Smoke Twelve

I stumble through the laneways and backstreets of Aramis, catching the occasional snatch of conversation and dice rumbling. The awnings are still out, despite the dark hour, and just as I realised I’ve taken a wrong turn to the left the rain begins to fall again, unannounced and with great speed. I freeze beneath the temporary shelter of the intersection and the stairway leading down to the underground substation, its neon glow barely visible down the tunnel’s hollow length. I wait in the blasted tunnel entrance and watch the black sheets of water falling like prisms through the postfuture morning, levitating slightly on a memory of Shanghai. Our midnight run through streets awash with rainwater frothing up like beer from the gutters, sprayed in an arc across the bottom half of your jeans as you dove headfirst into the electro. By the time we fell laughing in each others’ arms in our cubicle lovenest, the morning light was falling through the apartment block’s central courtyard, and the sound of mah jonng was already there, the tiles hitting formica like rain on a corrugated iron roof.

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