One of the things we do for pay, me and Slade, is keep count
of who’s left. Think of us as Friday census workers for the Bureau.
Slade wasn’t good with the fraud at first, but then we’re all
not what we are anyway. We talk about leaving here as if
it’s walking out a door. I think we want to hear what it sounds like.
A lot of animals don’t make it. The scorpions and rattlesnakes
do okay, but it’s the big hides who need water, and no one shares.
Bodies lie open on routes that lead out, and the stink carries in
on the winds. There’s no mistaking it, the roads here look like
spokes cross-pointed and soaring to the inner hoop of a wheel
at risk for being crushed, and we keep it in perfect turning.
And there is no wheel.