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Devil Winds?

Angela Kim

Millie Jefferson

E Okobi

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(Spencer Platt / Getty Images)
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Excerpt from "Love is a Racket," by John Ridley

There's a peculiar thing to the city, to Southern California: The Santa Anas. Winds that blow hot. Nobody likes the Santa Anas. They start wildfires and spread them like a disease. The dryness of the air, the heat at night -- it drives people crazy. Makes them do things --nasty, hurtful things -- they wouldn't do in the cool. The Santa Anas blew tonight. The night was hot.

Excerpt from "White Oleander," by Janet Fitch

The Santa Ana blew in hot from the desert, shriveling the last of the spring grass into whiskers of pale straw. Only the oleander thrived, their delicate poisonous blooms, their dagger green leaves. We could not sleep in the hot dry nights, my mother and I. I woke up at midnight to find her bed empty. I climbed to the roof and easily spotted her blond hair like a white flame in the light of the three-quarter moon.

"Oleander time," she said. "Lovers who kill each other now will blame it on the wind." She held up her large hand and spread the fingers, let the desert dryness lick through. My mother was not herself in the time of the Santa Anas. I was 12 years old and I was afraid for her.


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