Three days of rain came to an end in the afternoon, and the forecast is clear, so you decide to walk to work. Since you work the graveyard shift, you leave your house at a quarter till eleven at night. The air is still saturated with moisture, and a heavy fog covers Newport as you set out. There is a constant sound of distant foghorns from the harbor, like Martian war machines hooting back and forth across a deserted London.
As you pass the 7-Eleven on Broadway, there are a couple of cars in the parking lot, and a few people clustered together near the glass doors. You remember your own time working as a clerk there -- on the graveyard shift, of course. At this time of night, most of the customers are stoners buying Phillie blunts or munchies. You cross Mann Avenue and pass St. Joseph's just as the church bell rings out the quarter hour. There is a plastic bag from the 7-Eleven on the steps, with some empty food wrappers. The church steps are a popular place for the city's homeless to sit down and eat.
Glancing down, you see leaves scattered across the sidewalk, still damp from the rain. On the clear patches of sidewalk, there are remnants of departed leaves; the rain leached the tannin from them, then the wind blew them away, leaving their color behind.
There are a few other pedestrians walking through the fog, and the occasional car goes by, one or two playing music loud enough to hear. When the car drives off, there is just the silence punctuated by the foghorns.
Crossing Spring Street brings you to the southern end of Broadway. There are three bars in this last block, and as you walk past the foghorns are blotted out by the sound of music and conversation. A few of the patrons stand outside the doors, talking to each other and smoking. The sound swells, then dies away as you walk past each one.
You enter Washington Square, and walk across Eisenhower Park. The statue of Oliver Hazard Perry is dark, and backlit by the streetlights beyond. On your left you pass the Opera House Cinema, and glance at the movie posters for Coco Before Chanel, The Men Who Stare at Goats, and Pirate Radio. At the bottom of the square you round the corner at the Banana Republic and cross Thames Street. On the far side of the street is a woman walking a dog, a black-and-white boxer. You've met them a couple of times before, so you greet the woman while holding out your hand for the boxer to sniff. He does so, no doubt noticing the smell of your basenjis. After you pass his inspection, you take some time to give him a good thorough scratch on the rump. True, you have to clock in at work in a few minutes, but it is your firm conviction that time spent petting a dog is time well spent. Work can wait.
The woman and the dog depart, and you continue on your way. You're closer to the harbor now, and the foghorns are louder. You pass by the closed shops of the Brick Marketplace, avoiding the puddles that cover some of the brickwork paving that gives the area its name. Beyond the Brick Marketplace is America's Cup Avenue, and you stop to let a car go past before you cross on your way to the hotel where you work. The parking lot is mostly empty, which generally means a quiet night, and a quiet night is a good night. Satisfied, you pause while the front door opens, and enter.