I close my eyes, whistle, and send the dogs off into the brush to see if they can scare up any words. I'm not sure how long I sit here --it varies, I suppose, from night to night. When it gets quiet like this, though, and I can't even hear the rustling or baying of the dogs, I get a little bit spooked.
Some nights --more and more often lately-- they're out there a long time, traveling great distances across the barren fields. Darkness seems to drive the words underground. I'm too old and tired to run with the dogs, and there are too many slippery patches, so I just sit here quietly with my eyes closed, waiting.
I no longer expect the dogs to bring back any stories or even paragraphs, and a sentence of any length would frankly be a surprise at this point. One night, I've no doubt, the dogs will finally disappear for good, but for now I'm grateful for whatever random, useless words they manage to drag back and drop at my feet. A 'why' or two, a 'what,' maybe a 'mule,' 'moon,' 'river,' or 'road.' A good night might net me a handful of multi-syllabic words: 'casket,' 'donkey,' 'scapegoat,' or 'steeple.'
At the end of the night, usually when the sun is casting its first bruise across the eastern horizon, I'll gather up whatever words the dogs rustle up on their rambles and tote them back home across the fields. I'll then brew up a pot of coffee, spread the words out on the kitchen table, and spend a couple hours moving them around, trying with little success to make them say something.
In the morning I'll burn them in an ashtray and then toss the ashes out in the backyard.