Directions, Part 3

Rune felt the tightness in his shoulders loosen, his body relaxing now that he could speak without having to edit his thoughts. “Nah, no detention.” He jerked a thumb back in the general direction of the Bark Bay High School building. “I got fencing practice, every Tuesday, after school, until 4.”

“Is that so?” The man in the hunting cap looked confused, Rune noticing that the word fencing seemed particularly difficult for this man to comprehend, as if Rune had said he had just come from a seven-course Parisian dinner which he had prepared.

The driver tapped the man in the hunting cap on the shoulder, and the two faced each other for a quick conversation. To Rune, they were like many of the adult males in town — friendly but a little rough around the edges, their language curt and pointed, their bodies covered in a layer of unkempt hair, flannel, and dirty grease. The type of men Rune didn’t feel comfortable around, unless he knew them well.

The man in the hunting cap tilted his head outside the window again. Seeing only his head made Rune think he looked like a puppet, perhaps being controlled by the driver. “Rusty says they closed that Sunoco last year, said they moved.”

Rune nodded. “The owner sold it, yes, and bought a Shell last year, downtown, the new one they built on Main and Hancock. But he don’t run it, his son does.” Rune pointed in the same direction he had when giving directions earlier. “That Sunoco, yes the new owner closed it for a while to fix up the place — ” he remembered his father, who had managed the financial transactions for both buildings last year, commenting at home that the old Sunoco had been in such bad shape that it was hardly worth even its sharply discounted price — “but it opened up again, over the summer.”

The man in the hunting cap nodded, suspicion on his face, and his head retracted into the car.

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