Some ill-defined thing in my dreams startled me awake at 3am today. I knew I’d never get back to sleep, so I made a pot of coffee and headed out to the porch to think through some things. What slight breeze there was came laden with African dust, any exotic traces overwhelmed by conversion to prosaic grime. It only took a few minutes sitting on the steps to become sticky with sweat and tropical humidity.
The neighborhood cats were AWOL, probably making their rounds, with the exception of Greywhite Slashface, a grizzled tom whose recent altercation with some night creature had left him both battle-scarred and slightly more amenable to human company. He hobbled into the yard and stretched out under the broken mulberry tree, looking expectantly in my general direction.
“So what do you think, cat. Is Castro dead, or not?” He turned away in disdain, but I wasn’t sure what to make of that. “I think he’s still alive, but probably not for much longer. I don’t like wishing people death, but I might be able to make an exception for him.”
Greywhite pulled himself up and walked a few feet further away, then slid back down into the dark and damp grass, outside the range of my yellow porch light. “Yeah, you are right. It’s too damned hot for politics. Hell, it’s too damned hot to even write.”
The cat looked toward the house, his eye glinting from the darkness. “Yes, I have air conditioning, true. But my power bill was over $250 for the month. That’s a lot of money, you know. But no, you don’t know, do you?”
I straightened my back and felt my shirt fall hot and wet against my skin. “God, I hate this. It’s almost as bad as the two weeks without power after Wilma last year, sitting in my living room with the windows open praying for the air to move. By the way, did you know there’s a storm coming? Chris, this one’s called. Looks like it won’t hit us directly, just some rough storms, but Cuba may be getting hammered by it.”
The cat skulked through the grass toward the warble of a night bird, but paused to look back at me before disappearing into the darkness.
“Hmm, you think Fidel’s using JFK-era weather control satellites to drench the island, staving off any potential revolutionary activities? Hell, I guess it’s no crazier than some of the tinfoil hat theories I’ve heard the last few days.”
A low growl came from around the corner of the house, near the overgrown bougainvillea.
“Okay, okay. Off the record, background only. You got it.”
The sky lightened to indigo. I swatted a few errant mosquitoes stuck to my arms, collected my coffee cup, and went inside for a shower.
It’s too damned hot to make sense right now, anyway.