The Switchback

To Steve's surprise, Bob pulled over and handed him the wheel with a nonchalance that belied a long-perfected habit of reading the Cellist's mind.

Gail & Barbara lay snoring in the back seat, utterly worn out by the previous evening's gail-force drumathon and herculean multi-instrumentalism, respectively, not to mention the debauchery that had followed.

Ken was awake but silent, mourning the scratching and mild warping of one of his most treasured fretless basses after an unexpected moment of rage during which he'd harpooned a particularly unruly fan. He grinned suddenly in the moonlight.

Sheila was taking a turn strapped to the roof, trying to let the 80-mph night air clear her mind as she dreamed incessantly of "the most perfect song ever," and how it might be realized. She barely noticed when the car ground to a halt and the boys climbed out, shuffling in tandem towards an odd concrete building belching smoke deep in the shadows off the side of the road.

Bob and Steve stood in the isolated boiler room, sweating, and not just from the heat. A decision hung in the air, deep and dark and important, but nearly impossible to define.

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