Sunday, January 09, 2011

They Never Knew His Name

We knew nothing about him. Our day had been perfectly normal until there was a loud crash on the street.

A woman's scream, the sound of men's heavy wingtips racing in one direction. Voices talking and yelling over one another. The sound of sirens and muffled voices rumbled as a response was organized.
Looking up, the awnings were still wavering on a perfectly still day. The rip on the one above the bedroom window of apartment 14D was definitely not there at the beginning of the day. Could he have grabbed it during his fall, having change his mind?It happened in a second. He stepped from behind the hotel's bright red sign.
And the descent began, his legs and arms flying like those of a dancer. Could there be actual grace in such a tragic, crushing final rite?
Alvin Mortersen was checking his pocket watch wondering why Eldridge T. Brooks was seven minutes late, bewildered to be sensing a dark cloud hovering above his head on a day that the Tribune-Herald had predicted would be filled with spotless skies.
The West Jefferson line was just pulling up as passengers looked up to see flailing arms rushing to the pavement, a spider whose web had been cut with the sharpest of knives.
By 10:30 the street was back to its regular routine. Many would speculate and gossip for hours and weeks to come. "And where were you that morning?" But few ever heard his name. His body was headed south on a 3 p.m. train to Louisville to be greeted by his grieving mother and widow whom he abandoned six months earlier. They never came to claim his belongings, and they were eventually dispersed among the maintenance staff. Holmes prized the fine leather shaving case, and Stermboern wore that handsome fedora well into the 1940s when he retired. Hattie Juleberg claimed the elegant suitcase with the monogram of H.R.J, never admitting that her middle name was actually Louise.

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At 3:30 AM, Blogger Alan Burnett said...

Good gracious, this is a fine piece. The marriage of words and images somehow creates something that is greater than the sum of its parts. Very impressive indeed.


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