It was minus thirteen when Carr Hartley took his motorcycle down the mountain pass into Merritt, BC to go see his daughter and ex-wife. Conditions were so bad he couldn’t even see the semi in front of him. Shit, it freaked him out a little but he’d seen snow like this before. Everyone in the Merritt chapter of the Club complained about the weather, how the guys down in Cali had it so easy. Most of the Canadian boys had three, maybe four, months of good riding weather depending on where you lived.
Carr could feel the black ice under his tires, a thin sheet of snow the only friction stopping him from careening off the guardrail and down the side of the barren mountain. Merritt was a weird desert-like place, but instead of cacti you’d see gray poles holding neon logos aloft: Esso, McDonalds, Shell. Oil and fast food, that’s all most people needed out here. For the most part, Carr felt the same.
A frigid gust of snow blew into his face and he moved a hand carefully toward his neck warmer to pull it up over his nose. Shelby had given it to him as a Christmas present last year, made him look like the lower half of his face was a skeleton’s because of the pattern. He liked it even though it was cheesy, because anything Shelby gave him was something he needed to keep forever, as a memory of what they used to be.
The descent into Merritt was looking nasty as Hell, worse than Carr expected. He was due to go back to Vancouver Island on Monday, but the radio playing in the last Esso he filled up at told him a storm was coming and snow wouldn’t be letting up till the middle of next week. Standard Canadian bullshit everybody put up with, drinking hot chocolate at home cuddled up with blankets and old VHS tapes. But Carr didn’t have anybody like that anymore, so the snow pissed him right off. Nobody could drive faster than sixty K in conditions this bad, so for Carr it made every trip slower, colder. Gave him far too much time to think.
The wind changed direction and blew snow directly into Carr’s goggles. He blinked, tried to swerve a peek around the semi he was stuck behind because its wheel wells were spitting up so much shit and making things real difficult. The semi slowed, moving off to the right. It was a SunRype truck, had the sun logo emblazoned on its side in gold. The fruit snacks he used to see Shelby put in Libby’s lunchbox. He took Libby to Wal-Mart a couple years ago and Libby passed by the ones he thought she wanted, Hello Kitty and Dora ignored. Libby picked Transformers, eyes lighting up at the sight of Optimus and Bumblebee in raised metal, painted bright on the tinny lid, her blue eyes full of tears.
It was his moment to move. Carr accelerated, Harley engine revving loud over the sound of the howling wind, hitting eighty K around the SunRype truck as a rusty Honda Civic appeared through the blur toward him.
The guy honked and skidded out, Carr saw it his rearview and adrenaline kicked in. When you ride, your heart’s always pumping fast; have to be ready to react at a moment’s notice. Carr’s was about to explode. It was real steep and semis were clogging up the slow lane so if he lost control it was into the side of SunRype or left into the Civic or off the guardrail to those pines down below. Shit, he’d heard of guys going down there in the summer, let alone in black ice. He was scared shitless, you could say.
The Civic driver recovered, though everybody in both directions stopped. Thankfully, there weren’t many others on the road. Just the trucks and Carr traveling through the white blaze. Couldn’t see for shit till somebody was real close, like going through a dream where suddenly everything snaps into focus. Carr still had the taste of some shitty 7-Eleven coffee on his tongue and was craving a smoke pretty bad. Maybe that’s why his heart was palpitating.
The sky turned dark within the hour. By the time Carr reached the old Merritt Motel, the snow was falling fluorescent yellow and blue under the sterile light of the streetlamps, staggered at random intervals like low-hanging stars. He parked his Harley out front under the awning and covered it in the old tarp he’d stapled into shape for winter cover. Used to do all kinds of odd jobs out in the garage, when he had one. Shelby was always real keen on him building things for Libby and he did—from crib to rocking horse to treehouse, he did it all. But Libby outgrew things faster than it took for paint to dry, so as much as they always seemed to get along, things could change in a month, a week, a minute. Libby was half Shelby, after all.
Carr waved at Darla, the motel’s keeper, from outside the sliding glass doors. Darla was a heavy-set woman who used to drive school buses in the district until she crashed it one winter at one in the morning after too much to drink. No one was inside but her, but that didn’t stop the cops from charging her with a DUI and rendering her virtually unemployable. Darla had a lot of problems—namely, an abusive now ex-husband Frank, but that was neither here nor there anymore. Darla said the alcohol was a disease, a symptom of her pain, but sometimes Carr filled with rage at the thought of Libby getting on a bus with a person like Darla as the driver.
