I’ve witnessed it occurring to others.
Take the night I rang Aileen’s doorbell. A new model Chrysler Town and Country convertible had slammed into a large oak tree in front of her duplex, its radiator leaking blue antifreeze on the snow.
When the buzzer rang me in…on the landing lay a carmine puddle with a Pall Mall floating at its center.
I’d guessed the owner of the vehicle phoned her minutes before the crash, alerting her to witness the impact from a livingroom window. Stepping out of the of the wreckage, he lit the filter tip as the blood trickled off his forehead onto his cap-toed shoes. The cool, defiant affect as a prelude to his climbing the stairs to her apartment.
Then stubbing the cigarette and vanishing before she answered the door.
Or the penthouse apartment I visited following Wolf’s death.
I fancied his slippered feet meander from their king-sized bed, down the hallway, across
the oatmeal shag in the living room, come to a momentary rest at the slider door to the balcony, then proceed to parapet’s cast iron railing.
His footprints outlined in an Alice-blue light rising out of the floor. When Grace spoke to me as the coffee perked, I couldn’t help but notice she paid no attention to them.
“He stepped out of them,” she said. “They always sat alongside our bed the 35 years we slept together.”
At the foot of the waist-high parapet the felt slippers rested neatly paired.
“Do you imagine he glanced back to the bedroom before balancing himself on the railing?” I asked.
“It’s not how Wolf did anything,” she said. “He never looked back. Even after we married. Several times he should have.”
“Was there a note of any kind?”
Half asleep, she assumed he was headed into the kitchen. At daybreak he’d arise and pour each of them a cup of coffee, returning Grace’s to her in bed where she’d watch him dress for work.
That’s when the resident six flights down screamed as he sailed past her window.
“I shot up in bed and saw the open slider door…and Wolf’s blue operas.”
The green 1950 Mercury sedan’s rear window was festooned with decals of iconic western tourist attractions like the Hoover Dam, Grand Canyon, and Golden Gate Bridge. The car dealer professed its former owner had only desired to attend these places. I purchased the vehicle prior to laws governing the clocking of odometers. This one read an innocent 10,000 miles.
Truthfully I’d little choice. My car suffered grave transmission problems disguised with a sawdust and oil magma. I wagered that the Mercury would travel several more hundred miles than I knew the wounded trade-in could.
Whereas this humid Saturday in July the dealer wagered that my Pontiac parked in front of his lot with its cream leather interior and top down would attract an unsuspecting buyer fast.