Mac returned to his car outside the convenience store at the foot of the Louisville bridge, across from the used vehicle place with the Honda-on-a-Stick. He had thought about an Icee and went inside to get it, but counting his change saw that there would definitely be no lunch tomorrow if he got an Icee tonight.

He had wandered around the store aimlessly, the dubious clerk's eyes following him. Mac tried to engage him in conversation about the riot at the college, seeing that his accent resembled the protesters. "I go to no college. You wish to buy sometheeng?"

Outside the humidity was like a hot wet towel wrapped around his face. Dullness etched the night. Then, as Mac leaned against the door of the Fury, a Firebird blared up into the parking lot from the direction of the levee.

The guy's stereo was loud. He left it on a moment after shutting the engine down, crossing eyes with Mac, no reaction. Then he popped the key out of the ignition and stepped quickly outside. The silence was startling.

"Hi," Mac said, friendly just in the way you are in greeting someone you have never seen before. The guy slowed, enough to discern that Mac wasn't someone he knew, then flipped him the bird and hurried on.

Mac watched him go in. He felt slapped. His heart began to beat hard.

This wasn't fair. So much of the time he could take things and go on. But. But.

He was scared to go where this feeling would take him if he let it. So, over the course of a few moments, he let himself consider a very un-Mac-like thing. He thought about sabotage. Time was running out and plans vague when he edged over and looked into the Firebird through the passenger window. Reaching inside, he twisted the volume dial all the way up so the guy would be totally blasted when he cranked up.

Then he saw a cassette engaged in the player. He kicked the button. It leaped into his palm. He left the lot quickly, with a touch of some small ecstasy. Theft.

It seemed imperative to go across the river for escape. As if a long, long way away. He shot the red light and sped across the drawbridge, tires grating like some natural disaster gaining ground behind him. Somewhere, as though in the past, a dim explosion sounded.

His car was equipped with a tape player but he had never used it, had never owned a tape; the radio always worked. He descended into the ominous sleep of the west city, kicking the stolen treasure in. There came an organ like a church organ, but edgy, extreme; then a voice:

Dearly Beloved
We are gathered here today
To get through this thing called life




In the courtyard of the church they pause with a single outside light behind them, splaying her white hair. Sarah stands almost a full head above Glasseye, looking down upon him, hand on his shoulder.