“Well, if it isn’t the Wild Card himself,” Darla smiled, eyes squinting up at him from behind her desk. The lobby was a lot messier than last time—old magazines had piled up in the corner, the low-pile carpet had new coffee stains and the trash needed taking out.
Darla turned in her chair to the wall of keys on hooks, each tagged with a different monopoly piece on a keychain.
“2B.” Darla removed a key from the middle of the wall and set it on the counter. Carr picked up the key by its wheelbarrow charm. “Or not to be.”
It was something he said under his breath every time he visited this place. Carr turned toward the door. The sensors flung open the doors at his presence, giving way to the howling wind. Carr pressed into the wheelbarrow charm with his longest fingernail. “Night, Darla.”
It proved harder than usual to sleep in the motel’s full-size bed. The mattress felt like a giant cardboard box and the room smelled faintly of sweat and cigarette smoke. Lying on the stained bedspread still fully dressed, Carr stared at the water stains on the ceiling as he lit a cigarette and listened to the couple in the room next door yell at each other. They were trying to shout over each other at the same time, so the fight was indecipherable. High, drunk, or both, their first argument had been amusing, something about a wheel of cheese, but now he was starting to get a headache. Carr got off the bed and banged his fist against the wall three times.
“Fuck you!” the wall yelled back at him. Carr left his room, taking the wheelbarrow with him on his way out.
The snow was coming down a bit softer now. It concealed the moon, faded its light to a blurry glow. As much as it sucked, it was a good time to come to Merritt, as far as Carr’s relationship with the MC was concerned. With a bit of luck, it would be a quiet trip, and everybody would stay inside so he could go about his business without getting noticed. Guys sometimes came west through Merritt on their way to Vancouver and the island from Kelowna in the east and Vernon in the northeast, but with a storm this bad bikes wouldn’t be able to leave their home valleys. Carr exhaled, letting the nicotine buzz fill his head as he walked down the street to the liquor store.
There was something new parked between the BC Liquor store and the gas station—a broken-down trailer, the kind you’d attach to a pickup truck or see somebody take on an overnight hunting trip. Like most around here, this one was broken down, had its paint stripped off in stripes on one side and its windows covered from the inside with old, wool blankets. There were a couple big trailer parks just down the road into town, so Carr wondered why somebody would park here, of all places, where the cops tended to linger because of all the drunks who caused problems around the booze shop. Either way it didn’t matter, Carr knew he was overthinking things and what he really needed was just a mickey or a 2-6 of something stiff to clear his head.
When he came back to the motel with his bottle in a paper bag, Carr sighed and walked around back to his usual drinking spot. His fingers were freezing through his leather gloves and his ears were cold, but he liked sitting on the gravelly pavement against the motel’s brick wall and look out at the town of Merritt’s sparse array of twinkling lights under the stars. The storm blocked most of it tonight, though, so as he twisted the cap off his Crown Royal and took a pull, the clouds shifted back and forth in the sky like waves in the ocean. Snow and ice were better than fire, Carr figured, though both have the power to kill you.
He got up and threw his paper bag in the metal dumpster next to him and sat back down, not caring if anyone found him. No one gave a shit what you did in this town, Carr thought, not even the cops cared all that much as long as you weren’t risking anybody else’s life but your own. He blinked, snow falling around the toes of his boots as he pulled out his motel room’s key. It jingled like a bell, like Libby’s favorite toy as a baby, the Bambi with a bell collar. It had real big innocent eyes and Libby didn’t know how to say “m” at the time so its name was, affectionately, “Beebee.” Shelby thought Bambi was too depressing for Libby to watch. She’d walked in on Carr slipping it into the VHS for Libby because it was the only kid-friendly movie he liked, and Shelb had given him shit when he put on Die Hard last time.
“She won’t remember, she’s two,” he’d said. “Kids don’t retain memories that young.”
“What the hell is wrong with you?” Shelby said. She ejected Die Hard and waved her hands around their living room. “You think kids seeing gun violence is okay? You’ll scar her for life.”
“Honestly, I think letting her watch Labyrinth was worse.”
“That’s rated PG,” Shelby said. Carr thought maybe she just had a thing for Bowie. “And Bambi?”
