When I was seven, I saw a man get shot in the back of his head. He had no warning. Just a loud bang, and he was hit. He crumpled to the ground in slow motion, his head slumped forward. It almost looked like he was diving, head first into the cold, heartless earth. I just stood there. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t even breathe. To this day I don’t know where the bullet came from, nor the identity of its victim. But I know that I was scared. Petrified even. It was like watching an apple fall from a tree, only there was blood — lots of blood.
I don’t know if he died immediately or if he lay on the ground suffering, soaking in his own blood until his clock ran out and death took him. He never made a noise as he dropped. In fact, there was complete silence all around. All I could do was stand there and watch the man die.
Sometimes I wish I had done something to help him, but I was only seven. All I could have done was call the police, but it would have been no use, he was dead — very dead.
Time past. Five minutes, twenty minutes, I don’t know. But I remember standing in one spot, wondering if the man had a dog who needed to be walked or fed, when I felt a hand touch my shoulder. I turned and looked into the face of an old man, wearing white overalls and a straw hat. He looked like God. I grabbed his waist and started to cry.
Then more people showed up, then the police. I know they asked me questions but I don’t remember what was said. As a police man walked me to his car, I watched the dead man as they put him in what looked to be a big garbage bag with bright yellow words on it – CITY MORGUE. His eyes were open and he was staring at me. I whispered that I was sorry, but he didn’t hear me. He didn’t hear anything.
That’s where my memory ends. As I get older it seems like a dream. But I know it was real. I can still hear the gun being fired and see the pool of blood forming on the ground. Sometimes I wonder if the man’s dog ever got fed, and what happened to my god in the white overalls and straw hat.