Right after the last toll booth, just east of Chicago, Interstate 90 split in two, and Rowan took the wrong road. He wanted to go to Portage, Indiana, where he had booked the overnight hotel, on his way to the Notre Dame football game the next morning in South Bend, but the green mile signs didn't have a Portage, or a South Bend.

"We went the wrong way," Rowan said, his head turned to the back seat.

It roused Christa, his daughter sprawled in the back seat of the Buick. Christa was easily roused and upset and shaken by events that took up time; any act, in fact, could be construed as a mistake.

Christa sat up. "So we gotta turn around?"

"I don't know," Rowan said. "Maybe the roads merge back together."

"You've been to a million games and you don't know the way."

"I know it. Just not from Evanston. I'm coming from Michigan normally, and you don't have to deal with any of this." Rowan fumbled with the map on the seat next to him. "We're gonna pull over and look," he said.

"Oh God don't pull over."

"Why not?"

"Cause people will see us."

"Nobody will see us."

"They will. And it's dangerous."

"What do you think a shoulder is for?"

Christa flung back onto the seat and growled.

On the roadside, as the sun started to duck into the horizon, Rowan leaned over and traced the road with his hand while it was green, which meant it was a toll road, until the road branched.

"We took the upper road," Rowan said. "We should have taken the lower one." He glanced back at Christa. "But we aren't lost. The roads actually merge back together. This'll just take a little longer."

"Everything does," Christa said.

"But you know I'm a little hungry now," Rowan said. He pointed to a road sign that displayed logos of eateries and fast food joints. "And there must be a diner up there."

"I'm not hungry," Christa said.

"You haven't eaten anything since we left your mom's."

"But I don't want anything."

"It was four hours ago. And you didn't eat anything then."

"I don't need to eat a lot."

Rowan laughed. "Watchin the figure?"


"I know your mother."

"You don't know her or me."

"I know that about her."


"How she is with food and weight and clothes," Rowan said. "What she's probably putting in your head. What she's probably doing to you, what you see. Look at you. I bought you a sweatshirt, for the game, because we're in Indiana, and that's what you do in Indiana, and you're dressed for the dance club."

"Oh God."

"Or those barn parties you go to."

"Barn parties?"

"I read about them. You go to barns and smoke pot and do laughing gas. I know a little."


Rowan pointed. "Raves. Those."

"They're a little out. I've never been in a barn. They're not in barns."

Rowan stopped for a second. "Yeah, well, I'm sure Lynn doesn't care where you go, as long as everything fits. She probably asks to come along."

"No she does not."

"Watcher hit on your friends in a couple years."

Christa flicked her hand. "Fuck off."

"Fuck off," Rowan mimicked. "Fuckoff. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Got her mouth too."

"Yeah well I chose her."


"I chose her, didn't I? So I guess that means I'm okay with whatever."

"I guess so."

"More okay than I am with a football game."

"You don't even know a thing about --"

"And she makes more than you do, so I guess her looks and weight count for something."

Rowan paused and grinned, stupidly. They were still on the side of the road. The map was still in his hand. "So we're gonna go round and round about your mom."

"You started it."

"So she talks about money all the time."

"I didn't say that."

"You know, she talks so much about it, and yet she's still putting her hand out to me."

"You're supposed to pay."

"But she makes so much."

"Leave her alone."

"So much."

"Shut up."

"And there's so many men out just lining up --"

"I'm getting --" Christa lunged for the door and flicked the lock on the field side of the car. "out--" She opened the door. "Of this shit." She stepped out and started chomping through knee-high grass in three-inch high wooden platform shoes with her shimmy top, a glinty silver with the fading sun on it, riding up and down the sides of her body. She was walking into the field, afraid that she might stumble and break her ankle in the shoes, toward a barbed wire fence too tall and too barbed to cross.