“He’s got no one. It’s depressing as hell, Carr. It’s just sad.”
Yeah, he was overthinking again, taking things deeper than they needed to go. Cause you know, how deep can your life be when your wife fucks your best friend? Yeah, Carr didn’t think things were that deep, either. Life just gives you love to strip it from you, to give you context. To make you realize how things could be, but not forever. How life was a snowdrift—your feet touch the perfect surface, admiring its beauty but you only get it for a second before you sink in up to your eyes and choke on the dark, soiled shit beneath that you never knew was there.
“Fuck everything,” Carr said, to no one in particular. He wished he didn’t have any feelings at all, for anyone—if he didn’t care about Libby he could let go of his old fucked up life and actually move on from the past he was stuck in, like a tape that automatically rewinds itself whenever you get to the end. Carr was stuck inside the bullshit feelings machine, where he loved Libby because he was her father and somewhere, deep inside, he probably still loved Shelby, too. He was glad that Shelb left Kelowna, at least, that she told Rhodes she needed space after everything that happened. When the clubhouse burned up he was glad she wasn’t there to watch it, that she only heard about it later when it made the CBC. Carr was glad nobody knew, and the cops didn’t look too hard into it, chalked it up to gang-related crime, which it was. The whole thing had been carefully planned, down to the last match.
Carr felt eyes on him and looked up. A lone wolf stared at him, bright yellow eyes frozen on him with only its jaw hanging open, panting quietly. About four feet tall with a long snout, pointed ears and sandy brown fur, it looked more like someone’s hunting trophy that a living, breathing thing. They stared at each other, unmoving. Carr blinked, losing the staring contest, his throat dry and cold after the whiskey’s burn.
“What do you want?” Carr asked the wolf. It blinked and moved its thick tongue around its mouth, like it was thinking of what to say. Then its jaw hung open again, yellow bottom teeth like hardened kernels of corn. Carr hadn’t brushed his own teeth since he’d left the island, hadn’t shaved either. There was no need to, letting himself turn into a wolfish man meant people thought twice before fucking with him and the homeless people didn’t bother asking him for money. The wolf must’ve been hungry. Its eyes looked ravenous, feral. It had come down from the mountains in search of something. It turned away, haunches slouching toward the liquor store, leaving him alone. Perhaps it didn’t know what it wanted, or thought Carr would taste like shit and grain alcohol.
In the morning, Carr knocked on Shelby’s door, a small mobile home halfway across town by the foot of the northernmost mountains in the sprawling desert gully that was Merritt. While he waited, the scent of whiskey wafted to his nose and he wondered why, after brushing his teeth three times that morning, it was still there: the scent of shame. He put a piece of gum in his mouth, already wanting another cigarette but knowing that breakfast would distract him and Libby would make him feel better, too. Shelby opened the door, her face made up but flustered.
“Hi,” she said, turning away quickly to grab her bag. “You’re early.”
“Yeah, I know. Sorry.” Carr peered into the house without stepping in as Shelby darted around, yelling for Libby to come out of her room.
“Dad’s here!” Shelby called from the kitchen. She returned with a water bottle in hand which she shoved into her purse, along with a hairbrush and her car keys. “She’s really into computers, Carr,” Shelby shook her head. She was beautiful but stressed, like always. “I don’t know where this came from.”
“What’s she doing?” he asked.
“Trying to build one. A bunch of kids in her middle school have been spending their money on parts. They’re all trying to see who can build the best one. She’s really obsessed, I don’t get it at all. Libby, come on!”
A door opened from down the hall and Libby emerged into view, suddenly looking older than Carr remembered. She was wearing a Flames baseball cap, red lipstick and a thick, white scarf wrapped tightly around her neck. Seeing Libby and Shelby together like this made him feel like he was on the outside of a snowglobe, looking in.
“What the hell are you wearing?” he asked Libby, half-jokingly. Wearing a Calgary Flames hat in BC was treacherous, asking for a bar fight. Unless you were a middle-school girl, in which case maybe it was just some kind of weird fashion trend.
“Hi Dad,” she said, rolling her eyes. “It’s from Sephora.”
“Oh. You a Flames fan now?”
“I guess. Easton’s from there, so.”
“Who’s Easton?” Carr asked. Last time he checked Easton was brand of hockey stick, so whoever named their kid that, well, the thought of it almost made him laugh.
