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Summer 06

Aloha, Paradise
Ana Maria Ventura

     At the corner of Black Olive and Pearson, a lodge hides in the mass of green branches that drip, drip, drip onto the brownish-black roof. A small clustering of trailers parked together, siding that hangs at strange angles, this is Aloha Lodge. Broken, ever-vacant, except for number four, the second-to-last door of those that open into the could-be portable motel. Nine years ago a woman stopped at the lodge on a whim, tired and wet from winter rain. Something was right about that trailer, the crooked trellis void of vines on the left-hand side of the loose screen door, the crunchy gravel drive that hurt good in thin flip-flops. So she stayed, rusting chrome bike under the rusted aluminum carport.
     But today an ambulance is parked in the driveway outside number four. The paramedics trudge, slow, and their black, rubber-soled shoes drag the corpses of lip-tinted Basics, crushed out in the green cut-glass ashtray, half-smoked, into the gravel. Fiberglass and cotton dampen in downpour, one tuft loosens from its spotted brown wrapper, floats down the gutter.