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Rain is pretty. Rain is necessary. Into each life, some rain must fall.

I personally, hate rain. Being in it, I mean. I could look outside at a rainy day for hours, but if I have to go out during a rainstorm, it immediately puts a damper on my day. Pun totally intended.

Of course, I own rain gear: waterproof shoes and boots, slicker, and an armada of umbrellas. Doesn't make being in the rain any more pleasant for me.

Moving to Seattle wasn't one of my better career decisions.

I thought people were exaggerating when they said that it rains nearly every day in Seattle. Feh. The only time it doesn't rain, is when it snows. Thankfully, it doesn't snow that much or that often in Seattle, which is why umbrellas far outsell snowplows. Still, there are many people who just okay with strolling down the street at a gingerly pace, as if it weren't raining at all. They're either incredibly brave, or they're psychopaths.

Which brings me to my coworker, Irv Crawley. He's freshly moved to Seattle from parts unknown and is always equipped with his trusty black-on-black umbrella. Except today.

It seems that his favorite, possibly his only, umbrella has been misplaced, forgotten at his home (wherever that is), or has been stolen. And he's quite freaked out about it. At least, he's as freaked out as one of his particular persuasion is likely to be. Crawley's generally an even-keeled kind of guy, a rather typical personality for an accountant. This is possibly the first time I've ever seen his brow furrowed.

"What d'ya say, Irv?" Graham, the lead sales guy says to Crawley while slapping him on his back.

"I say appropriate and succinct responses to reasonable queries," Crawley replies.

Graham laughs. "Always the card. I'll catch ya later, pal."

"I do not believe anyone has any intentions of throwing me."

"Ha! Love it!"

I say good morning to Crawley as he walks by. "Greetings, friend Bethany," he replies. He always addresses me thus, even though we aren't much more than office acquaintances.

"You seem perturbed."

"Quite an astute observation. I am deprived of my moisture-shielding apparatus on this day."

"Lost your umbrella, huh? I can sympathize. I don't like getting sprinkled while trotting from my car to the office, either."

"I do not distress as a result of being rained upon," he says. "The device is of immense sentimental significance to me. It was gifted by my antecedents, who placed trust of its custody in me."

"Well, where do you think you lost your precious bumbershoot?" I ask.

"It is my conjecture that I did not lose it. I'm subscribed to the belief that it has been taken from me. By whom, I know not."

Mr. Teakwood, the station manager, walks over to Crawley and myself from the coffee corner, a piping hot eight ounces of dark roast in his "I'm The Boss Applesauce" mug. "Top of the morning to ye, Bethany. Irving. Might I inquire as to why we aren't yet at our desks?"

"Crawley lost his umbrella."

Teakwood snickers. "Oh, is that all? This is Seattle, Irv. As such, we keep a surplus of umbrellas in that pail over there. Strange that you never noticed it before."

"The large receptacle did not evade my purview," Crawley says. "Utilizing an alternative has never been a viable option."

"You're that attached to it, huh? I understand. A piece of your life from where you were born? A family heirloom, perhaps?"

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