[No stars] The long-lost dog days had trotted up to the door, weeks late and unapologetic, smelling of decayed things they'd rolled in. Overhead was a bleary mix of haze and thin unbounded cloud. A blinding glare reflected off oncoming cars and the surface of a grime-speckled curbside puddle. Production-crew workers were sticking greenery into the chain-link fence around the non-public garden, till it combined with the flourishing street trees to present a sinister jungle lushness. By midday the sky had settled out into blue and white, and the heat had not gone much beyond the earlier unpleasantness. Visible haze had abated at rush hour, but the air was thick and dead. Down in the subway, the atmosphere was nauseating, unbreathably thick and laced with rot and air freshener, or rotted air freshener. Worn-out sunflowers leaned against a community garden fence, and behind them were dead brown corn stalks and ragged-looking broccoli. Out in the night, the air had begun moving, but it was no more refreshing than the stagnant air had been. On the way back from the supermarket—with bags of near-overripe fruit and dispiriting vegetables—a sustained wind blew up the avenue, hot and full of construction dust, raising a heavier sweat to catch and hold the flying grit.
Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014