Injustice After Dark
The night unually brought a cool breeze during late July of summer; I could feel the cool air wafting past me as I jogged from my studio apartment to Amsterdam's Park, the smallest, quitest park in the city of Seattle, which usually takes about ten minutes by foot. I jogged at a steady pace while giving a slight nod whenever I see a passerby approaching my way.
Late night weekends are the best time for runners, so I take the opportunity--although advised by my primary doctor--to run in hopes that my body can fully restore its metabolism after having had a kidney transplant. Last month, the very first day of June, I recieved an emergency call from my doctor a week after a thorough check-up; the message appeared more ominous than shocking, which was only to have me come to the hospital the next day. On the second day I visited my doctor, who wore a different expression on his face, informed me that my kidneys were failing, and I only had less than few weeks to find a donor before I become one of the deceased.
I remained hospitalized from then on, resting in my bed coughing blood, having uncanny dreams, dealing with pain that continued to spread throughout my body in a systematic way, and wishing someone--a relative--would come to my rescue. I was alone; no friends or family. I am the only child. My parents died eleven years ago before I graduated from law school. Their absence was a hard thing to cope throughout my career as a district attorney.
My doctor said I was going to need two healthy kidneys, though he believed it would be unlikely since the hospital has a history of patients who died due to the delay of transporting live organs from state to sate. I remained in my bed, experiencing the pain as my body decided to give up. Although I didn't have faith in myself, or believe in God, I began praying to whomsoever. My life changed when I heard the words from my doctor during a night, "Good news, Mr. Pollock. We've found--at least--one kidney that is a match for you."
Here I was, jogging in the night, with a single kidney that continues to keep my body from falling on the brink of death.
It was past ten o'clock when I reached Amsterdam's Park. The small area was completely deserted--no sign of a child or pigeons. The park was completely dark, as if the overwhelming darkness utterly covered every area that was unoccupied except the basketball and tennis courts. Each of the courts were illuminated by a dozen lampposts, though the light rediating from them was not that intense. I began jogging outside the perimeter of the park, doing one lap after another, until muscle fatigue begins to have its toll on me.
After reaching my eleventh lap, I stopped from the starting point, breathing heavily while the city remained silent. I went over to a nearby rock to sit on. I sat on the hard surface and pulled out a canteen filled with fresh water from my knapsack. Gulping a mouthful of fuel, I could feel the freshness of the liquid making its way through my intestines, and then to my newly working kidney. All of a sudden, a magpie with distinctive features flew past me and landed across from me. It has a combination of dark and light colors, though I felt ambivalent as to which color is which. It contineously twitched its head every now and then, searching for food. Beyond the magpie is the basketball court. Though something else grabbed my attention; a basketball was laid on the ground half court.
I set my canteen and knapsack on the side, stretched my muscles for couple of seconds, and headed to where the ball was. I grabbed the ball and pressed hard to check whether it's well inflated. I bounced it on the ground and began practicing some tricks, maneuvering it even If I can't play the sport well. I then began shooting free throws, few entering the basket whereas most unsuccessful. Moments later I became shocked when a voice appeared from behind. "What are you doing?"
I turned around and a man emerged from the dark. The man appeared more like a scary stranger; he had on a bronze sweatshirt, covered his head with a green hat with its brim projecting downward, as if concealing his face. Really short, probably over five feet tall, brownish skin color, and wore a pair of white sneakers with their unidentified logos. I grabbed the ball by both hands.
"I'm sorry, can I help you with something?" I began with courtesy.
"You got my ball," the man said. Though I felt it wasn't his ball since I didn't see him or anyone else in the park. Better yet, the ball wasn't here the first time I came.
"My apology," I said, letting it go."I would like to play one-on-one with you; it's no fun playing alone." The man revealed his face but said nothing.
I tossed him the ball and watched him as he examined his supposedly property. Seconds later he made a long-range shot from where he stood, and the ball went in. "Nice!" I complemented on his shot. I grabbed the ball and passed it to him. He threw the ball again, from where he's standing, and made it. I grabbed the ball, again, and passed it to him. This went on eight times, and surprisingly the man never missed the basket--he's a pro, I kept reminding myself. However, when he missed the ninth shot, I grabbed the ball, turned to his direction, and found him holding a pocket knife against me.
"Give me your money!" he declared. I was shocked, scared, yet couldn't understand why.
"W-wait! Please, sir, I have nothing with me," I said, analyzing the knife. The man abruptly inserted the pocketknife in his pocket, reached from his behind, and--this time--pulled out a pistol.
"I will count to five if you don't give me," he said, this time serious. I stared at his eyes and felt something else was forcing him to do this, even if he didn't want to. He began the count. "1...2...3...4..."
I kept telling him I didn't have money on me. My heart started to race so fast I couldn't get it together.
"5!" the man finally said, followed by the sound of the gunshot. I sensed this was the end of my time, yet didn't feel the bullet in my body.
to be continued by partner 2 (arun)
By partner 2 (Arun)
I opened my eyes to confront only the sun. My brain’s reflex action sent my eyelids downwards hiding my vision temporarily. Rubbing my vision system with the back of my palms, I raised my posture to a sit. I’d been lying here facing the sky. Where am I? I tried to contemplate the setting I’m in. Oh! It’s the park.
