Spills and Roni went back into the studio and huddled for warmth. Convinced they were stranded indefinitely, they trembled, and resolved to sleep in the studio if they survived the storm. If you ask Jon Kane, he’ll tell you what happened next:
I remember the night perfectly.
I called into the studio to check progress on a job. [Roni] and [Spills] were in a full blown panic about being flooded in. It was real rainy out for sure. I drove my car over to see what was up. The water was all the way back to Fairway on Van Brunt, like a lake. I drove to the other gate and drove through. The land slants up that way so there was no water. I drove along the back of the pier, around the dumpsters, and up to the front door, which, by this time had no water in front of it. I had my Big Boots™ on, of course. The water had receded and they didn’t realize. They were no longer flooded in. I walked in, told them they were pussies, drank some whiskey, watched their video, and went home.
If the waters would part for anyone, they would part for Jon Kane, of course. The love between the three men only grew stronger after surviving the storm.
The only victim in this story was The Tempest. Pork, who was not in the studio, remembers that night only as the day his Tempest sank.
He found her in Greenpoint on Easter Sunday, broken beyond beyond repair.