Help from the Glove Compartment

We set fire to our drought-choked gardens and in a simmering mob crept in inches to the mayor's house. He watched us through gauzy curtains, forgetting the residue of 2% milk in the glass in his hand and the toilet running on and on in the bathroom behind him.

He lay in his bed, slippers on his feet. He watched as a dozen of his constituents entered his bedroom. After taking a full inventory of all of his personal effects and snapping photographs for our records, we acted out a short drama called "The Day Grandma Invented Rice." Then we took the underwear and socks from their drawer and gave them to the children for their craft projects.

Later in the day, as we watched the children play flying carpet on a quilt made of the mayor's undergarments, a traveling salesman sold us cigarettes made of a plant called silverpocket. We all got so high our eyes crossed and we woke up in wrong beds in the middle of the night and searched through unfamiliar refrigerators to kill ugly hunger.

We left the houses we did not know and wandered until the moonlight revealed familiar forms and the combination of night heat and silverpocket daze and taste of someone else's food gave our homes a new menace that never went away, not after the elections, not after our children's graduation, not after old age stole away our sense and our memory. It was always young and fresh and unlaughing.