One of those parties where you know no one but those you came with. Drinks in the garden. Instagrammable cocktail in one hand, a stranger’s hand in the other. You begin putting out the political feelers, discerning what is safe to say here. The quiet, bespectacled husband you find yourself talking to surprises you by suggesting someone should really just put a bullet in his head already. You see, suddenly, like a glimpsed sign that makes you stomp on the brake, his latent radicalism. His work with the anarchist collective on Shattuck. Afternoons thrusting pamphlets into the hands of bewildered undergrads just trying to get to lecture. Sweating through his shirt at basement shows that left his ears ringing for days. Now he twists between finger and thumb the sprig of rosemary he pulled out of his drink, squinting over his wife’s shoulder at the text she’s sending the babysitter. They seem to hardly be here, these two. They wear the strained faces of those whose minds are elsewhere. They won’t stay long. Their lives aren’t here in this burgeoning garden but in that dark room where their daughter is sleeping. While the phone is still in her hand, it starts buzzing, differently than it usually does, like a grenade she pulled the pin from but forgot to throw. It buzzes in her husband’s hand, too, and in your pocket, and in the pockets and hands and purses of every last person at the party. It buzzes also in the hand of the babysitter on the couch, snipping the sensuous text thread she and her boyfriend have been weaving all evening. Even after you’ve heard her say, to no one in particular, “Amber alert,” you look at your phone’s cracked face to confirm it. You imagine the truck or van, the swarthy man driving, the wide-eyed child beside him, borne away from everything familiar as if by a rogue wave. This couple with their phones in their hands look worried, though they must know they have nothing to fear. Parents aren’t the ones alerted in amber, the color of despair, and anyway, they were just texting with the babysitter, who, anticipating that they’d want to know she’d done so, has gone upstairs to check the crib. The husband says, “Where were we?” as if you’ve all been lost. As everyone puts their phones away and resumes their conversations, you can’t stop thinking about the amber alert, how it spread through the party, then died out. It reminds you of something you read once, one of those little bits of trivia it’s good to have on hand to fill awkward silences at a party, such as this one. There is a theory that the reason yawns are contagious is evolutionary. Through natural selection, contagious yawns became a mechanism by which, if one member of a herd was tiring, the whole herd would know, the yawn a kind of information, or, rather, the means by which information is communicated, suggesting that the herd should close ranks, bed down, bring the weakest within.