Just past eight pm, mid-September. Late September, really. Warm, but still boots weather, sort of. I'm on the back porch with the new machine the puppet show forced on me, faster but worse than the old machine, as maybe all new machines always are. Beetles are landing on me. I've got the ballgame on, just waiting for the Braves' epic collapse to continue apace. I've got a little ice in the glass. There are bats. Crickets. A few cicadas. A few college kids celebrating their flexibility, their tolerance, their recovery time from injury. The nearly-next-door shriek-dogs are going, but we're not at the place I've always been with other dogs. These dogs are occasional. Perhaps this helps. The novel is out in the world. A few people are saying no. A handful of people are saying maybe. I don't sleep. The Toad sleeps. The Toad also walks. I am day-to-day and rest-of-life all at the same time. That's where I've been all summer, what's been wrong with me, what's kept me from the forecast. I missed Irene. I missed whatever all else came through since I hit save and hit send. It was almost cold enough Friday night for a fire. We held off. Now I'm counting the days, hoping, waiting—for news, for something, but surely also for fire, for frost, for hats and coats. I bought new boots. For the boots weather. Which we are now almost having. They hurt like hell. I'm wearing them anyway. Breaking them in. That's where we are.