Garrett Brown, 35, wakes up clenching the lapels of a clown's crushed velvet suit. Blood turns the yellow wig brown. Garrett looks up, around the room. He sees a big top full of witnesses.
Garrett Brown, 11, is playing Gameboy in the front seat of his mother's car. He does not see his mother cut off and nearly collide with the small car in her blind spot as she merges onto the freeway. But he certainly hears the ensuing honks, sees the car (not just small, but impossibly tiny) swerve around and pull even with his mother's, sees the driver, hugely-coiffed with a garish painted face, roll down his window and scream, "Fucking whore, fucking dumb bitch," a horrible grin painted around his real angry mouth. He swerves into their lane, over and over, slamming into their car and screaming, until Garrett's mother is forced to pull over and stop on the shoulder. As the tiny car speeds away, Garrett imagines an enormous shoe stomping on a miniature peddle. With quickly beating hearts, Garrett and his mother cry together.
The actions of Dave Corning, 54, have sent his fellow tour-takers scrambling for cover, and the employees of the Mrs. Baird's Bread Company searching for implements of self-defense. There's a folding chair lodged in the gears of the dough-puller, the head baker, Eli "Shark" Harris, has been smothered with a bread bag.
Dave Corning, 9, breaks his tibia sliding into home. When Dave and his parents get home from Laurent Hospital, Dave's dad screams through the phone at the coach who's teaching nine-year-olds to slide. Incorrectly. The cast has two upsides: signatures (26 and counting, Dave never leaves home without a Sharpie) and he only has to take a bath every other day. Bath time itself, however, quickly comes to represent in Dave's mind something foreboding and permanent. He has to seal his cast in a Mrs. Baird's bread bag, and the bag prompts in Dave, the boy who for two months after seeing Jaws couldn't close his eyes in the bathtub with thinking he was about to be eaten by a shark, a terrible fantasy: Dave's entire body sealed in a huge bread bag, being lowered into a shark-filled ocean, sinking deeper, weighed down and rendered immobile by casts on his arms and legs, Dave can't do anything but gulp down his short supply of air and watch the sharks come. The cast stays on six months, ninety bath times.
Julia Newton, 25, has apparently beaten Charles Barkley to death with a card table. The crowd assembled at the book signing heaves a final stunned, silent breath before screaming into chaos.
Julia Newton, 8, practices hard for the Dr. Pepper Free-Throw Contest at half-time of the March 23, 1993 Phoenix Suns game. Practices in the driveway with her dad until it gets dark. But when the day comes, in front of the big crowd, she doesn't shoot well. She has fun anyway. She meets another contestant, Sheila, who shares her affinity for Pogs. She gets a voucher for a year's worth of Dr. Pepper. On the way back to her seat, hand-in-hand with an usher, Julia overhears Charles Barkley say to reporter, "Man, little white girls shouldn't try to shoot free throws. They're so bad at shooting free throws, I should write a book about how bad they are. Call it Little White Girls Can't Jump. There is definitely enough evidence to fill a book, just here in this room right now." Julia and Charles make eye contact.