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10.14.2003 by Rosemary, every Tuesday.

This one has a bit of a trick. This is a really weird bird.

The romance writer sat in the wrought-iron chair, watching the rain fall beyond the stuccoed overhang of the porch. To her right, a rocking chair grinned smugly. The woman ignored it. She rubbed her nose, settled further into the stiff, uncomfortable seat, and put her pen to the paper.

The rain fell in reams of silk, blurring nearby houses, and subtly
altering the atmosphere of the street in supernatural ways. Its insistant white-noise hiss erased all other sound. Shadows disappeared and familiar shapes smudged until everything became pregnant with latent, magical possibilities.

The author’s pen paused in mid-flight. She blinked, emerging from her literary trance, and examined the last three sentences. She shook her head. Rich auburn hair popped out of its elastic tie and tumbled out of a hastily made bun; the tie dropped to the floor of the porch.

Cursing, the woman set her pen and paper on a white plastic table and reached to the gritty floor. She gathered the hair together as if she was gathering errant children, and snapped it into place with the tie. Once more she hunkered herself down into the cold chair and took up the paper and pen.

The icy rain drove onto the sidewalk, chilling the concrete. It gathered on the rooftops to fall in thick streams off eaves, carving ditches in side-gardens. Every time a raindrop struck earth it shattered into spray particles that swirled into the air. They gathered into a dense, threatening mist, swirling across the dry boundary into the porch and slowly soaking the woman’s clothes.

Shivering, the author pulled her shawl closer. She looked sidelong across the porch at her enemy. The wicker rocking chair puffed with soft, thick cushions. It seemed to be smirking.

“Dammit,” said the woman. She had vowed not to give in to temptation; she did her best writing in the wrought-iron chair. If
she moved to the rocker she’d fall asleep, and the publisher would call her again, complaining in his squeaky-mouse voice, “Your next novel, WHEN?”

The author looked at the words on the paper. Then she struck them out with slow, deliberate lines. “Unclear Idea,” she wrote beside it. "Also, repetition of the word 'gather'". She set the pen down one line lower.

The rain fell in gossamer veils. It washed the new leaves of the
maple and tumbled into the topsoil, releasing pungent scents. Deep in the soil it found the smooth head of a crocus and coaxed it to push up through the warm earth.

The author shook her head. She struck out the sentences with
more long lines. “Too Gushing,” she wrote. “Also Something
Vaguely Sexual about the Crocus.” She wondered if she had a dirty subconscious. The rocking chair winked at her. It seemed to have fluffed up its pillows while she was writing.

She felt her flesh bulging through the cold iron grid of the chair
seat. Her knees ached painfully. She was no longer young; perhaps it was time to start writing in comfort.

The downpour slammed defiantly against the hot black pavement, sending up steam. Singing with life, it cut grooves into the tar. Slowly the old surfaces eroded beneath the vibrant strength of the young rain.

The author blinked. Terrible, trite description; what was she,
some sort of communist revolutionary? And what was "vibrant
strength"? Her knee ached worse, and she was sure she’d have grid marks on the bottoms of her thighs. She looked towards the rocking chair and felt herself yearning for it. Maybe inspiration would come in sleep. She felt her legs creak as she began to lift herself up. Then her eyes flicked across the lawn.

A yellow ball nestled in the wet grass. It was now her granddaughter’s, but it had once been hers. She thought about the story, and she thought about being young. Sometimes, she thought, you have to put down the pen.

She kicked off her shoes and ran down the steps to the yard. The rocking chair glared from the porch, but the rain egged her on. Her foot slammed squarely into the ball, sending it flying.

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