1. Mouse shakes while crossing over. He shimmies, looks cold. Mouse is what you want out there: reliability. He shoots too. He shoots, you rebound. Mouse groans when you shoot. Your shot is broke-ass, your feelings hurt, your days numbered.
2. Mouse, like Everybody from Chicago, cries when Missouri feels desperate and wrong.
3. These are sounds you won't forget: sobbing, foot against skull, screams over forest silence, sirens, banging, banging, banging.
5. This strength isn't something you considered before. You could kill with this strength. You want to kill. You told Everybody from Chicago that you would kill, kick-ass, destroy, disfigure, break, blight the entire goddam state—you would do this, you promised, if someone said nigger again.
6. Everybody from Chicago holds you down on a couch. You don't hit them. You hit Everybody from Missouri when they hold your face and tell you Calm Down, Be Calm. The lights are out. Of course, the lights are out. There's a storm outside. Of course, there's a storm outside. All power is on the couch.
7. Bash once handed you a Confederate Flag shot-glass filled with plastic-bottle vodka. "Heritage," he said. Bash is Missouri.
8. You punch Bash under his left eye and don't apologize when you see him months later in the wilderness, around a campfire.
9. Mouse still has your leg. You apologize after feeling his head squish underneath your foot. He's still howling. He accepts your apology.
10. You get off the couch.
11. This strength turns you into something people don't want to touch. They hold up their hands. They warn the others you're coming. Everybody from Missouri and Everybody from Chicago agree that this is the end. Lightning hits. You don't recognize them; they don't recognize you.
12. You find Him, hiding. Between you and Him, standing in the doorway, is a person you don't recognize. "Gabe," he says. "It's me. Please. It's me." You look over the person's shoulder, this person you don't recognize. You look over the person's shoulder and see everything you want. You see yourself in the person's eyes. You don't recognize what you see.
13. Do you take what you want?
14. Do you satisfy your hands?
15. You've never strangled, broken, deflated, drained, defiled. And could.
16. So, do you?
18. You turn around. You walk downstairs. Everybody from Everywhere moves aside, hands up. You go outside. It's raining. You're crying. You cried through it all and didn't notice.
19. Mouse finds you.
20. "Go home."
21. "Someone called the cops."
22. Five years later, a party in Mouse's dirty kitchen. Like Everybody, he's back in Chicago. You write now. He likes what you write. His mom likes what you write. He tells his mom that you're good friends, close friends.
23. He shrugs.
24. "Of course," you say.
25. "How did we survive?"