We’re on that train that’s going by in the distance, confined to its track like a blood fluke to a vein. Instead of blood, it feeds on boredom — a green blur. We stop at stations just long enough to read the advertisements and gaze at the litter. One hoarding for a summer movie reads: “How do you catch a serial killer if he’s invisible?” Another, for a bank, promises no card tricks. In the Quiet Carriage, phones vibrate in bags and pockets like cicadas struck dumb by thirst. You picture all this from the seat of a combine harvester, spiraling toward the center of a field of wheat.

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