Finally, tears gushed. I was sitting on a curb by the highway before dawn. I was dawn, not quite risen over a small, dark man on a desert highway. I was a pool of tears splash-fed by a biped above my gutter. I was a tremble, a sob, a cicada, a dead soul listening in. I don’t know what I was. I was a car coming, high beam illumining tear-slicked face, driver coming in earshot of moaning figure, alone in the desert, in the dark.
The car stopped a few yards past me, then purred back. The passenger door flung open, and a man leaned out, balding, single-browed, a skinny man with a nasal accent: "Get in, Jack. We ain’t got all day."
I smelled jasmine, sweet and piercing. Inside, beneath a red tassel hanging from the rearview, a small soapstone elephant was lit by the map light above the dash. My tusks curled into the tangle of threads. I had many arms. In my hands were medicine bottles, knives, diamonds, skulls, crushed demons, and snakes. A naked woman scissored me.
I was sitting in Ganesha’s lap. My legs embraced the elephant’s hips. My heels massaged his buttocks. My nipples rubbed his chest. I smiled, but held my lips enticingly distant. The Indian behind the wheel stroked my back.
Or perhaps I was from Pakistan. I was irritated at Izzy. I, the driver, said, "If I had wanted like this, I would have stayed at my motel, Izzy. Do we have to pick up everybody?"
"Exactly, Sarvaduhka," One-brow shot back. "That’s who this piece of merchandise is: everybody! Ain’t you, Jack?"
I pulled my sleeve across my face to erase the tears. The car, a warm shell of light, seemed heaven, but I couldn’t find where to say yes from. When I tried to speak, the car door groaned instead. It closed. I was inside, in front, squeezed between the door and the man with one long eyebrow. "How did you know?" I tried to say; instead, the sun rose.