This collection of stories features slow burning and tender portraits of people caught in relationships going wrong, or raw and urgent messages from those trying to make a mark on the very society that discards them. In "The Lookout," a boy watches the sinister goings on of an urban estate. In "Backing Up," a computer specialist in a hospital witnesses a disturbing incident on the roof. The crime career for "Hot Little Danny"--a reckless teen with a teacher girlfriend--is inexorably upward. "Mustard" tracks the searing life reflections of a middle-aged man stabbed and left for dead in a hallway. Infidelity, old friendships, and passions haunt the drifting lives of Beard's characters in these brilliantly honed descriptions of human loss and love.