fathers and vanished sons
“Getting off your main focus.”
“Which is what, again?”
“Huh,” Archy said. “Hey, Mr. Jones? What’s wrong?”
Mr. Jones was up and out of his chair. He reached up a hand to Fifty-Eight, and the bird sidled up the gangplank to its inveterate perch.
“Mr. Jones, what did I say? Why you leaving? I’m not quite done, but I’m almost.”
“Just bring it to the gig,” Mr. Jones said. “It don’t work, fuck it.”
He started toward the back of the van, wanting—or feeling that at the very least he ought—to tell Archy about Lasalle, born and died April 14, 1966. Tell him about the two hours and seventeen minutes’ worth of the pride and the joy that Archy had been squandering for fourteen years. He went to the Econoline, slammed the doors on the empty cargo bay. Mr. Jones helped the bird onto the headrest of the driver’s seat, where he liked to ride, clutching the shoulder belt with one claw to keep its balance.
“Maybe you need to start trying to focus on the distractions instead,” Mr. Jones said. “Maybe then they wouldn’t be so distracting.”
“Mr. Jones! Hey, come one, now. What’d I say?”
Mr. Jones got into the van, started the engine. Even over the slobbering of its three-hundred-horsepower V8 Windsor, he could hear Archy repeating uselessly, “Mr. Jones, I’m sorry.”