The old man had started something that he couldn't finish. It was going to be the grandest garden-gnome village the world had ever known. But after just four trips to Wal-Mart's garden section, he realized he couldn't afford as many of those little chumps as his vision demanded. He stopped at about 20 gnomes.
It was an underwhelming sight. The gnomes almost blended in with the grass and bushes. None of the neighbors said anything. Even the neighborhood kids, whom he'd imagined lining up to tour his grand village, didn't comment on it. It just looked like he had left a bunch of crap in his yard and forgotten to pick it up.
So when the hurricane came, he looked out his window at their ridiculous imp faces. They seemed to mock him. He left them out there as the trees began to rustle and the birds all flew for cover.
"Come on, Irene," he sang softly, his breath fogging up the glass, invoking the name of this particular storm, although the song was really "Come on, Eileen." He had never been good with song lyrics, either.
He wanted the wind to take them away. He wanted the wind to erase everything his life had never been.