You Can’t Keep Going Like This

Mike Weber pulled off the two-lane highway, hot summer dust coming up over the car as he came to a stop. He put his arm over the seat and looked out the back window to a wooden sign—huge and faded, on roller-coaster-like staging:

Big Joe’s World of Water

Written underneath was Big Joe’s main attraction:


He sat forward in his seat, loosening his tie as he did, his shirt collar wet with sweat. He felt odd in dress clothes. It was his only suit. He’d considered changing into his work clothes after the service, but it felt wrong somehow. He looked down at the prayer card and a single pink tulip on the passenger seat. He pictured Nell. She was outside someplace, bright sun and big sky, shielding her eyes with a cupped hand. She had the final trace of a smile that she couldn’t quite keep alive.

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