The water in the bathroom down the hall is bleeding into the bathtub again, making an awful noise.
If the administrators with the city saw this broken tap, and all this shameful waste of water in the middle of dry downtown Charlottetown, they would surely be on it, and us, post-haste; but the landlord has been here and seen it and hasn't made any effort towards fixing it.
And though it is driving us slowly crazy, with all the subtle intensity of a perpetual motion torture machine, we do nothing to stop it either. It is hard enough to sleep, and sometimes the rhythmic certainty of a month-leaking tap soothes and charms away the night.
It is far too hot for any serious physical exertion, we are saying, and one hopes (hell, expects) that the water department feels exactly the same way.
They know more than anyone that it has rained hardly at all in Prince Edward Island this summer; only nineteen millimetres since May, by anyone's measurements an awful drought. And though this apartment stands in direct contrast to the rest of this county, with all of them in a conservationist's crouch, we are not removed from sharing their discomforts.
The temperature in Prince Edward Island shoots at and around the 30-degree mark, with no rain in the air. With no air conditioning and the brazen ineptitude of the Wal-Mart oscillating fan mocking you, country driving is sometimes good for air circulation. Except, even at the highest of speeds tonight, you get mostly hot air through the windows, which mostly intensifies the problem.
Farm fields, as the car slows down, are dust bowls and at any minute you except to see Tom Joad kicking and swearing his way through the red clay rock.
But this is not Tom Joad. And you know it.
This fence you have jumped is not in California, or Oklahoma, but instead eastern PEI. And you are not here alone.
Instead in this another yellow field where barley and potato blossoms dream their way into the green, an old man walks a blind dog heading straight for you. He is noticing and disapproving of your presence. He is yelling now, over the 200 meters of August, "identify yourself young man!"
You are spun around and hiccuped by the way his skin is age itself, and course and still new and soft, like the ends of an old rope; and the way the dog walks half-arrow straight though his head is dull-angled and lame.
The man repeats himself, more aggressively this time: "And you are, my boy?"
"No one" I say.
He holds up his hands. "The only traveller I need is rain."
The dog runs towards you, skipping and hopping over the crops like a rabbit. And is on you, knocking you down, but not mean. The wheat brushes his wet nose to your chest and soon his master is there, smiling and winking as the great dog jumps proudly to a place he can't see.
The man takes your face, wipes your shoulder with his great hands. Hands you a piece of straw.
"Goddam," he says, "he doesn't like anybody when it's this hot and dry, goddam," he laughs, "(goddam,) I believe the rains might be coming yet, and soon, son! Any minute."
Kent Bruyneel manifests his own destiny.