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It sounded in my ears like a gently falling rain, plopping and plinking on a hot July evening, kind of sweet and musical.

But I looked out the window, and then out the door, and there is nothing of rain out there. It's just hot and dark, the unrelenting heatwave rolling on like a never ending freight train through a one-horse town.

Still, walking around the house, winding down the day, I would hear that ploppy-rainy melody, like something is catching the falling rain just right, maybe the way it is rolling off the roof eaves.

What is it?

Then I stepped in it, soaking my sock on the carpet, and it felt like I fell through a hole in the floor in this breaking-down house with my broken down life. "No, not the air-conditioner. Not again!" Our lifeline to civilization, our tiny piece of the American dream!

Like a little boy I run to Pop and cry the alarm, "We're leaking, we're leaking! The sky is falling, it's the end of the world! Can you still pull out your magical credit cards and make these dragons go away!? Can't we live out one more summer, one more time, live our lives just a little longer?"

* * *

Going to sleep was going to be hard on this night, but when it came it came with a vivid, somewhat lurid dream. Pop and I were lying in bed together talking. There was a somewhat sexy black prostitute in the room with us, or more with Pop. He was saying, most enthusiastically, almost whistling, that she was such a joy, especially "the way she dresses". He says he gladly pays his six-hundred dollars to go a round with her. I don't say anything, but he then speaks to my unspoken thought: he couldn't let me do what he does and pay for me to go a round with her, "That is too illegal!" The way he plays me, the way he sees me, as though I am five years old.

* * *

It's not over for us yet - life as we know it, such as it is. The problem wasn't even the air-conditioner. It was the water heater, and it was just a hose gone bad.

It was still a bit of an ordeal, though. We had to cut off the water to the house. Fortunately, Pop was able to get somebody to fix it the next day, another acquaintance of Lorie's (she may have married Anglo, but she connects well with latino laborers), but it still ruined our night and day. And I also have to deal with this soaked carpet, inconvenient and smelly. Between this and the a-c leak last month, this carpet has been watered more this summer than a good part of our lawn.

At least our pleasant-enough lives get to go on. This isn't the disaster that breaks us. We really have been pretty lucky, going on as we do for as long as we have. It's just that you know the end is not that far ahead: it could even be tomorrow. But at least today is still mine.


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September 2017

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