Chase Me Down Through A Parking Lot

Everything unravelled when the body bag zipped, bleeding with certainty.

You heard something die in the half-light of night. The subtler shades of malice seemed to come alive under flickering incandescent light. You know this feeling, you’ve seen it. Or, rather, you’ve felt it. Cold and clammy hands rubbing up and down washed-out denim and over-ripe white tees. You can’t seem to forget the small hum of your Camry’s air-conditioner running that evening in July, when your head contorted in degrees of censorship.

Do you remember seeing the last time a chest rose and fell?

You hit your head on the steering wheel when you dove for comfort. When gunpowder met match; metal pierced flesh; life bowed out. Death, like an old friend, greeted, shook a calm hand, carried heavy bags after each and every pull of the trigger. One, two, three. All of them, each one. Cracked windshield.

Hit the ground in a concert of tone-deaf percussions.

You cried. And you’re not generally one to do so. Still, you cried. The taste of salt reminded you of weekends spent on New Jersey beaches you’d never thanked your Mother for. A sea of sorts had washed-up atop your tastebuds — sand between your toes, aloe vera on your neck, innocence at the helm. There was always ketchup, not mustard, splayed across corndogs at your beckoning. But those weekends came to an end six-years-ago, smothered in broken tinted glass and bent steel frames. It’s been about a week since you put flowers on their headstones; it’s time to get fresh ones again, don’t you think? And cry.

The maze of cars afforded only mere moments.

You’d never seen someone run so quickly through a parking lot, a gazelle cornered between lions and leopards, herds of hyenas. Cackling, laughing, taunting. God, the last screams, the first pleadings, the right hand over your clenched yellowed teeth. Your left hand somewhere between the car keys and a lukewarm Diet Coke.

He seemed to float in earned grace as he approached his car.

You opened the door with a sense of unease. The carefully preserved memories of a sensible security had yet to be pierced. Like an iridescent bubble, mid-flight, on a cloudless day. Pop. The door closed, an affirmation of sorts. An action shaped by the silencing of a someone’s morality, bouts of storytelling booked marked by serious remarks of concrete indignities. Things would begin to seem stilted — after you turned the key right.

Waved at you, a voice said “Thank You” for holding the door open.

Were you ever the same — or just remembering yourself?

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