“Boy from school,” Shelby said.
“Okay, okay. You gotta bring your helmet though, we’re going for a ride.” “You still don’t have a truck, Dad?” Libby said.
Shelby fished her keys out of her bag and tossed them to Carr. “Take mine. Rhodes is grabbing me in a bit.”
Carr’s cheeks reddened and he felt himself get tense at the sound of his name. He fumbled with the keys, putting them in his jeans.
“Alright,” he said.
“How did you even get here, on that?” Shelby asked.
“I turn it on, it goes forward,” Carr said.
Shelby raised an eyebrow. “Okay. Drive safe. See you later.”
Carr and Libby walked to Shelby’s Ford pickup parked on the edge of the icy street. The snow fell softly, barely visible under the overcast sky. Shelby waved and closed the door, sealing him off from the view of his old life.
“Dad?” Libby said. “The keys?” Carr pulled Shelby’s keys and unlocked the truck, Libby already cold and impatient to get in from the shotgun side. The cracked leather seats were smooth and cold, and he could see the foam peeking out from between the tears. He closed his door and started up the truck. It chugged to a start, diesel engine loud and humming as he pulled away from the house.
Merritt had a couple of old diners but Libby wanted to go to Denny’s because they had an all-day breakfast and she could still get away with ordering the kids meal, where you got a free bowl of ice cream with syrup and sprinkles for dessert. The hard shell chocolate syrup was always her favorite and she was big on strawberry milkshakes just like her mother. Carr ordered a black coffee and the breakfast special.
“Have you been to the Log Barn, Dad?” Libby asked him.
“No, what’s that?”
“It looks so cool. They just opened it a couple weeks ago. They have goats, and hot sauce, and ice cream that’s way better than the shit they serve here.”
“I thought you liked Denny’s ice cream.”
“Yeah, I do, but the Log Barn has waffle cones, and they have all these flavors. Like fancy stuff, pistachio and lavender and stuff. A bunch of my friends at school have been dying to go but nobody has a car yet, obviously, and the bus takes forever and really sucks.”
“Isn’t lavender something you want in, say, soap?”
“No Dad. It’s good. Trust me.”
“Okay. We can go if you want.”
The waitress appeared with two steaming cups of black coffee. She set them down on the table.
“Two?” Carr asked.
“I got one while you were in the washroom,” Libby said. The waitress shot Carr a knowing look and headed back toward the kitchen. He took a sip and felt the burn on his tongue; it hurt but not enough to really stop him from drinking.
The Log Barn was just outside of town in the middle of the dried-out old farmlands surrounding Highway 97. It was the sort of highway pit stop designed for both tourists and residents, the kind of place whose shtick got old pretty quick but, hey, it was a great place to take your kids because of the goats and the weird dinosaur statues scattered across the property that looked like they were straight out of one of the old Jurassic Park movies. Carr was cool with campy shit—most of the guys in the Kelowna chapter watched Ash vs. the Evil Dead and a lot of forgettable B-list horror flicks when they were stoned and waiting for their nights to begin.
Libby wanted a picture with the giant bear statue but Carr was a bad photographer. His hands shook when he tried to hold things still or do anything precise like focusing a tiny cell phone on a tiny girl and a giant bear. Years of clenching his handlebars had destabilized him, left him with a death grip or one so shaky that Rhodes once laughed at him, called him an old man. He was always an asshole, even when they were younger and joined the club as Prospects together, pledging allegiance to its wrinkled, leathery gods.
Carr took the photo and Libby’s eyes darted across to the goat pens, where a set of fenced-in stairs allowed the goats to climb up onto a narrow, rickety bridge that arched over the entrance to the gravel parking lot.
“It’s him,” she said quietly, probably to herself so Carr didn’t answer. Libby immediately started combing through her hair anxiously with her fingers. “Um, Dad, can I meet you inside? I’m going to say ‘hi.’ I’ll be right back.” She took off toward the goat pen where, for a Loonie, you could hold a cup full of honey-smelling grain and get your hand covered in a thick, green layer of goat saliva.
