DEAR JULY,

We trust your stay has been a pleasant one -- for you if for no one else -- and wish you a swift, safe return to your home in the pit of Mt. Etna. You will notice several additions to your bill this year, amounting in all to some $8.4 billion and covering such items as excessive use of air-conditioning, pulmonary discomfort,psychological distress and widespread generalized miscellaneous pain and suffering. We will,upon request, produce a detailed list of these items, but suspect you have already been made aware of their nature by reports in the news media.

All of which brings us, July, to an unpleasant subject but one that can no longer be avoided. To be quite honest, your conduct during your stays here over the past century has been frequently oppressive and occasionally intolerable. It seems, however, to have exceeded all limits in the past 31 days, as reflected in the above-mentioned news reports, which made frequent and repeated use of such words words as "swelter," "record," "no relief" and "stifling."

In the interest of preserving the good name of this establishment while at the same time continuing to serve the needs of the month community, we would like to introduce you to a special opportunity now being offered certain of our regular guests. It is called the Cicada Plan for Blessedly Infrequent Visitors, and its terms are quite simple: You, July, agree to visit us only once every 17 years. In return, you will have free rein during your stays here to steam up the windows, spoil the chicken salad and melt the light sockets without restraint and without being billed extra. We hope you will find our plan attractive; we find it an absolute necessity. Very truly yours, The Management, The Temperate Zone CC: August.