Respite. Respite at long last. The air conditioner repairer arrived with his steampunk instruments, his gas checking gauges, his pumps and screwdrivers. He looked at me sternlike, asked me what wrong had I done that the AC was not working. Asked me had I ridden it too hard. I said screw you, man. I ain’t got no things for machines. I like human beans. Female human beans. He said, nah, you done fucked the AC. I tried to decipher if he was joking or not but his face, like I previously said, was all sternlike and carved out of stone, his beard longer than mine, his color of skin darker than mine–but that’s due to the tan he permanently acquired from standing in the sun too much fixing all those air conditioners.

A break in the stone, a sliver in the stern, he started laughing, started rolling on the floor. It was sunny and hot and humid when he had walked in. When he began laughing, and I shit you not, a storm rolled out of nowhere, black clouds and gust and all. And I looked at him funny, asked him if he had done brought the storm and he laughed harder. Said, son, I fix air conditioners, not the weather. Had I been able to do so, I’d be out of a job, wouldn’t I? It’d be breezy and cool all the time–moreso for my own benefit than out of care for others–and people wouldn’t need their ACs fixed. He sobered up from his laughter and got to fixing whatever was wrong with the machine, leaving me wondering, wondering, wondering.

He’s left, after three hours of banging, clunkering, hinkering, dunkering with the valves, the blowers, the pipes, the wind bestowers, and he’s left with a good many coin jingling in his pockets.

I breathe again, this time in the cool of this artificial cold air, I take my shirt off, it was all wet and sticking to my skin, and I rest on my bed, close my eyes, dream of air conditioner repairmen who’re secretly weather-weatherers.

Hell’s just a distant concept again, sweat and blood and otherworldy muck are gone and evaporated with the wafts of this new cool air, comfort’s all mine. I sleep and dream of cloud bewilderers, those mages who walk among us who can with their glance, their will, change the weather, change a sunny day into a rainy one, change a rainy one into a sunny one.

A hint to the initiated, the Cloud Bewilderer is the arch nemesis of the Crowd Bewitcher.