“Do you understand?“ the man asked as he looked from the driver’s seat to the empty parking lot to the gas station at the other end. He couldn’t believe how quickly night had fallen. “Do you understand that this is a necessity?”
He waited for a response but got none. He looked at the large black duffel propped up in the passenger seat and sighed . . .
He blew into town on a Greyhound from Cleveland. His name was Christopher McKendrick—at least that’s what his license said. He couldn’t wait to get to the beach. If he was caught, he’d snatch a little piece of heaven first . . .
Megan—she was a stunner, the first woman I ever asked out on a date after my painful history of being the awkward nerd in high school.
I gave her my time and friendship. I even let her cry on my shoulder when she had no one else to turn to. She didn’t know I was in the next room listening to her talk to a girlfriend over the phone . . .
Nancy took the job at the new liquor store to supplement her shitty government salary. The liquor store allowed her to work weekends and in the evenings after leaving her regular job—only a two-minute walk from one to the other. Every morning when she walked from her car to her office, she would see the same cast of characters posted up in front of the gray-and-beige county government building, which was situated only a few blocks from the homeless mission . . .
After Dad went to prison for running over a six-year-old girl while driving home from the Sandbar, I had to make money fast so Mom could feed her prescription pill habit—as well as my younger brother—and pay the rent . . .
A hole at the base of a crumbling T-wall was the only point of entry to the group’s hideaway. Inside they were like kids in a clubhouse. They felt safe there, the wash of incandescent lighting creating shadows from every angle. They could drink, smoke, play cards, and talk shit about everybody they worked with without fear of outsiders or superiors intruding . . .