From the story, The New World
Kristin McNulty and Iris O’Shea had never been further south, nor west, of Macgillicuddy’s Reeks when they decided they would fly half way around the world to visit Limerick’s most distant Sister City. Devoted friends since their days as childhood playmates, they’d decided that turning fifty was permission enough to leave their husbands, their recently fledged children, and their routines for three weeks.
Upon landing in Spokane, they quickly saw it was raining, which was not something they expected from their research of a place that billed itself as being near perfection with less than half the rain of Seattle. It was uncomfortably cold when they stepped out the sliding doors with their luggage in tow. So they hurried toward the first shuttle in line, which turned out to be a white Chevy van with “Fred’s Friendly Rides” inscribed on the side panels in green, cursive letters.
“Where to ladies?” asked the burly man behind the wheel. Hearing that it was a tony Bed & Breakfast on the west side of town, the man (whom they assumed was Fred) commended them on their fine choice.
Fred wore a five-day beard, a black beret and a Seahawks jacket. He seemed friendly enough. But then a Sheraton van tried to back up at an awkward angle, blocking the exit route. Fred leaned on the horn, twice.
“Move it asswipe!” he finally bellowed.
“Oh, sorry about that,” Fred said when he noticed, in the rear view mirror, a dour look on Kristin’s face. “My wife has a road rage problem. It’s a little infectious.”
“Are you really Friendly Fred?” Kristin asked puckishly.
“Oouuch,” Fred replied, flexing his eyebrows and drawing out the vowels to register the jab. That was enough to give him permission to poke playfully at his passengers, which he did by asking them whether Limerick was on the north or south side of the Thames.
“We’ve been quite downstream of all that for a while now,” Iris replied declaratively, rolling her beautiful eyes.