and there's not a thing anyone can do about
it. Someone had to be cut loose and some bu-
reaucrat there in Austin decided skydivers
could do without, probably a few other groups
too, I don't know."
"And you told him he had to leave?"
Jerry poured a cup of coffee and set the
ca tabletop. "Here. Sit down." He grabbed his
own cup from the counter and sat and sipped
and put both hands on the table and stared at
a mural of a landscape; a mute stillness to
things and frail clouds settling in the bottoms;
a low haze of gleaming dust inches off the
ground. He drove in and out of the haze and
up a rise and down the other side. The more
time he spent out there, the more he loved it,
and the more he perceived and understood
and appreciated its rural beauty. Some morn-
ings the panorama stretched horizon to ho-
rizon. He thought about how Clark and he
used to stand out on the wooden deck next to
the tin building and look out at the morning,
how Clark would say there was nothing be-
tween them and the North Pole but a barbed
"The lid, I think."
"Something to write on, I suppose."
Henry touched his cup but didn't drink. "It
"It breaks my heart."
"LaNelle and me, we talked about it. It's
forward and put both elbows on the table in
an unnatural way, like he was breaking a rule
or something. "No reason you should know
this, but this airport, well, it's a mite more
than we bargained for some days. Watching
Clark stick that sign across the way the other
morning didn't affect me one way or another,
but seeing you right here in front of me, the
look on your face, it's days like this I'd have to
give the whole idea a hard once-over before
I'd do it again. Perhaps I wouldn't."
had said or an aunt or Jerry himself in that
it sounded like something he'd say. We'll
understand it all by and by. After a while,
Henry said, "It's not your fault."