(This was supposed to be posted on Monday. I forgot, so here it goes.)

Winter’s encroaching, and my building has yet to turn on the heat. Each morning I’ve been waking up in a fetal position, covers tucked under my body to minimize the volume of air my body needs to heat. Finally, yelling in protest, I capitulated and accepted that Autumn’s finally gone. Moaning and groaning, I headed into Manhattan to buy myself a real comforter.

You know the kind. Stay in any Marriott or Hilton and you’ll be treated to one of these miracles. It’s like cake icing a foot deep and made of feathers. You leap nto the bed, and then slowly begin to sink. Your friends might try to toss you a rope, a brave few may even lean out over the smooth expanse of the bed, but it’s too late: the comforter has you in its grip, and it’s going to inhale you whole.

So thinking, with visions of white goose down falling like snow in my mind on undulating fields of cloud-like comforters extending as far as the eye could see, I emerged from the subway next to Macy’s. Hunching my shoulders against the cold, I saw that the street was lit up with a coruscating ruby light, gleaming and flashing off the glass sides of the buildings, the massive windows, the car windscreens. 34th street was lined on both sides with patrol cars, their lights flashing silently, lighting up the night with their crimson hues.

I looked about for the source of this lock down, for some sign of violence, turmoil, a bank under siege, a man about to jump. Nothing. Each car held two bored looking police men; their presence was a mystery.

A MYSTERY.

A woman stopped by one of the cruisers, and chortled, “Why you guys sitting around like this, all flashing and stuff?”

The laconic police officer drawled, “We’re just hanging out.”

The woman shrieked with amusement, turned from side to side to see who had overheard this droll witticism, and leaned in close again, whispering loudly enough for me to overhear some fifteen yards away, “No, really, y’all can tell me, I’m good with secrets, what’s going on?”

The police man stared at her and rolled up his window.

The woman shrieked with laughter again, and then, shaking her head and wiping away tears, she tottered away on her high heels.