Where is that old man who gives the records from his mouth? Where has he disappeared to? Where is he when the channel blares, shining with those who might have been his offspring, grinning as it pulls back the curtains to show them dancing? Dancing…as if nothing has happened, as if it had all been some terrible foretelling that slipped from the cord of this current history and fell with a thud onto another plane. And no one is awakened by the noise.
In the apartments above, backs are turned upon the noise, glasses are raised despite it, ears are pressed up against plastic buttons hearing nothing; knowing nothing as the child walks through rows of traffic in the streets cussing with his arms outstretched, looking (some say) like the son of God at his crucifixion; swearing and tugging at his jeans right there in the middle of traffic. Still, the curtains fly in the window, uninterested, and spectators sit placidly in their air-conditioned automobiles.
But where is that man who sits on the tree stump with ragged bare feet, with eyes silvery and foreboding, and the waiting faces to gaze down into as he leans on his staff? What has become of him? Where is he when the shots ring out and the young girls squeal and hold their heads and run up the pavement in their summer sandals? Five or six others will sprint in the opposite direction, bellowing like half-crazed wildebeests as they join the cussing child on a rampage.
On the opposite side of the boulevard, a kind of war is occurring and the onlookers inch-inch their cars to the stoplight, unbothered; watching the crowd meet at the intersection, knowing nothing, feeling nothing as the pummeling begins and ground rumbles; doing nothing as the hand-held canon rings out. A resident steps back inside her door. The whipping red flames speed in the distance to swallow all within their reach. Somewhere, a woman cries for her child. Somewhere, a woman does not.