And heat, mostly. These are the drivers of the precious wet season that sends the invasive vacationers flapping northward and brings the ugly species back into town. Florida sky can only pretend to be what it isn’t for so long. It tries hard to make the upper crust feel at home until April, but soon after it begins to let its hair down. It stands too close, its breath hot and sticky. It talks too loud. Its steps are heavy. When it lets its frustrations out, which it will reliably do daily around the time the workday ends, it doesn’t hold back. Ditches fill and palm trees bend under the weight of its honesty.
Bars close early and restaurants shutter their windows. Beaches clear and the world slows to a crawl. As streams overtake trails, it becomes evident who should be treading. The sky and the land worked together to resist human attempts to “tame” them for human doing. They ask instead to be accompanied by human being. And the human watches as business of wholly other variety displaces her convenient agendas.
The aliens cruise in under the radar—their funny, flying-saucer edges rippling along the sand. Like the good gourmets they are, they follow the seasonality of their prey and only eat what’s available. The cost of bringing in asparagus from out of the country is unconscionable, after all. Local delicacies provide a much more sustainable food base, anyway, even a tastier and more unusual one. And if one is nomadic, then one doesn’t have to get tied down to the drudgery of sameness. And so the aliens move parallel to the luxurious ones who fly north, living on responsible subsistence from place to place.
The opportunist steps on the alien’s boneless body for a better view, then cries at the sharp pain in his ankle. These are the invaders, the opportunist thinks, taking away our view, our sovereignty, our right to tread without thought—our choice to stomp without shuffling. And so the opportunist nurses the wound in his ankle, cursing the thing he crushed and learning nothing.
The polite ones who flee back to their pretentious northern summers and aggressive northern winters miss the orgies. Millions of them. The little black-clad lovers emerge from the trees and the grass, stirred by the sky’s hot breath, and get right to it. Countless tiny couplets, enjoying each other’s companionship, make their beds in the air. We unwitting roommates can do nothing but satisfy their need to be seen. The peaceful, the accepting, the contemplative walk with them, unconcerned with their eroticism and acknowledging the human’s role in submissive voyeurism.
The aggressive drive cars through their bedroom windows. The jobless fuckers have nothing to teach us, after all. They wake up one day, craving old vegetation and sex. Those who meet the basic economic criteria for living don’t have time for such frivolities or those who would indulge them, so we either build highways through them or buy plane tickets to get away from them. One always wonders if chemistry thinks morally, though, as their remains eat through the paint on our fenders.
They spend their childhoods fraternizing in the pool, enjoying the sweltering days loitering with their weird friends. They climb out on their own time but never shed the spirit of their youth, and in the summer they sing and hum and whistle all night long. Their tune carries across the lakes and marshes, out of sewers and into backyards. They hold rallies and block up the streets. We find them in our front yards and in our cul-de-sacs, zig-zagging home at 2:00 am.
The stickler spends June wiping their slime off her windows and tugging her dog away when he stops to sniff. She can’t tell them apart from their venomous, out-of-town cousins, so she just kills them all indiscriminately. She laments what she believes to be their noise pollution. She didn’t sign up to move into a musical neighborhood, and so she drowns out their chorus with her bemoaning, wishing away their right to celebrate, their right to inhabit, their right to commune.