May 1, 2016:

Brown suede truckers cap, blue plaid shirt with shades hanging, blue jeans dirty with holes. Wallet in one back pocket, checkbook in the other; smartphone in the shirt pocket. Nervous, jumpy: stands to pace, stands to stare out at the tarmac.

His dad turns up: same uniform plus neck-pillow shaped like a toilet seat. His brother arrives, same uniform plus heavy boots flecked with housepaint. Finally brother three, same uniform but with shades up on his head, clutching a black duffel like it was his life.

They have thick lips. They speak slowly with backwood accents. They smile behind empty eyes and they project danger.

I am their older brother, their lost uncle. They don't know me but I am them, a few thousand books later. There but for fortune. Tampa airport, where worlds collide.


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