"I know I can do the push block enough with my right arm," she said. "Iï¿½m not sure of my left arm."
"You have to be able to slap a car across the highway with either arm," the guide said. "Do you understand what Iï¿½m telling you? Itï¿½s important."
Night. She could see the tail lights of the unimportant cars with their random occupants, anonymous Hyundais and Fords, all sizes from tricky hatchback to pickup truck. She must stand in the middle of the highway and, at the signal, slam any car straight off the road with the power of one arm, with chï¿½i running up through her feet to her shoulders and, she hoped, her vision.
"I think you're ready," the guide said. "You know you're off-balance. You've got your mittens, kitten. Listen: blood-red cherries."
She straightened her neck. "Blood-red cherries," she repeated. This was the signal at which she must act to become no longer a slave.
The night was very dark, the gas station they stood by intimate, with its little lights. She believed the guide truly. Gone the nausea and angst.
I can hit the cars, she said to herself. Others have slid down the mills, slid down the grinding conveyor belts coated with crushed diamonds, with only slivers of horse hooves for protection.
The night held warm and close, yet cold when the wind blew. Almost a migrant itself, that wind, a vagrant apt to be jailed.