Lord help us!
* * *
With breakfast, such as it was, completed and Frankie playing out of doors, she put
the bills on the dining room table and started figuring, quickly becoming discouraged.
One can of Coke remained in the fridge. She plumped into the recliner in the living
room to let the frazzle fade away, pausing between sips to make the moment last, her
eyes ambling languidly over stained wallpaper and worn carpet.
Soon she drained the can. Good, in a way—wouldn't have to lift her arm again. Her
eyelids drifted down and she again lay by the sea—the sun veiled by high clouds, a
light breeze blowing cool, waves plashing on the shore, land crabs scuttling past, sweat
trickling down her ribs…
How odd, though. The sand seemed brittle, crunching as Adrian strode near. In the
background his yacht engine thrummed. Crunch, thrum—cruncchh, thrumm—crunchchch,
What the devil now?
* * *
At his wife's house—ex-wife now—Trask had planned to leave by daylight but
couldn't sleep, so got up around one AM and tried to read and watch TV. Neither
worked—simply wound him up worse, and he hadn't slept well this week and more. At
three he took a quick shower, packed the last of his things and headed to the garage.
Near the doorway his hip brushed a dinky side table, jostling a figurine. He
pictured himself hurling it at the far wall, but cool dignity won out. Dropping house -
keys on the table, he went through the door and into his truck, heading east away from
the suburbs toward open country.
Time passed un-noticed, his thoughts jumbled with recriminations and might-have-
beens. But around seven fatigue overcame anger and chagr in, and he looked for a place
to stop. Driving slower to minimize his erratic course when tired, a sparse traffic
bunched-up behind while waiting for safe stretches to pass. More daring or impatient
drivers charged by him with horns blaring and gestures flying. He searched eagerly—
then desperately—for a rest area or pull-off, the country devoid of human constructs
other than infrequent houses or barns on the occasional strip of flat land.
Near nine o'clock traffic thinned. A faded wooden sign proclaimed, West
Baker/Little League/Champs 1986, and he entered a town of two-story clapboard
houses with front porches overlooking small neat lawns. The Israelites never greeted
the Holy Land more rapturously than he did the parking spaces of this oasis. He held
his course a few blocks into the business section, to be rewarded by sight of a diner.