I see a farrago of kids, adults and elderly ones—mixture of everyone—playing tennis, basketball and cricket at a distance from where I’m now. Cricket has become quite famous in US nowadays. No one seems to be interested in me. To them, I’m another homeless man or an over-loaded dipsomaniac. My brain stampeded to me in an incredible rush the scenes that it can present to me. Yes, I came here last night to have a jog. I often used to wonder how awkward am I in my ways – while the rest of the world jogged early morning, I always jogged only after the moon should teeth through the clouds. Well, not always, at the least, for the past three months.
My doctor said it is perfectly all right and that all I had to do is to sweat my fat out. While everyone around me—my “used to be” friends, colleagues and insignificant others— used to tell that I must become thin, I never had felt in all my lifetime, not even once, to feel the necessity of becoming thin. I never felt ashamed of it. I always felt it gawky why should people comment on my appearance. Oh, all my senses worked perfectly. More paining than the burn the sun produced on my skin, is my shoulder.
I grazed my left arm over my right shoulder. A groan escaped my mouth involuntarily. I reassured myself that I’m alive. My left palm got partly painted with a tint of blood-red. I’m shot. I surely can say that. The mysterious person came to my mind. I concluded that he may be a virtuoso in dunks, he, for certain is not a good shooter. Not a good assailant. What? An assailant? Why should he kill me? The thoughts literally strangled me.
Without further thoughts, I stood up yawning from the bench in which I was lying; I tried to walk, letting alone the edibles that were laid in that adjacent bench, which I bought to get dried to nothing. I felt no need to count my steps; as with every single step I felt my shoulder muscles ache. The technical name of the muscle popped up in my brain – it is trapezius. Next to the trapezius, when we move towards the arm is the deltoid, I felt a very meager quantity of pride, about my vast ken, surge inside me and vanish away. I maybe a law practitioner but I still remembered some of high school biology.
Remembering the pain with every step, I tried to fish out the reason why the man shot me. I didn’t come by car. I have to walk by foot. It would usually take ten minutes but I’m not sure what will it be now. I’m not planning on going to the hospital. I can take care of myself. The bullet, which I thought to be of mysterious nature that it didn’t kill me, was not at all magical. It was all worldly; the man, the court, the shoot, everything is true.
The man must have had shaky hands. His shot didn’t kill me. The bullet showed me mercy by tracing only the top of my shoulder and letting my life remain. It was just a superficial wound that had severed my skin. Yet, I practically hadn’t received any serious wounds since my birth and hence this new pain almost killed me.
Anyway, once I reach my home I would take care of myself for I have a first-aid kit. My reflections covered all the possibilities while I trekked my way home. Who is he? Why did he try to kill me? He’s such an expert in hitting dunks! His hands were certainly not shaky, yet he missed me! Is it intended? If intended, why should he let me live? The last thought triggered my brain.
I remembered that he asked for money. I quickly groped into the larger pocket of my knapsack and found that the court papers were as exact as I kept. So, he is not a robber for certain! I felt bad over my connection to those mundane papers. Should I told him the truth and gave him the money he wouldn’t have shot me. Oh no, some inner voice snorted at me. It told that he wants some reason to mess up with me. He meant to mess up with me. He searched for a reason to pick up a fight with me—with this big fat attorney. That’s why he said that the ball is his. I felt my pain vanished, but I knew it'd not vanished completely. Since I’ve directed my thoughts upon something more stolid than the pain, my magnificent mind helped me forget the pain. The power of believing! Mindfreak! Criss Angels! CA always told about forgetting pain by focusing the mind on something else.
All those things came up into my mind in quick successions when I allowed my vacillations to settle on my vanished pain. Oh, the pain resurfaces again! I chose to ignore it as well as the weird looks the Sunday-morning-joggers projected on me, seeing the bloodstain that made an impression on my T-shirt. I felt glad that it didn’t show off the true colours of the blood.
I suddenly remembered the very important thing that I always take with me, my flash drive. In magnified haste, I scrutinized the small pocket. What! It’s missing! Oh my pain vanished again. Fear and perspirations took their upper-hand inside of me. I felt my heart beat at its fastest. I can’t take it. Who will it be? I’m sure the man is a henchman. He had no links with this. So who is behind this? Will he be one of His men? He – the one who is involved in the most nefarious case that our court had ever dealt with. I’m the one against that one.
The case is due tomorrow, and in that flash drive contained saved documents, including my client's affidavit regarding a kidnapping. My only essential keys to a resolution! I’m a failure again! My mind reminded me of the extra copy that I had in my PC. I’m an old-fashioned man who use old PCs and never had tried a laptop. I set out a sigh and I felt that my legs gained momentum. No, I’m not a failure.
I found my house open. Broke open! Oh, I quickly rushed inside to find my PC crashed on the floor. The CPU is open. I hurried to it and found my hard disk missing. Oh my god!
to be continued by partner 1 (GG)