The odd group of well-wishers slowly moved down the hallway as Moshe’s sobs cascaded up and down the walls, bouncing from one side to the other. The discourse on Doc Roberts was forgotten now as the group tromped forward, a ragtag assortment of travelers moving fifteen feet as if it were fifteen thousand miles, slow travelers all, arrivals from different lands, making a low trek through a country that claimed to be so high, a country that gave them so much yet demanded so much more. They moved slowly, like fusgeyers, wanderers seeking a home in Europe, or erú West African tribesmen herded off a ship on a Virginia shore to peer back across the Atlantic in the direction of their homeland one last time, moving toward a common destiny, all of them—Isaac, Nate, and the rest—into a future of American nothing. It was a future they couldn’t quite see, where the richness of all they had brought to the great land of promise would one day be zapped into nothing, the glorious tapestry of their history boiled down to a series of ten-second TV commercials, empty holidays, and sports games filled with the patriotic fluff of red, white, and blue, the celebrants cheering the accompanying dazzle without any idea of the horrible struggles and proud pasts of their forebears who had made their lives so easy. The collective history of this sad troupe moving down the hospital corridor would become tiny blots in an American future that would one day scramble their proud histories like eggs, scattering them among the population while feeding mental junk to the populace on devices that would become as common and small as the hot dog that the dying woman thought she smelled; for in death, Chona had smelled not a hot dog but the future, a future in which devices that fit in one’s pocket and went zip, zap, and zilch delivered a danger far more seductive and powerful than any hot dog, a device that children of the future would clamor for and become addicted to, a device that fed them their oppression disguised as free thought. Had the group of stragglers moping down the hallway seen that future, they would have all turned en masse and rushed from the hospital out into the open air and collapsed onto the lawn and sobbed like children. As it was, they moved like turtles toward Chona’s room as Moshe’s howl rang out. They were in no hurry. The journey ahead was long. There was no promise ahead. There was no need to rush now.