Carr went inside the Log Barn’s store, which was warmly-lit and filled with wooden decorations, plastic trinkets, eccentric condiments, and desserts. The place smelled sickly sweet, a blend of taffy and cigarettes. Strange, impractical furniture was pricemarked, doubling as displays or customer seating by the ice cream shop in the back corner. They kept Christmas decorations year-round: tinsel, bobbles and fake flowers dangling from the low rafters. Carr passed a bright purple display atop a table with far too many legs. Its surface showcased tins of “Caribou Bark,” which was layers of dark and white chocolate with ground up pretzels mixed in. The only good things here, in Carr’s opinion, were the jams and hot sauces, and maybe the fudge if you came first thing Monday when they made it fresh. He only knew that because when Ma was still around, she always asked him to pick her up a box of fresh fudge and bring it to the senior center.
“Would you like a free sample, darling?” a smooth, drawling voice asked. Carr looked up from the display of tree bark tins to a thirty-something brunette in a scarf and a bright red apron with the Log Barn logo and a nametag that said LUV on it.
“What you offering?” he asked, one corner of his mouth twisting to the side awkwardly. Carr bit the inside of his cheek as the woman raised a platter full of tiny paper cups filled with an orange-red sauce.
“Axewood Billy’s hot sauce,” she said, smiling sweetly. Her eyelashes were very dark and her forehead had seen a lot of sun, somehow.
“Sounds wonderful,” he said, taking a tiny cup. His hand shook a little, and he was embarrassed.
“It’s cold out, ain’t it,” the woman said. “Triscuit?”
Carr took one and poured the hot sauce on it.
“Sometimes I say just try it on its own with a spoon, but this one here’s calling for a little somethin’ special,” the woman said. Carr took a bite. He chewed, heat rising from the insides of his bitten cheek and stinging a little. The spice was overwhelming for a moment and he thought he was going to spit it out but it subsided. He swallowed. The aftertaste was beautiful, worth the sting, a lingering heat and smoke and just the smallest bit of bittersweet.
“Delicious,” he nodded.
“Well, have a look around and if you want to try anything else just let me know. We got a whole lotta barbeque sauce and we just got in this chipotle mayo that is simply divine.” She laughed, enjoying what Carr figured was a private joke of her own.
There was something about her that drew him in. As she finished laughing to herself, Carr was thinking about touching her shoulders, toying with the scarf around her neck.
“Thanks,” he said. His hands were shaking so he shoved them in his pockets.
“You know there are creams for those hands of yours, darling,” Luv said, straightening her posture.
“What I got can’t be fixed by no magic potion,” Carr sighed. “Twenty years of riding finally caught up to me.”
“What brings you here, then?”
“How sweet. Where is she?”
“We were supposed to spend the day together.”
“Oh, I’m sorry.”
“It’s alright. Pretty sure I ditched my parents all the time when I was her age.”
“Well, perhaps I can ease your sadness a bit with a drink. Later, after my shift,” Luv said. Her eyes drifted back down to the tray of samples. “Well, back to work for me. Come by mine in a few hours, alright? I’m by that liquor store next to the Merritt Motel.” She drifted around a display of pine sprigs and cured meats to an elderly couple.
“Axewood Billy’s hot sauce?” Carr heard her say.
He took a deep breath and closed his eyes. Needed to collect himself. His hands were sweating and his throat was choked up. Carr swallowed and pulled out his pack of Classics as he left, deciding he needed a good smoke, too.
Carr crushed a cigarette into the snow between the motel and the liquor store. This was a sparse part of town, really, the drive-by kind of place people passed on their road trips and forgot about entirely. It was the part of a place Carr always spent the most time in. Everybody was disconnected here so it felt like you weren’t lost because really, everybody was. There was no guarantee anyone would get to where they wanted to go, making Carr feel better that everybody was on their way to someplace else and they were not yet complete.
The rundown trailer had the faintest cracks of burnt orange light peeking through the corners of the blanketed windows. Classical music wafted through the thin door. Carr knocked and cleared his throat. Luv answered, in her scarf and a matching red turtleneck dress. She had a wool blanket draped around her shoulders and a glass of wine in her hand. “Come in,” she said.
There was a large couch across a fold-down table and a bed cramped into one end of the trailer. Carr nearly hit the low-hanging orange lamp as he sat down.
“Whiskey or beer?” Luv asked.
“Stronger’s better,” Carr said.
“A man after my own heart.” Luv rested her wine on the table and brought an opened dusty bottle of Crown and two glasses over to the couch. Carr pulled off his coat, rolled up the sleeves of his flannel to his elbows and fumbled for his pack of cigarettes.
