Tonight, the reality of residing in Hell demands my attention. Outside my door are frightening sounds of an altercation that is too close for my comfort. Grabbing my phone off the table, I stand at attention prepared to dial 911 emergency. As the commotion outside escalates so does my anxiety. Past experiences have taught me to expect the exchange of gunfire as this is the usual end to altercations in my neighborhood. When the gunshots go off in rapid succession my hands shake as I press the numbers 911 on the phone’s screen.

A woman on the other end questions, “What is your emergency? ” Quickly, I speak, “corner of Madison and Denver… a woman was screaming… then gunfire… seven shots, hurry.” She replies, “They are on their way.”

True to my curious nature, I venture out into the back yard; into the darkness. Peering through the gap in the fence, directly across the street, I watch a car backing out of the apartment driveway the car makes a sharp turn and speeds off. Stopped in the middle of the street is the second car, I wonder if the passengers are involved in the shooting. The last time I heard gunfire split the night, in the morning, I learned that a young man had lost his life. The White car takes off like a jet and races around the corner, seconds later, a police car arrives at the scene. Still shaking, I dial 911 again to inform the operator that the police car just missed a White car that went around the corner.

With flashing lights and its siren blaring, the police car disappears around the corner. A crowd starts to form as people come out of their apartment. Not long after the first Police car left, an ambulance, fire truck, and other police vehicles arrive. Two EMT’s take out a stretcher from the ambulance and roll it over the driveway. The EMT’s return, a man on the stretcher moans as the stretcher is lifted into the back of the ambulance. One EMT jumps in the back and the other slams the doors gets in the driver’s seat and speeds off around the same corner. The crowd thins as people begin to go back inside. Doing the same, I go back inside and as usual, when exposed to the violence of these frequent incidents, images of my hometown fill my mind followed by my sworn declaration, “I Hate This Fucking Place.”

5 thoughts on “The Reluctant Witness

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