Believe what you see.

Ray felt strongly he had something to say about his inalienable rights but was unable to speak. A hand grasped his arm with a grip. He became cold. He began to sweat. The shivering verged on shakes. The commotion inside of his head grew stronger and engaged in hand to hand combat. Though rattled, he felt as if he never lost his cool. Why ask why? He had seen enough and was going to close his eyes. This was not a dream.


An unidentified party guest with a crackling tenor voice, either ignorant, shell shocked, or just plain dumb, had squealed from an upper floor apartment in a pinkish stucco building, “What was that?”


“Where’d you come from?”


“Get down.”




“What’s wrong with you?”


Nate Charbonneau was one of the first men to dive for cover. More to himself than anyone else he snorted contemptuously, “What do you think it was?”


Then Danny said, "What happened to Ray?"


"Where is he?"


"That's what I'm saying."


It is well known that in a police riot, the uncommitted sightseers who are curious to have a look at the excitement from the fringes of the crowd are easiest to pick off. What bulky storm trooper will choose to huff and puff and wade into a pissed off mass of dedicated enemies to become potentially surrounded by real agitators when the clueless clods wandering around wondering what's what will fill the jail just well?


Nate sighed, "What you don't know hurts."


The alley beneath the pinkish stucco building soon began to resemble one of those really loud, really dumb, high budget movies that invariably score big at the box office with the up and coming next generation of testosterone haulers, where scores of really dumb movie stars, along with many dumb extras, shoot their guns from the hip while mouthing uplifting obscenities in state of the art, multi-phonic surround sound. .


"Maybe he'll be all right."


"Yeah, right.


So many of Ray's big deals had turned out hit or miss, too often miss. He was not so new in town to only make the same mistakes twice. In that, in Portland, he was not alone. He was lucky to have a good job and had no good reason to complain but he did. His last ex-girlfriend blamed it on the edibles he nibbled all day. The last words he repeated before losing consciousness, which were later confirmed by at least two non-objective observers, were “Oh wow, oh wow, oh wow.”


No one was present to confirm these same two words were employed when Ray opened his eyes for a first, second, and finally for a third time with staying powder, much the worse for wear and tear nine hours later, on a horseshoe path at the closed Children's Playground in Washington Park, not even the storm troopers in camo who kicked him to the curb, had a late night bite at Voodoo Doughnut, and were done thinking or talking about it.


Ray had always been attracted to the idea that he would learn all he ultimately needed to know in a last illuminating instant before he died, but he thought upon awakening for the second time, too weak to sit up, though fortunately able to roll over before puking, if this is dying, that is not true.



Submitted: July 23, 2020

© Copyright 2023 marclevytoo. All rights reserved.

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