“Got it nice and warm in here. You smoke?” he asked.
Luv sat down next to him, smelling of the Log Barn’s cinnamon incense and a musk, something heavier. “On occasion,” she said. “Let’s just say nobody’s hoping I’ll stick around.” She poured whiskey into Carr’s glass.
“Now why’s that?”
“Used to have a different life. Always felt wrong, though. When I finally got out I had to let a lot go.” She took a drink.
“I know what you mean. That why you go by Luv?”
“My old name wasn’t cutting it anymore. Needed a fresh start.”
Carr took a long sip. “Wild Card was mine. Now it’s just Carr.”
“That what the club used to call you.”
“Mhm. How’d you know?”
“Your bike. And the black sleeve.”
Carr looked down at his filled-in left forearm. Gone were his Ace of Hearts, his MC letters, and the winged skull. Had to get the club’s marks covered up so that everyone knew he was out, done. The scars of leaving a bad place.
“Was in the Kelowna Chapter.”
“How’d you manage to get out in one piece?”
“Made sure I was the one to burn it all down.” Carr finished his drink and set it on the table. “So they could all lose something like I did.”
He sat back and Luv gently touched his forearm, tracing a fingernail along the inkblots. “I tried to rob my parents, before I ended up here. They had a general store out in Salmon Arm,” she said.
“How’d that come about?”
“They hated me. Evangelical Christians. Hated what I was, what I am. So at 18 I took what I needed and got out.”
“It’s alright. Gave up on them and fought for myself. Better to be alone than clinging on to what you can’t have.”
“I should probably take that advice. Smoke?” Carr offered. Luv took one and lit it, exhaling into the orange lamplight.
“So what are you doing with your life now, after all is said and done?” she asked him.
“Not a whole lot. Working at a bike shop on the island. Seein’ Libby and Shelb when I can.”
“Still holding on to the dregs of your old life.”
Carr took a puff of the cigarette, realizing. “Guess so.”
“I don’t know. Been stuck in a loop,” Carr said.
“My name used to be Joseph, before I ran away,” Luv’s voice hardened. “Sometimes the reset button’s a hard thing to press.”
There was a pain in her voice, beneath the words.
“I’m sorry you had to do that alone,” Carr said.
“It’s alright, honey. Been a long time since all of that.”
“You know, I always ask myself why I keep coming back to this shithole town. Every time I think about my answer it seems less about them and more about me. How I must’ve fucked up real bad to let things get where they are.”
“Maybe. Maybe not.” Luv finished her drink. “That doesn’t really matter, does it?” “Guess not.”
“What’s holding you back?”
Carr thought it was Libby, that he was worried about her. But she was fine. She didn’t need him and Shelb had someone protecting them both, much as he hated him. “Nothing real,” Carr said.
“This thing’s got wheels, baby. We can go anywhere,” Luv smiled.
“Yeah?” She was pulling him out of the shit mood he was in.
“We can be lonely,” she said. “Just you and me. That can be kinda nice if you’re out on the road or on some woodland beach somewhere. Makes things feel real, you know.” “Weather’s shit right now,” Carr said.
“Of course,” Luv agreed.
But it would be worth the drive.
about From the Archives: Sick Day
Featured • Fiction
From the Archives: Sick Day
"I am usually the one in control, the one working, the one in charge of someone else’s life, their body, and appearance. But here at Singapore Electric, Cheng is taking charge of my body, my appearance, my life."
Featured • Fictionabout From the Archives: Sick Day
Featured • Fiction
From the Archives: Sick Day
From the Archives: Sick Day
"I am usually the one in control, the one working, the one in charge of someone else’s life, their body, and appearance. But here at Singapore Electric, Cheng is taking charge of my body, my appearance, my life."
about Lap Seat
"Bill looked past Joyce, out the window, imagining his son parked in the cell phone lot of the Minneapolis airport, awaiting his father’s call, like so many late nights innocently posed at the front bay window of their home, hoping his father could, at least, be home in time to tuck him in."Ends in: 2109 days
Fictionabout Lap Seat
"Bill looked past Joyce, out the window, imagining his son parked in the cell phone lot of the Minneapolis airport, awaiting his father’s call, like so many late nights innocently posed at the front bay window of their home, hoping his father could, at least, be home in time to tuck him in."