How swiftly the street turns sinister. Taking out the trash. The familiar bump of the wheels as it comes off the curb. I’ve done this a hundred times, pushing and pulling the container into place so it’s convenient for the trash man to pick up in the morning, not tucked up against a car. I’m by the container at the edge of the street when I first notice the headlights. There are no streetlights so it is hard to tell what kind of car it is. But it is coming fast, bearing down on me. I know the driver can see me, I am blinded by the lights. The car is picking up speed. I can hear the engine growling, some sort of truck or SUV, something heavy. I can hear the tires against the pavement. Without thinking, I recognize that I am in danger. Without hesitating, knowing that I have something heavy in my hand with a trigger, I draw my right arm up just as the vehicle is abreast of me, charging past. I fire, illuminating the side windows. It is just a flashlight. I fire it again and again, trying to wound the beast, slow it down. Yes, that’s it. The SUV slows down heavily at the stop sign, pauses, then starts backing up slowly towards me. I stand my ground, holding on to the light. Just wait then. Just wait. It is a big SUV, maroon colored. The driver side door cracks open a few inches, and the dome light comes on. I can see everything: the man, the woman. He is big and heavy in the driver’s seat, a rhino. “What’s with the light?” he asks. I can already hear the plastic casing of the battery cracking into fragments against his bald head, a shaved head. It is a heavy battery, but I would need it to hold together for me. I would need it to not go to pieces on me, because he is some kind of rhino. The only other passenger is a woman. “You’re doing forty miles an hour. Slow down.” No cursing, no motherfucker this, motherfucker that, even though the words are pounding in my ears, ringing in my ears, churning at the edge of my throat. Is he going to get out? Should I let him out? Or do I throw myself against the door when an arm comes through? Slam the door on the arm. It would be a waste of a good flashlight if he gets out. There is a brief pause while he thinks about what it’s worth to him, being flagged down by some nobody taking out the trash. “Fuck that,” he says, and guns his car, speeding to the end of the street. I spend the night checking the windows from within a darkened house, prepared for something, feeling once again the cold comfort of a heavy plate of armor against my chest and back, like a turtle, waiting for it, waiting for it.