For a short time, before I started heaving them into dumpster and collecting the check all the same the way a friend taught me to do, I delivered a weekly advertiser to houses in my neighborhood. It looked like a newspaper, felt like a newspaper, but was just a collection of help-wanted and services-rendered ads packed underneath an inglorious banner that read The Adit. Helena is an old-west mining town, gold found in good quantity in the granite dirt, where actual adits are preserved for posterity, so the publishers had an easy name in that one. Anyway, anyone who's ever delivered a newspaper knows the smell the black and gray mass gives of from the cotton carrier bag. The ink is pungently fresh, and the newsprint seems to be emitting a stench too on account of all the rungs it's just been run through in the press. Motor oil on paper napkin, the smell you get under the hood, is a good approximation. Almost salty. That smell stalking you as you crunch through day-old snow with cold fingers tips grabbing at the next delivery to the next house with a green-plastic awning. That smell as your 8th-grade mind calculates how much $45 per week works out to per frozen step, per astroturfed doorstep, per paper; or the other way, per bimonth, month, year. Yesterday evening, in Fairbanks, I smelled that smell as I walked past a bowling alley built in what used to be a famous airplane hangar. It must have been my imagination--there was no Fairbanks News-Miner around--my mind adding the wood smoke and the horfrost to derive a long-ago association. I breathed it in through my nostrils and it burned, the cold air and carbon. And it was only September 30.