Bingo Baylor was heading home from a friend’s party at nearly two in the morning, a man servant accompanying him through the streets of Bluefields. Bingo was drunk. There were no two ways about it, but he was certain that he was feeling the ground beneath him move.
“Martinez just how drunk am I? I could swear that I just felt the earth move.”
“You felt that as well sir? I thought it was my imagination.”
Weaving slightly from side to side Bingo looked at Martinez and then saw the sky light up behind him.
“Shit, what was THAT? The sky’s all lit up there a way to the west. Do you think something exploded at the canal supply dump?”
“Erupción volcánica” Martinez whispered the blood draining from his face.
“You mean one of the volcanos did that? Are we in any danger here?”
“Si, mister Bingo. One of the volcanos. Perhaps Conception, there were reports of sulfur venting were there not?”
“I seem to recall reading something about that yes.”
“We must return home, get everyone and everything into the courtyard, there may be earthquakes. The house could collapse, if it hasn’t already. We must put tarpaulins over anything we bring out from the house.”
“Right let’s go. I’m going to need a strong pot of coffee as soon as we get there.”
The pair rushed through the streets, packed with people who had come out of their houses to look at the western sky. Mothers were crying fearing for sons away working on the canal and old men crossed themselves, remembering eruptions decades before, and prepared for the worst.
Minutes after Bingo and Martinez reached the house a fine black soot began to fall over the city. It covered the streets, the plants around the house, and was followed by a heavy rain.
“This is why we need the tarpaulins, use them to cover anything we bring out of the house. As long as the volcano continues to eject soot it will drop downwind, and will also create rain. If we’re lucky we won’t see any rocks falling here, but I’m sure they are falling somewhere.”
“Thank you Martinez for all your help. I’m going to send someone to the warehouses to make sure things are secure there.”
By morning the situation became clearer, first, the telegraph building had collapsed in the initial earthquake. There were reports of mudslides in the hills to the west, and at least some canal construction camps had been destroyed by rocks raining from the sky like artillery fire. There was no contact via telegraph with the west coast and it would take time to restore the lines to the rest of the country. Bingo offered the use of his motor launch to Puerto Cabezas where hopefully the telegraph office would be in one piece.