Monday, November 28, 2011

Aftershock by John Wawrzaszek


“So tell me what happened.”

I looked up to see a police officer, decked out in a bullet proof vest. It made his chest puff out; he wasn’t that strong or fat. Handcuffs hung from a loop in his belt. The night was settled in now. The street lights shone off the oil slicks on the blacktopped street. I could see my bike a few feet from me. Wrecked. Totally figures. What the hell happened?

“What the hell happened?”

Was there an echo? The officer stared down at me. His name tag read HARRIS. I didn’t know what rank he was. Officer Harris? Lieutenant Harris?

“I guess, from the looks of it, I fell off my bike.”

His walkie talkie buzzed. He turned around to get it from the back of his belt. As he moved, I saw a car behind him. Not a cop car, a long brown boat, the kind an old person drives. The hood looked familiar.

“How do you feel?” I heard him say.

“My head’s on fire.” My hair was wet. We were under a street light so everything looked yellow. My hand looked orange.

“That bicycle over there?”

“It’s mine.” The front tire was all mangled. Spokes stuck out like an up-turned umbrella. That’s great,I just changed the tube on that thing. There was a wet spot by the bike. I must have slipped.

“And the young man?” I heard someone say, an unknown voice, faraway. I couldn’t sense what direction the sound came from. “Oh my god.”

What the heck were they talking about? I mean, I couldn’t even see this person.

“And what happened, would you say?” The officer was pulling a notebook from his back pocket.

“It was so dark out, and the rain. I didn’t even see him there,” said this voice.

“So did this person hit you first?” the questioning continued.

“Well as I said, it was dark. He came out of nowhere,” said this voice. It wasn’t coming over the police radio.

“Ok. And you are alright? No bumps on the head?”

“No officer. Our airbag didn’t even deploy.”

“An EMT is on the way. I don’t know how we beat them here.” The officer was off to the side leaning into the brown boat.

A siren was off in the distance. It got really loud in a minute. I looked up and there was a huge light in my face. The ambulance wasn’t stopping. It must have been going at least fifty. Man this thing’s gonna kill me. I stood up. How can you not see me here? I went to run but my legs gave out. Did I break a bone? I had done that once before, jumped off a swing when I was twelve. My body went limp then. The paramedics said I was in shock. This time, I didn’t feel like I was in shock. The concrete felt hard. My hands slapped a puddle in the yellow line in the middle of the street. I rolled over. That worked in movies. The car would pass over. Or was that for trains? I covered my face. This is it, all she wrote.

The light reached my head. I yelled out. The officer didn’t turn around. The vehicle didn’t stop. It ran me over. Wait. It kept on driving pulling up to the car.

“Where is the victim?” said an eager medic.

“Over there,” directed the officer.

Another EMT pulled a stretcher out of the back of the ambulance. The metal legs snapped down and straightened out. Its wheels made a grinding noise. I was on my stomach watching this all happen.

“Hurry, this guy’s lost a lot of blood.”

I felt my head again.

“Check his pulse. Is he breathing?” asked the second EMT.

“Nothing. Move.” The first EMT began to administer CPR. My lungs felt full for a second.

“I don’t think so Jim, he’s too far gone,” said the second EMT.

The first one got off the body. I never noticed a body until now. As he got up, his foot kicked a shattered bicycle helmet. I felt my head again. It was still wet, but now a darker orange in the light.

Issues by heartmusicgroup

John Wawrzaszek is a born and raised Chicagoan. By day he works at Columbia College managing their recycling program and at night, attends classes in their Fiction Writing department. Along with publishing the Muse, the News, and the Noose, he is active in the zine community, notably as an organizer for the Chicago Zine Fest. He curates the reading series Two Cookie Minimum and is a contributing writer for Newcity and Gapers Block. Like a true Chicagoan, his beer of choice is Old Style. Visit him here.

Street art by Haculla.
Photo by Adam Lawrence.

Supreme Cuts is a Chicago-based duo making a mixture of haunting and sexy post-dub music.

1 comment:

  1. Compelling piece, great balance between what's shown and missing. Love the bio.