Country roads. Dark tree-lined tunnels.
Telephone poles and mailboxes zipping by. A blur.
Handcuffs swing from spotlight handle. Metal against metal. Tap, tap, tap.
Winding curves. Hit the apexes. Feed the wheel. Don’t cross your hands.
Is it hands at ten and two, or three and six?
Eyes darting from ditch to ditch, watching for deer.
Moonlight behind trees.
Limbs and branches like back-lit gnarled fingers disappearing into a black night sky.
Blue strobe lights transform fog into winking, blinking azure cotton candy.
“Are we close?”
“No, not yet. We was a long ways in the country.”
“Maybe three more miles.”
Radio lights blink in sequence.
Dispatcher speaking in monotone.
Stolen car on interstate.
Disturbance in West End.
Shoplifter at convenience store, Third and Bellview.
“There. Right there. The body’s in the woods to your left.”
“We drug him across the ditch right there.”
“See where them weeds are knocked down?”
Entourage of patrol cars stop.
Shiny shoes on dew-dampened grass.
Careful, don’t disturb scene.
Belt leather creaking.
Fallen leaves crunch and crackle.
“Where’s the body?”
Shrug. “Thought it was here.”
Vests like dense clay around torso.
Noses to ground.
Hundreds of mosquitoes.
Sunlight begins to squeeze through tree canopy.
Translucent yellow wands.
Lying in leaves and pine needles.
Eyes closed, mouth open.
Hands bound in back.
Gray duct tape.
Insects in and out of nose and mouth,
Like cars traveling the 101.
Beetles scurrying and burrowing.
Bullet casing in roadway.
“Didn’t know gun was loaded.”
“Took it from Dad’s nightstand.”
“It was a joke.”
“We didn’t mean to hurt him.”
“We just wanted to scare him.”
Four in prison.