Savior Games

Saturday night

is my blessing; it makes me stick to my plan. I go down to Southville after dark, when the walls in my place look too yellow and the air stinks of stale grease and dust. I cut across the boulevard, through alleyways between dusky stores, across the parking lot next to the all-night lanes. And then I’m on South Street, moving through neon and gold, past clubs and peep shows and bars. Behind the bus station Jake’s waiting for me in his car. I slide in next to him, sit as close as I can. We glide toward the warehouses, the interstate, the used-car lots inside barbed-wire fences. You owe me, he always says. Don’t you forget. He gives me what I need, and I let him do what he wants. But I never take him home with me, not Jake. I never let him spend the night. Only Michael can spend the night. Michael lived for a while in Montana, but he said his roots are here. He said he and his wife were happy in Missoula, but out there the drop-offs are steep. One night three years ago she drove right through a guardrail. After he’d given all her things away he took off for Patagonia and didn’t come back for a year. “Have you ever tried,” he asked me once, “to run to the bottom of the Earth?”

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