My mouth was dry but the weather wasn’t, hammered onto my hood as I power-strutted from where I’d been towards home. I’d needed a haircut for a while, my mop didn’t fit under the hood attached to my sweater, or anything less than an umbrella; I angled my head to the ground, compliance is the only way to deal with gravity, the flow of water ran off my chin like facial hair and I saw brown strings of flesh stretched haphazardly across the beige cement: worms, too many to count, all on their way like me. I crossed the street but was moved through a city, there was landscaping, soil everywhere, even more, few writhing but most still, from the right angle and with better lighting their bodies were laid out in an agility training obstacle course. I felt something impactful swirling itself up in the back of my mind but my sub-conscious delivered memories of my year as a college hockey player, particularly off-ice training in the gymnasium where I’d failed to memorize the coach’s walk-through steps time and time again. Athletes thrive through reaction, rhythm, a feel for the game that as the thinker I could recognize but never truly emulate; I’d been a player, but was recruited for my skating, could’ve stayed on the team at that school but didn’t to transfer into a different life that included a night walking through the rain and kamikaze worms; I didn’t intentionally desecrate any of their bodies but eventually wandered into shadow thick enough to remove accountability from my steps. I hopped into the street, continued my journey until a beep and rapidly encroaching pair of headlights reminded me I wasn’t a car, I dodged back onto the sidewalk and tried to listen to the drops from above instead of the squelches from under. I knew the way home by heart but had entered a residential area with less than satisfactory street-lighting, popped back my hood because also the rain had lightened and found I could see; my hands took water from the poofed front and top of my hair through the rest of it, why did I care so much about the worms? I wasn’t a fan of their aesthetics, had always avoided fishing so I wasn’t expected to grab then spear them, wasn’t even sure if stepping on them was lethal; weren’t they supposed to grow back when split? The truth was further away than the puddle in my path, I hopped over then found myself on a concrete island in a raindrop canal, two tiles of walkway in front of me had collapsed into a drain and reservoir for water though only cement would satisfy its thirst. I passed on slowly, rolling feet through the pool instead of plopping so that the wetness never agitated above the rubber-lining of my shoes; three people appeared from nowhere then were past me, one of them gloating about a five-hundred-dollar check coming on the first and the other two listening like it was their Sunday. The voices were gone before long but left an impression; the worms in front of me, where’d they’d come from, were all squished- they’d walked across every inch of the sidewalk for no reason and would continue to do so, ignorant saboteurs of my effort on the way in.

What is it about rain that makes worms commit suicide? They don’t eat cement.

End

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