Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Short Cut

I was to give the eulogy. I hadn't worked it out, written it out, dealt with it at all. Time was ticking down until I had to deliver the address at the basilica before hundreds. I knew there'd be line ups. The former priest was well-loved. I wanted to spread the word that he was passed so that he could be properly honored. I erected a large sign, made a larger one so it was propped in front of the entire front of the store a few blocks from there, where many of his parishioners went. A white sign with primary red Arial.

Time was closing. I tried to get to the basilica, but got disoriented. Cutting across a park the snow had melted around the rocks, benches and picnic tables so there were toadstools of snow. Everything was ice-covered, the low parts water-slick.

I realized there was a knot of drunk homeless people under a tree. I decided to go another way across the park, towards the south instead of straight west. I was slipping. My hands were getting cut and bleeding from the sharp edges of the ice-snow, when I broke thru the crust to catch myself. I wasn't sure anymore which way I should go because I was past half way across. Doubling back would take longer. I realized two of the homeless people were closing in from two sides. A short, middle-aged native woman from 2 o'clock position and a large man in a dark snowmobile parka from 7 o'clock. It might not be about me but my gut says it was. The others were watching from under the tree, their loud conversations dropped, eyes raised.

I pictured the two pulling me down into a low spot beneath the high ice drifts, invisible, robbing me, raping me. I started to slip more. They met eyes across the space in front of me. She looked at him and he nodded as if, this is something we have to do. He moved towards me quickly and as quickly as he could grab my arm, he threw me over his shoulder. He held me by the back of my knees, my face hung down over his back. I reinterpreted their look at me, saw myself thru their eyes as being obviously bumbling. They had to help, not had to hurt.

He carried me out of the park to the dry sidewalk. He set me down. She was at his side. Both of their boozy breaths puffing in my face asking me if I knew where I wanted to get to and they were giving me instructions on how to get there. Her head was cocked with concern. She looked concerned still as I walked away but let me go.

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