the phone, but the man reached over the counter and grabbed his arm before he could even lift it off its hook.
"Please," said the man. "I'm desperate. I have the money." He searched in the clerk's eyes for some flicker of understanding, but nothing came. The clerk shook his arm free and snatched up the phone before the man could say another word, dialing what the man assumed to be the police. The man nodded his head unhappily and tried to block out the voices telling him to grab it and run, but he couldn't - not completely. He shoved his hand into his pocket and brought out a fistful of cash, and, dropping it on the counter, the man grabbed the laptop, stuffing it carelessly into his rucksack.
Once outside, the man flagged down a passing truck driver who seemed to be going out of the city. He hopped in the cab and asked, "Where you going?"
"East," said the truck driver. "How far you going?"
"Away," said the man, "just away." The truck driver nodded his head in solemn agreement and pulled back onto the road without any further questions. They had been driving for about two hours when the man thought to ask the truck driver what city they had just left.
"Salt Lake," said the driver. "Salt Lake City. Utah."
The man made no gesture, but instead went on to ask, "And the date?"
The driver had to think for a moment before replying. "January seventeenth," he said. "You know, it was this day in nineteen twenty that the Prohibition act began."
"Prohibition, eh?" Like all his general knowledge facts, the man could see a faint outline of its meaning, but he couldn't quite get at it in its entirety.
The driver looked over at him, seeing his puzzled expression amongst a myriad of others. "Alcohol ban. Lasted nearly fourteen years."
"Alcohol ban, huh? Sounds like