It’s the 12th of June and I am going to die. We all die at some point, but knowing your death is imminent kinda changes your complacency about the matter. But still, I’m at peace.
I haven’t had a home since shortly after I was laid off. At first, I slept in my car, but then I had to sell it. So, for the last five months I’ve been sleeping in back alleys and doorways. That’s why I was there and saw what I did.
It was getting late. I was on my way to a favored sleeping place. It had been a long day. It’s hard to find work when your clothes are dirty and you are just as dirty. At least I wasn’t hungry. I had found a cornucopia of food behind the Korean market down on 7th Street. It was in the dumpster. I had myself a nice salad once I discarded what was rotten from the head of lettuce. There was also a badly dented and out-of-date can of Vienna sausages. Thank God for pop-off lids. It was the first thing I had eaten all day.
Passing by that abandoned building over on Fairfax, I heard a small scared voice say, “Please don’t hurt me again.” There was a pleading in it that just broke my heart.
I went into the building and searched from room to room. Then I heard the scream. I rushed to where I thought it came from and blundered into a scene from hell. I beheld a man on his knees, bending over the body of a little blonde-haired girl. Blood was pooling on the floor around her head. The man held a knife in his hand—he was cutting off her clothes.
My only thought, not knowing the girl was already dead, was to save her. I jumped on the man’s back, and as he tried to throw me off, we fell, entangled, to the floor. He’d managed to hold onto the knife and slashed me once across my chest. But before he could have another go at me, I grabbed his wrist, and turning it inward, I fell on him. He was dead before we stopped rolling. The knife had pierced his heart.
Without a thought for him, I went to the girl. She was looking at me, her blue eyes wide open, but she did not see me. She was dead; he had slit her throat. I knelt down beside her and brushed the blonde hair from her pretty face. She couldn’t have been more than ten years old. Then I did something I hadn’t done in a long, long time … I cried. I cried for the girl and I cried for myself. I did not want to live in a world where something like this could happen.
“What the fuck!”
I looked up to see Teddy turn and bolt through the door. Teddy was someone I had met at the soup kitchen while waiting in line. He saw me drenched in blood and ran. I couldn’t blame him. I didn’t care what he thought. I closed the little girl’s eyes and then I prayed for her soul … and mine.
Teddy must have told the police what he had seen. I am surrounded by five cops. They all have their guns drawn. That’s rich. But it’s also opportune. I’m tired. I just want to move on. I stand and point the killer’s knife at the cops. The last thing I hear are the pops of five guns. The last thing I feel are the warm bullets as they pierce my flesh and take me off to a better world.