I sit quietly with the phone in my lap for minutes turning the last phrase over and over. Not a robber, left a key under my mat, offered flashlight. When the phone turns on and Ian’s name pops up and the first thing he says is
Hey kitten, hanging in there? Need anything?
I think differently.
Well, a robber of sorts.
Grace is the way the engine hums silently, almost a chirr. The way I missed the chirring of insects, I suddenly feel like I got it.
yes
I type
WATER CANDLES BATTERIES PROTECTION NEWS UPDATES. GOT ANY?
He said when I meant it, I should yell it.
It’s 3:30 am and I will hear from him tomorrow. I close my eyes letting the phone charge longer and visualize it; guns, fruit, nuts, candles, a man, a dog, a fence, a bridge, me jumping off. Me, in gown, always blue approaching the icy ledge and then a man behind me:
“Hey.”
And I turn to him and it is snowing hard suddenly.
“Well, that’s one way to avoid a war.”
And then he pushes me. I wake up startled and sweating. The heat is on. Oh, heat, how I missed you. Forty five minutes have passed. Oh shit. The tank is less than a quarter full. My burner is fully charged. Fuck.
“I fell asleep.”
I take the burner off and place the other one.
“I’m sorry, Martha, but someone was going to steal your car anyway and now you’re stuck with us.”
I pinch the knife and rest my head again.  I am on a stage like a play and there are cardboard cutouts all around me. They are painted orange and yellow like flames. I am cooing, not exactly singing but praying in a sing song voice and then squabbling like a bird. I see figures approaching. Silouhettes.
“Psst.”
I look to my right and see a woman dressed in a big brown bird costume.
“They’re all men,” she says and smiles.
I look to the audience and she’s right.
I start screaming.

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