It's hot. Yeah, yeah, it's a dry heat. And that's just it.
California hot makes you wake up with dry eyes. You get headaches. Your sinuses, their weird, bony cavities scorched down to their tiny hairs, ache and cry (a brittle rasping little yawp) for relief. Your finger tips pucker and your rings slide around on the flesh, which suddenly looks all knuckly, giving up its plump moisture somewhere else, probably the mysterious dark organs. You lose your appetite even for fresh asparagus and chardonnay.
Sleep is restless. You wake up at 3 a.m. your tongue stuck to the roof of your mouth, and you're pretty sure you've been gasping for breath and snoring. Up naked, you wander your digs, the dry bottoms of your feet scritching across the unrefreshing vinyl. You're looking for water. In the dark like this you feel like an animal, maybe even an insect, a cockroach. You feel around under shelves in the dark kitchen, and when you find a bottle and crack off its lid and drink it, you let a little run down your thorax. You think you can feel the water actually moving into your body, rushing through a hundred parched capillaries, and then you feel your human body again, your heart and your elbows and the wrinkly part of your eyelids. It's a startling sensation, the body's machine taking hold, and it vaguely frightens you. To calm down, you stare out at the banks of harbor lights which almost always do the trick. But with no moisture in the air to make them twinkle, they glare back charmlessly, hard and arrogant and bright. You primally fear thirst. You know there's a lot of water out there but you couldn't drink it. You sneak back to bed, into the barren sheets.
In the morning, you feel irritable and parched; you have to apologize to your partner for your sapless remarks, the words catching in your throat, even before 9 a.m. The morning paper crackles, sere and staticky as you flip each page. Your horoscope doesn't mention water: it says you should hunt alone. Even bullshit has more juice than that. Even the news is dessicated and harsh.
You have work to do, but you don't want to do it. All you want to do is flop down on the crinkly dry couch and watch CNN, which is repetitive, droning and dry.
This is when all those other words wash over you: cloudburst, deluge, drencher, drizzle, flood, mist, monsoon, rivulet, shower, sprinkle, stream, torrent, volley, wet stuff -- and you know it's about time to get back to Flint.