Everybody

Zoe asked if they could go to the Manson caves. Her mother responded by telling her about a festival in Seville where drunk men drown a straw woman in the river then burn her in the central plaza, which is hard, she said, because her gown is soaked but they douse her with something and first there’s smoke and then flames go up—buildings nearby, dogs and children around—and no one puts a stop to it and firemen never come. The story wasn’t directly responsive and her mother had never been to Seville and didn’t know the basis of the ritual. The way she told it made it sound like someone else’s story. Also, like the woman was alive and it had to do with sex.

Zoe was tired of stories. It was 1977 and Bob Dylan was always on the radio saying something is happening but you don’t know what it is. She knew that was true and it felt like a threat.

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