My grandson and his dad toss a football around; I smile at their banter and laughter. The barefooted boy chases a pass, dancing across the pea-stone driveway. All I see of dad is white hands and face, an occasional glow of his cigar. Two lawn mowers still duel. No one's eager to go inside, where a big pot of chili simmers. We don't so much rage against the dying of the light as indulge a little Yankee contrariness.

Ray Scanlon. Massachusetts boy. Has grandchildren. Extraordinarily lucky. No MFA. No novel. No extrovert. His work has recently been in Short, Fast, and Deadly and Prime Number Magazine. On the web: