The rain has kept the sun worshippers from their daily rituals for the better part of this past week. The touristy shops along the beach roads begin to close earlier and earlier, and the seasonal ice cream shop sports new winter shutters.
The intermittent rain brings needed relief for the parched earth. The lower temperatures allow the pale denizens to finally emerge from their cool, shady homes. Their faces upturned to the roiling sky, the cloistered ones breathe air not cooled and recirculated by machine for the first time in weeks.
The stores are full of parents stocking up on supplies for school. Two young, first grade-age girls argue the various merits of the lunch boxes: Hannah Montana, High School Musical, or Bratz? The shoppers move through the aisles, denuding the shelves as a high wind would strip leaves from the trees. Like a plague of locusts they come, laying bare the store's metal skeleton.
The large tan SUV moves swiftly into traffic, a pair of lurid fuchsia flip-flops miraculously clinging to the rear bumper with the tenacity of barnacles. The streets are surprisingly empty for a holiday. The city hunkers back down for more rain.
As night blankets the wet city, lights wink out earlier than normal in preparation for the morning's new beginning.
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