The sun had set by the time the Hammer and I started out on the trail. It was quiet. The only sounds were the calls of a few swallows not already resting on a perch, a single robin singing on a wire, the Hammer's tinkling dog tags and stones crunching under my feet. The farmers had stored away their tractors and were watching televisions which were already beginning to light up the quickening darkness through windows not yet curtained.
In the distance Dope City's unique smog, half burnt fossil fuels, half marijuana smoke, was thickening against the green mountains. Behind me a sunset red as the ice beneath two junior hockey players after a crowd pleasing punch-up.
On one side of the trail a farmer had already begun to strip his field of its corn stalks. On the other side the stalks still heavy with silky green cobs.
We met a couple out taking their old dog for a walk. The Hammer pleased all three of them with her over-size exuberance. The dog was white whiskered, the women long legged and the guy looked like he needed a beer as much as I was beginning to need one.
As my dog and I returned to where we had began we both heard something walking two or three rows deep in the field of unpicked corn. The Hammer approached the edge of the field then thought better of it and raced to catch up with me. It may have been a field ghost but it was probably a coyote.
We drove home in the darkness with all my car's windows wide open. The warm wind smelled like shit. It always smells like shit in Steepleton but it was real stinky tonight.
After Sonja scolded us for staying out past dark ("I was starting to worry!") I gave the Hammer a big cookie and went to bed after I had the beer I had been thinking about.