ANTHOLOGY COMPLEX


FRIENDS IN LOW PLACES (1:1:3:30)


I'm walking down Chase street. If you walk down a certain street enough times, it will get so that you remember what cars it parks, what trees it houses and what buildings it erects. I walk into the grocery store and buy what I usually buy, and I notice they hired someone new.

I walk back out and there is that car again. The car I saw on my way to the store. I have never seen it before on this street but it's nothing strange. Cars come and go. So do trees, and so do buildings.

I'm at the front door of my apartment building now, looking down at the life that Lynne and I had created. These growing flowers, these peace lilies. That's when I see blood on the door handle. I peer inside and it's almost as if I can see silence because the atmosphere looks so dead. I open the door and walk inside slowly, and I see more blood on the ground. Not a lot. There's never a lot.

I go up the stairs slowly and when I get to the top, my heart stops. It's Kathleen laying on the ground, no signs of life. I put down the groceries and I go up to her, but the muscle has died. It's stopped pumping, stopped doing its one job, and because of this the entire body suffers. I think to myself, why is there a trail of blood, I start to wonder if she fought off whoever did this. Then I remember that Derek is still here, and the drug war he was telling me about.

I go into my apartment and look for him, but he is nowhere to be found. Maybe the blood was his. I think that until I realize my backdoor is wide open, and there is no trail to be followed.

I call the police and tell them what has happened, and then I go back to the body. I go back to Kathleen. A woman who I only knew though Joe, and I barely know Joe at best. I told her to stop coming, not because it was for her own safety but because she was bothersome, and being bothersome is what got her murdered by a blade that didn't even have her name on it. These stab wounds.

I hear Lynne's door creak, and then I hear her voice. She's calling out my name but in a way that appears as if she's asking me if I am who I am. Then she asks me if the ambulance had come yet. I find out that she had already called the police, but she stayed inside her apartment because she is terrified of dead people and that she didn't want the kids to come out and see it. I look at Joe's door, and all I can think about is why mother's have to die so close to their sons.

The police arrive, take over the crime scene, and then ask us questions. They question everyone who was in the building at the time, which wasn't much because it was early. They ask about the blood trail, if anyone was missing, but that question goes unresolved. I figure if Derek is still alive he's long gone anyway, probably looking for his brother.

The body is taken, and as I look outside my window to see her being carried away, I see the large group of people who are wondering what had happened. Wondering if someone got hurt, or if someone had died. Ambulances, police cars, they do that to people. They attract them and cause them to huddle up because there must be something out of place. The ambulance sits there, running, but not moving.

After a while, they finally drive away, and I wonder if that's the last time I will ever see her again. I wonder how I will tell Joe what happened when he wakes up, if he wakes up.

Some time goes by and I'm sitting on my couch, Kathleen's death hasn't fully sunken in yet. It probably never will. The deaths you hear about on the news are so foreign, but when the death has happened to someone you know, when it's so close to home, it's a different story.

Across the hall I can hear Lynne arguing with her mother about something, probably about getting out of this part of town because it's too dangerous. It's not really that dangerous, though. The real danger is where basic human needs are not met.

I get up to go to the room where Derek was staying, the room that houses all of my composition notebooks, and when I peer inside I see an open notebook on the ground, it was obvious that Derek was interrupted.

As I go to pick up the notebook, I too am interrupted as the phone begins to ring. That damn ringing sound. The ringing sound that tells you that you will be engaging in a discussion with another human being very soon.

What the ringing doesn't tell you is how long the discussion will be, or what the contents of the discussion entail, or who exactly the discussion will be with. I guess if you have caller identification, you can see who it will be sometimes. If you know who it will be, then there's a chance you can figure out what the contents of the discussion will be about. If you can figure out what the contents will be about, then perhaps you can figure out how long the discussion will be.

I pick up the phone, it's the police station, asking me to come down and answer a few questions. Police officer, question, less than two minutes.

I'm at the station, more specifically in a small room. Before me there is one police officer, a detective, asking me questions. What time did I discover the body, when did I leave the building, what was Kathleen White doing visiting me. As time goes on, the questions get more offensive, like I'm the fucking murderer.

