Blue and yellow beer signs blinked in the windows of the liquor store, and patrons swept the cold air into small hot piles with the burning tips of their cigarettes. Open flashed in red script in the window of the pizza shop. Bells clinked and light fell in a triangle across the pebbled sidewalk each time the door opened. The parking lot was covered in long swaths of dirty yellow light, and white light from moving headlights pulled around the corners of parked cars. Smoke curled out of tailpipes and blew out of the open door to the pizza shop. It streamed from cigarettes and hung in small clouds in front of gray faces.
A school for delinquent boys sat up on a low hill across the three lane highway. The black sky hadn’t shaken out the cold, deep blue left over from the day. A round moon lay flat against the sky, and it dropped tunnels of light across the hill. Deer crowded the lawn. Their backs cut straight lines against the sky, and their heads faded when they bent to eat. They lifted their small feet and made slow, quiet movements. At least fifty deer stood nearly motionless on the lawn in front of the boys’ jail, rooting for grass on a wintry night.