The story takes place in an unnamed Midwestern city in 1973–1974. Grieving over the death of his son and the disintegration of his marriage, a man is driven to mental instability when he learns that both his home and his workplace will be demolished to make way for an extension to an interstate highway.
Phil Drake, the man who was once a priest but is no longer one bears a striking resemblance to Callahan. He makes a point of not wanting to be called "Father", he's an ex-alcoholic, he has an oddly scarred hand, etc.
“You're a minister?" "They call me a street priest. Very romantic. Malcolm Boyd, look out. At one time I was a real priest." "Not any more?" "I have left the mother church," Drake said. He said it softly, but there was a kind of dreadful finality in his words. He could almost hear the clang of iron doors slammed shut forever. "Why did you do that?" Drake shrugged. "It doesn't matter. What about you? How did you get the mesc?" "I got it from a girl on her way to Las Vegas. A nice girl, I think. She called me on Christmas Day." "For help?" "I think so." "Did you help her?" "I don't know. " He smiled craftily. "Father, tell me about my immortal soul. " Drake twitched. "I'm not your father.”
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