Take the bag , Paul. I want to have on last look around.
Well, maybe you didn't look everywhere. I'll just be a minute.
Wait for me out by the car, please. We can't have the new owners thinking we left a mess behind.
I looked everywhere.
I picked up the garbage bag and hauled it out to the curb. Once we dump this garbage bag, that will be it. That will be the last evidence that the fisher family lived in Houston. Dad and my brother Erik are already gone. They've been living in Florida for a week.
I set the garbage bag down and leaned against the station wagon, staring east, directly into the rising sun. I looked west down all the black mail boxes. Something about them fascinated me. An old familiar feeling came over me, like had forgotten something. What was it? What did i need to remember? Somewhere behind me a car engine started up, and a scene came back to me.
He had somethingpulled over his face, some kind of ski mask, and he was holding a long metal baseball batin both hands, like a murder weapon. Then the gears ground, the tires squealed, and the car leaped forward at animpossible speed. I swiveled back, terrified, and pedaled as hard as I could. I heard theroar of the car closing in on me, louder and louder, like it had smelled its prey. I shot aglance into my bike mirror, and there it was—half a block behind, then ten yards, thenone yard. The man in the ski mask leaned farther out the window. He pulled the bat backand up. Then he brought it forward in a mighty swing, right at my head. I dove to theright, landing on my face in the grass, just as the baseball bat smashed into the mailbox,exploding it right off its pole. Voices inside the car screamed—animal-fury screams—asthe crushed black metal clattered across the street.
I remembered a black mailbox, on a black metal pole. I was riding my bike home at dinnertime, heading east down this street, with the sun setting behind me. I heard a loud roar like an animal's, like a predator snarling. All i could see was the red sun, huge now, setting right over the middle of the street. I could not see anything else. But i could hear the roar, even louder now, and i recognized it : the roar of an engine revved up to full throttle. The i turned back and saw it-a black car. I saw a man hanging out of the passengers window, hanging way out.