by Eric J. Krause
I'll never forget it. It'll haunt me to my dying day. Possibly into the afterlife, whatever that entails.
There I was, minding my own business, walking to the corner convenience store for a bag of low-sodium soy chips and a diet flavored water (damn healthy living) when I noticed people congregating around, looking up. What the hell? Monkey see, monkey do, right? I turned my attention skyward.
Up on the top floor of a four story apartment building perched a man. Using my keen insight into human behavior, I knew he wasn't there to catch a few rays. But I didn't know if this was some sort of publicity stunt or if he might really jump.
No one on the ground said a word. Heck, I think most were holding their breath. I joined them, though I wished I hadn't. Not in holding my breath, but in the whole thing. Why hadn't I kept walking?
The guy on the roof never shouted demands or pleas or anything. No one on the ground yelled up any advice or words to talk him down. I was as guilty as anyone. Someone called 9-1-1; the approaching sirens in the distance spoke to that.
When a cop car turned onto the street about a half-mile down, the roof guy made his move, and it was a doozy. He stepped off the ledge and plummeted to the street. The crowd let out a collective gasp and leaned forward. Except me. I had no wish to see the aftermath, so I turned away.
Oh, if I'd only thought to plug my ears, I might be able to sleep at night without my dreams being haunted by that sound. I wouldn't cringe anytime anything made a bang or squishing noise. I used to think it such a funny, silly sound, but no longer.