RAIN • by Alex M. Stein

I heard you the first time, Derrick. The clouds are rolling in.

Sure. I can see that. I can look up and see them.

But have you ever wondered where the clouds come from? Have you ever given that any real thought, Derrick?

Is there some magical place that the clouds gather. Maybe they’re given coordinates and flight paths. Maybe they receive targets from someone or something. And they go after us.

I know, Derrick. I know you studied meteorology. I know you can tell me about slipstreams and gulfstreams and patterns. But what of clouds before they roll in? Have you considered that, Derrick?

Have you dreamed of the place where clouds are born and held in cloud colonies and cloud cribs until they’re old enough to go out on their own, at first only for drizzle and overcast skies but eventually for real rain, sustained winds. Maybe even a hurricane.

Because those are the clouds I want to know about, Derrick. Those are the clouds that threaten me, the ones that can’t bring themselves to say things to me directly, so they float overhead and they look at me askance and they pool their water to drop down on me. Those are the clouds, Derrick, that ruined my neighbor’s roof. The ones that drowned the rose bushes that I planted so carefully before I knew rose bushes could drown. Those are the clouds that led to canceled softball games and ruined trips to the beach and plans to attend concerts in open-air stadiums.

Gather those clouds up, Derrick. Roll those clouds right in because I’ve got something to say to them. Tell them, Derrick. Tell them to listen carefully.

I. Have. Had. Enough.

They can go on vacation and rain on someone else for a change. Then come back later. In months. Or maybe years.

Because the clouds have rolled in once too often this month.

So now they can roll the fuck out, Derrick.

They can roll the fuck out.

Alex M. Stein is a Los Angeles-based writer, director, and lover of the Northern Lights. He was recently awarded an Art of Creative Unity award from the International Human Rights Art Festival and is the author of the short-story collection Tales From the Trail: Short Fiction About Dogs, Mushing, and Sled-Dog-Races.

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