I kept my promise to Day One and hit the trek on the Greenway. It was sunny and cold, cold, but I was prepared. I should have noticed that I was only perceiving cold cold. It was not the weather, but me. Illness underway.
Layered, gloved, earbuds, my shuffle making love to my ears, I set out in hopes of reclaiming a little lost stamina. Just before I locked the car I thought 'pen and paper'. Ok, you never know. I've been dithering about a big scene, the bad guy take down, and gave it two seconds of thought before I had to negotiate with the dogs. Guy on two leads being dragged by two blind looking, big, strong, Man Ray dogs that mystical shade of gray. They wanted to know what I was thinking.
This part of the trail attracts a lot of dog walkers and, lately, the dogs are all giving me the stink-eye. Friendly people with what are probably friendly dogs have to haul them up short on their leashes because they all want to investigate me. Why not? I live with three cats. It's my reaction to these investigations that's unnerving. I find myself stepping off the trail and standing still as if the old invisibility trick will actually work.
So, I'm trudging along, not being able to find the swing. My legs are being dumb and needing constant instruction. "Don't step on that. Stride longer. Watch out stupid". It's like I'm walking my own two witless hounds. Then, a idea occurs out of the blue, a particularly nasty mindset and some dialogue, and I pull over to lean on the convenient railing and scribble stuff down before it evaporates.
Another fifty yards down the trail and I pull over again for a few more notes, but really a few more deep breaths that aren't working. There is a pain in the center of my chest where the air seems to be bottlenecking and a twin pain in the hinge of my right shoulder. What's this then? A fucking heart attack? I'm only at the damn quarter mile marker but cold sweat on my face and common sense prevail and I turn to head back.
After a minute I seem to find my stride and breath and stop worrying about dropping dead in a pile of dog shit (not everyone scoops the poop) and I stop one final time for a little more scribbling with my back to the traffic when I get the magic weimaraner nose lift from behind. I almost peed on his head.
I turned around and the big bozo jumps up to wash my sweaty face for me with his tongue. He's slipped his lead, Daddy nowhere to be seen. I'm hanging on to the railing to keep from going down. My notes, pen and one glove go over the side, down into a ravine where the paper is quickly swallowed by some industrial looking slime oozing along into the creek.
In seconds, goofuss dog daddy hollering "Fred, Freddy" rounds the bend and pulls Fred off me, all apologies. Who names a dog Fred? I assured him I was only sticky. All I wanted was to make it back to the car where I sat and hopefully rewrote most of what was lost, then drove straight home, no retail side trips. Something was bearing down on me.
I was sick as shit until four in the morning, most of that time spent rolling this way and that in the sheets completely bulldozing a king sized bed, trying unsuccessfully to find the cool place that wasn't freezing and the soft spot that didn't feel like bricks.
At some point I forced myself to get up, take a handful of something with a half quart of apple cider and went back to bed to finally pass out. It must be the dog flu. I dreamed I was standing in front of Freddy who was seated at a desk flicking his way through my manuscript with a red pen muttering "It's mostly shit, but only mostly."
Back to work.