Driving out to Amanda’s, Tom smashed up his car. It was still drivable, but only because he found a tire iron in the trunk and used it to pry the bent metal of the left front fender away from the tire, so that the wheel could turn. The second he veered off the road (he must have dozed off for an instant), the thought came to him that Amanda would use the incident as a reason for not trusting him with Ben. While he worked with the tire iron, a man stopped his car and got out and gave him drunken advice. ‘Never buy a motorcycle,’ he said. ‘They spin out of control. You go with them - you don’t have a chance.’ Tom nodded. ‘Did you know Doug’s son?’ the man asked. Tom said nothing. The man shook his head sadly and then went to the back of his car and opened the trunk. Tom watched him as he took flares out of his trunk and began to light them and place them in the road, The man came forward with several flares still in hand. He looked confused that he had so many. Then he lit the extras, one by one, and placed them in a semicircle around the front of the car, where Tom was working. Tom felt like some saint, in a shrine.
Ann Beattie, Greenwich Time