On my way back home I pass by my parents' home, and the church we used to go to, but I don't visit either. Instead I wonder why I have allowed myself to become so far gone. From people, society, common traditions. A woman has died and part of it is because she met me, but the only thing I can feel is the need to know where she is now, to know what happens after the heart stops beating and the brain stops thinking.

Some time goes by and now I'm making breakfast. Before I can really start there is a banging at my door. It's the police, but not any of the ones I've seen before. One of them is telling me they have a search warrant for my apartment, and another is telling me that I'm under arrest for the murder of one Kathleen White. I am confused, possibly in the mildest state of a coma, I can't comprehend a word they are saying to me.

They say that I may not have done the actual stabbing, but that they know I played a role in the death of Kathleen White. That I wanted her dead. Another officer starts to pat me down. He puts his hand in one of my coat pockets and takes out a piece of gum, and that's when I wake up.

The use of an unreliable narrator is sometimes necessary to depict the atmosphere of the narrator's mind. There was a time in my life when dreams and actual real-life memories were difficult to differentiate, separating reality from fiction was not feasible. Sometimes we wake up from dreams angry because we wish it was real life, and sometimes we wake up relieved because it wasn't.

I look in Derek's room, he's sleeping. I turn on the television and hear about how several more people have died. All most likely having a tie to the drug trade. Not too long afterwards, there's a knocking at my door and I look through the peephole. It looks like one of Jamal or Derek's friends, but I can only assume because there is no one here to guide me. I open the door and the man asks for Derek. I ask him who he is, literally.

He says he's a friend of Jamal's, or, was a friend of his. I ask him if Jamal is okay, but all he does is look down and nods sideways. All forms of language is simply the outward projection of the mind. What kind of life is this?

I wake Derek up, and they both leave. It's probably the last time I will see either of them, and finally this place where I reside is my own again. I go to the room where Derek stayed, and I look at my composition notebooks. All in place, as if they were never touched. Derek has the mindset, but what he chooses to do in life is up to him. Heads, tails, call it in the air.

I had this dream one time where I was walking through a city, the downtown area, and there were so many busy people. People who were going places; people walking, driving, running, bicycling. In the contrast there were people who stayed still, laid still, sat still, stood still. These were people without homes; men, women, children. Families. Every system produces waste.

I walked past a man who was sleeping on a piece of cardboard, and sat down on a bench that was next to him. Still on my journey to a peaceful place that I had yet to find. Seeing these people like this made me wonder if it was their own fault that their lives turned out like this, or if it was the fault of society. Is it that for one person to live in a home, another must be without one? There was a man who said that a nation is only as strong as how it treats its unfortunate.

All this time I'm thinking that these people screwed up somewhere in their lives, but what I don't realize is that some of them chose to be homeless. It's almost as if it were something you read out of a book about Nirvana, that these types of people are trying to free themselves from suffering.

Later in the same dream, I try to look up at the night-sky, but there is too much pollution in the city. All you can really see are small white dots, and one big dot that is sometimes yellow. If you're lucky, there won't be white smoke passing through them.

These thoughts bring me closer to my window, and I try to look out at the night-sky, but still all I can see are little white dots. I continue to look around and then I notice Lynne is down there, looking at the flowers. They are growing well. Like many other things, the critical determination on whether these flowers will flourish is how they are developed early on.

Like someone out of a mystery-murder book, I watch her silently. Her facial expressions, her actions, the only thing I can't see are her thoughts. Now I see light, someone is coming out of the building. I've seen this large woman in the building before but I don't know who she is. Her and Lynne begin to talk.

I can't hear what they are saying but they are laughing and smiling, pretending as if the echoes from the Sun reach every part of our world. That there is no darkness that cannot be shone out of existence. But there is.

And then that's when it happens, a loud boom goes off in my apartment. At first I think someone has sneaked in, but after a while I realize I'm the only one in the apartment. I heard the boom clearly, but I couldn't tell where it came from. I check my bedroom, nothing has changed. Then I go check the composition notebook room; the shelf that housed my notebooks had collapsed and before me was a mess of black and white. It reminds me that there is still trouble in the world.