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2004-10-23 - 10:40 p.m.

It's raining in Miami. Awnings are leaking, sending down trails of water for packed Saturday night revelers weaving and dodging like linebackers in slow motion.

Underneath the twinking chords of a guitarist who could have played hand double to Antonio Bandaras in Desperado, the constant echo of what sounds like applause drifts into each and every resturant along the shore.

The street shines, as the weekend faithful do their best to guard teased locks, and tenuously gripped outfits.

After a long day, waking in the morning for work, and then sweating through the rest of the afternoon curled into a ball on my bed, watching HBO replay the same movies I've now seen three times over, I needed release from my little room, already stinking from the breaded shrapnel of last night's pizza.

Dinner was definate, but nothing was keeping me from the game. The sports bar at the end of the strip called, but only guarenteed a long evening dipped in Budweiser and eccstaic Boston fans who would like nothing better than a fan of the Bronx Bombers to trounce with one liners.

Usually the tables flanking the sidewalk make for the best people watching, but tonight, I took a seat at the bar, just to the left of the plasma screen beaming out the game from Fenway.

Positioned between a party rambling through their life stories, and a pimped out pair of women, one of whom did her best to explain the workings of Baseball to her partner, rooting for the Sox for the first time in her life despite a lifetime in Wooster, I squeezed my plates in, trying to figure out exactly what curry is composed of, and why I needed a full size plate to eat the bread they provided, even though all of it was nearly bite sized and no butter was offered.

An hour previous, as I looked over the menu, the guitarist and a barker tag teamed me into coming into the club.

"What are you looking for, my friend? To eat? What do you need?"

"Well, I've eaten enough pizza.."

"No problem, my friend. We have pasta, seafood, steak, whatever you need. We have chicken, and shrimp..."

"And her..."

The guitarist pointed to a girl done up like a Vegas show girl just below the menu, and just to the right of his own portrait. The barker laughed. I smiled.

"That's his wife, you don't need to say anything."

At the bar, I sat away from the stage, but caught glimpses through the back mirror. My eyes were glued to the screen as St. Louis tried to muster up an offence. Beneath me the planks of the floor shook under the constantly shifting weight of the guitarist's wife, now down to a black bejeweled thong and a bra composed of what looked like Hostess products. Intent on not becoming part of the floor show, I kept looking forward.

Moments later, on stage with her husband, who played every string of his guitar in quick undulating sucession behind his head, she slammed her backside into fifth gear, moving with enough rotations per minute to suggest that an outboard motor had been attached to her booty.

The music surrounded everyone inside, as the woman next to me tried to explain exactly what an RBI was.

Limiting myself to a glass of Shiraz and an extremely overpriced Irish Coffee I made my way back to the hotel in the lingering mist of the storm. No drop substantial enough to suggest drizzle, the tiniest of specks circled the air like a baby typhoon.

The sidewalks were jammed, and I was kept from my city gait, I normally insist on maintaining. With cars covering ever inch of the curb, and thick puddles padding the inches between them, I was forced to join the trudging single file line.

A week and a half behind me, and two days left, I dreamed of New York. Enough with the dresses barely held together in front by pins. Enough of the saturated air and thongs on men. Enough of the locals doing their best to out salsa the visitors, and doing a wonderful job. Enough of the clubs and over priced resturants.

Send me to the cold. Send me back to grey skies, and tired suits. Send me to the six floor, the rats, the ugly couch, and the unwashed dishes.

Send me home.

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