1. We drove five miles under the speed limit.
2. We kept the nose of our cars out of crosswalks.
3. We signaled early.
4. In the trunk, the spare was full of air.
5. We made sure we had gas.
6. Running out of gas left a lot to chance.
7. “Don’t get stranded,” our mothers had always said.
8. In the wrong neighborhood.
9. Or on the highway.
10. Or alone.
11. Or with our friends.
12. Keep both hands on the wheel.
13. “Is your registration up to date?”
14. “Did you replace the bald tire?”
15. “It wobbles.”
16. “You know who wobbles? Drunks . . .”
17. We nod and nod.
18. Nodding doesn’t comfort our mothers.
19. Not like in the ’70s and ’80s.
20. We were still children then.
21. We hadn’t learned to lie yet.
22. At least not well.
23. Breaking curfew was still in the future.
24. Our mothers wanted us safe.
25. They still believed this was possible back then.
26. They nod and we nod.
27. Our two heads swing back and forth.
28. Like a Newton’s cradle.
29. You know the toy, if not the name.
30. It often sits on the desk of people who give orders.
31. Five suspended spheres are lined up.
32. They are made of steel.
33. Lift one and they will click and clack forever.
34. You can see it now, can’t you?
35. This toy that proves momentum and energy are not lost.
36. Sometimes only two spheres are used.
37. But our heads are not made of steel.
38. They are made of stardust.
39. Stardust is surprisingly delicate.
40. It is delicate like a trapeze.
41. Our heads swing high in the dark.
42. Our country is a circus tent.
43. The trapeze has always been the last act of the night.
44. This is why we nod and nod.
45. Because we are at the end of something.
46. From down below, when the light catches our heads, they shine.
47. They shine like disco balls.
48. They shine like something sharp.
49. Like a thing that could light your way.
50. That could make your heart race.
51. That could free you.
52. We saw a trapeze act on TV once.
53. Two people passed a ball to each other.
54. It was shaped like the Earth.
55. If the Earth were made of glitter.
56. We wanted a ball like that.
57. So we collected pounds and pounds of empty cans to sell.
58. All summer.
59. Coke, Mountain Dew, Pepsi, Big Red, Crush.
60. Miller Lite and Coors too.
61. Not unlike the ones on the shoulder now.
62. Where we have been pulled over.
63. Because of a phone call.
64. Because a dog crossed the road.
65. Because a diaper needed to be changed.
66. Because the route to the dentist was under construction.
67. We are big.
68. We are small.
69. Our clothes are plain.
70. We are wearing pants.
71. We are wearing a dress.
72. A shirt with sleeves.
73. A shirt with no sleeves.
74. The bullet leaves its jacket on the road.
75. The speedometer squats at zero.
76. Red and blue lights dance in the mirror.
77. What if next time we wore a doctor’s coat?
78. Hung a stethoscope around our necks?
79. What if next time we wore our mother’s camouflage?
80. We could be the color of sand and rocks.
81. What if next time we wore a black suit?
82. And shiny black shoes.
83. A white priest collar around our throats.
84. When you say, Showmeyourhands! Getontheground!
85. We could say, Hail Mary, full of grace . . .
86. What if next time we paint our faces white?
87. Like a happy clown.
88. Say we were on our way to wave at kids with our machetes.
89. From the edge of the woods.
90. Near a playground.
91. Near a house.
92. Near a school.
93. This person has the right to remain breathing.
94. Anything they say can and will be used against them in a court of law.
95. They have the right to an attorney.
96. If they cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for them.
97. Do you understand the rights I have just read to you?
98. With these rights in mind, do you wish to speak to us?