New York City, February 25, 2014

★★★ An overbred German Shepherd or something related slunk out the side door of a high-rise, wearing protective booties that made its squashed hindquarters appear even more crippled. A powerful gray sameness lay over everything, so that even the sun was nothing but a pale round spot. A speck of something white drifted by, a snowflake or a bit of garbage? Then a tiny wet flick just below one eye, and another solitary white spec against a dark background: the most tentative of flurries, like the first post-Thanksgiving attempts at winter. A customer traced a star with a finger in the fogged-over window of the corner bodega. The Citibike rack down on Lafayette was full, as it had been for how long? When was the last time anyone had ridden by on one? A man pulled out his penis in the cold and pissed on a lamppost. Shadows appeared, as tentatively as the snowflakes had. For a while, later on, the sun appeared for real, almost invitingly, then faded out again. At sundown, under a sky now scattered with prettily tinted clouds, there was a Citibike in motion after all, coming up Lafayette, and another coming down it, the wrong way.