The story opens with an author openly defying a request to write a short story for children. She asserts that no author should be "compelled to create a work on demand." One night, she is woken up by a sound in the house and is unable to go back to sleep. In her awakened state she begins telling herself a bedtime story about a family living in the suburbs. Everyone in this town aims to protect themselves from the homeless, thieves, and the crooks that roam the streets. Personal security from the outside world is of extreme importance. As the story goes on, the family installs more and more security measures to their home: a wall surrounding their property, electronic gates, metal bars on the windows, highly sensitive alarms, and finally, barbed wire. The story ends with the son attempting to scale the wall only to be ultimately killed by the injuries the barbed wire inflicts.