we are standing in an open field. there are twenty straw men in a line going down the edge. you’re terrified because you don’t know who sent them. i’m trying to tell you that not everything is about us, trying to get you back in the car. we didn’t have to pull over, i say. i saw a no-trespassing sign, i say. you’re not listening. your fear is turning to anger. you’re threatening them. telling them you know high-level military interrogation techniques. they’re not answering. it’s a one-sided stand-off. you’ve got guns pointed at twenty painted-on faces. i’m kicking around pieces of dried corn, asking you to just go back to the car. the straw men are smiling, their lips are stitched shut. you think they’re mocking you but they don’t have anything to do with us. you’re still screaming. something behind us snaps, i spin around. a buzzard landed twenty feet back and broke some rotten stem. by the time i turn back around there are eight straw hearts on the ground, and counting, with eight disheveled straw bodies to match. you’re taking no prisoners, not getting any answers. a massacre. the straw men at the end of the line are fidgeting. one of them is crying. i’m shouting. straw hearts everywhere, bleeding into the dead corn, watering it. “they are just for the crows! they are just for the crows!” i can’t yell loud enough. fifteen straw hearts. “only scarecrows! they’re innocent!” eighteen. nineteen. the last scarecrow closes his eyes. twenty straw hearts, a mangled row. you’re red handed. never any consequences. you take my hand and suddenly i’m complicit. but all that happens next is we get back in the car and we drive away.