A journal of narrative writing.
Instructions for Cyclists Contending with Evil

You will not be able to expel the malevolence, so before you leave your house, write the names of three medicine angels on the door in charcoal. They will protect you with gifts: improved aerodynamics, an aggressive seat tube angle, a perfect derailleur. Wear protective eyewear and start pedaling as if the welfare of the entire tent city depends on it. Your tour will last exactly 23 days and be waged in stages. If you have exceptional balance, ride with your surfboard tucked under your arm, and use it to bash the frothing mouth of ocean or as a sacrifice to placate the angry gods that rattle six-packs of slicked and asphyxiated gulls to attract rabid dogs who slaver over your pumping calves. Stick your feet on the crossbar and coast while pressing the pitched device that whistles in a frequency higher than any language from elsewhere. Carry raw meat as backup. When riding in the street, wear a helmet, and stay as close to the smoking ruins as possible. If you spot a woman fleeing the rubble in labor, stop and help, but resist naming the baby America. Say, a woman becomes agent to the community's stability. Get on your knees and offer her your flak jacket, which has an admirable number of pockets. Don't trust anyone you pass who labels you a sinner or covers embarrassing objects with curtains. No matter how many crustless sandwiches they set out for you, you will ultimately be shunned like a relative in the wrong marriage. Stop again to conduct a short interview with a coal walker who offers you his mantra—Safeguard me, protect me, send me over the fire— then tells you about a Monday morning custom in Switzerland: before work begins, farmers strike three blows, hammer on anvil, to strengthen the devil's shackles so he can't escape from the mountains. But this lord is a wise trickster, has the power to do anything, even turn your bike tandem so you share his chain and are forced to watch him visit voters' homes. He wears a bulletproof vest. He carries a gun. He says, "White children deserve the same rights as everyone else," to each citizen who invites him in. You must sever your vehicular attachment to evil as soon as possible, though the resulting unicycle will take some getting used to. Instead of trying to outrun him, obey all traffic laws, signal with your hands when slowing, stopping, or turning, though this process is admittedly more difficult without two wheels or handles. No one said your mission would be easy, but you will retain your integrity when you tell the people they must learn to crack enigmatic raised codes of paranoia and jingoism, especially in all dark booths holding punch-card leadership secrets. They must take to the streets to check for evidence of the U.S. constitution. There are no other instructions.

Note: In "Instructions for Cyclists Contending with Evil," the line, "White children deserve the same rights as everyone else," was said by Tennessee Republican congressional candidate James L. Hart (as reported by The Associated Press on August 3, 2004).