Ballard walks into Clarksdale, looking over his shoulder like a man with a hundred hell-hounds on his trail. There’s a howling out on the desert floor.

He mutters to himself. —We live in a republic of dogs.

It’s soon after midnight; half-moon hanging lazy in a night sky flecked with stars. Ballard sees Joe, padlocking the church door. —Little late for services, preacher?