Summary: Tony Loneman 

Tony buys two boxes of bullets at Walmart. He rides his bike to the coliseum entrance, dumps the bullets into a pair of socks, and throws the socks into the bushes past the metal detectors. He looks up at the moon and wonders how he got involved in such things.

Summary: Calvin Johnson

Less than five months before the Big Oakland Powwow, Calvin attends a planning committee meeting. He sees Edwin Black and sits next to him, trying to make Edwin feel welcome. Blue, the head of the committee, asks Edwin to introduce himself. Edwin awkwardly states that he lives in Oakland, is an unregistered Cheyenne, and will be working as an intern to help with the powwow. When Dene Oxendene arrives, Blue has him introduce himself, as well. Dene tells everyone that he will be setting up a storytelling booth. Calvin tunes him out and thinks about how he has been put in charge of finding younger vendors to support young Native artists, but he has not put any work in yet.


This short chapter, Tony Loneman’s second, narrates what will happen in the future, a shift in narrative style from the first-person perspective previously used for Tony. As in the Interlude, this chapter “scripts” the future, while also complicating the issues of responsibility that earlier chapters raised. The bullets, which seem to have something like the ability to act or agency, come from Black Hills, South Dakota, a part of the United States that is more associated with indigenous peoples than Oakland. Bullets might travel in a strict trajectory, but this chapter’s formal changes disrupt the novel’s chronological progression. The novel might twist but the bullets, traveling from the end of the Interlude to the start of this chapter, do not.

Where Tony’s chapter is temporally uncertain, Calvin Johnson’s second chapter is specific. The powwow is in 5 months. This detail gives the traveling bullets a clear target. The confusion readers might feel in moving between these chapters, the former narrating events which won’t take place for months, establishes the inevitability and unexpectedness of tragedy. The chapter does little to advance any of the novel’s key themes but it does crucial work for the plot, creating the ties that will bring all the named characters together at the powwow.