Monday, July 27, 2009

The glimpse of death is what unites us together

It was around 1am as I was starting to settle down for the night. My father, mother, brother, and Samone the cat were already sleeping, but not me. Although I could have easily fallen asleep I had the sense that some sort of event was about to begin, and so one did.

The silent night had been interrupted by dozens of sirens that began to wake up everyone in the neighborhood, people and dogs alike. It was a kind of nostalgic feeling as the sirens got louder until finally the ambulances and fire trucks began to pour up the street. At least 8 fire trucks and 3 ambulances in total from what I counted.

Not more than 30 seconds after the sirens started did the people and creatures of the night start to move. I got outside just in time to witness the dozen or so of vehicles that flew up the tiny street within our small neighborhood, their destination was the nursing home at the top of our street.

Shortly after the event begun my sister, brother, one of our neighbors, and I decided to work our way up as close to the scene as we could. I started to notice the excitement an event like this causes, as 41-year-old men without shirts on and the old lady equivalent in robs with curlers in their hair started to wander to the top of the street as well.

By the time we reached the top of the street a crowd started to form at the stop sign. We barely knew each other, yet we all seemed to be drawn together hoping to see the mangled remains of some poor Hippie who rolled his Toyota Prius over the edge of the hill, or at least that's what most of us dreamed of.

5 minutes after the sirens began there was a full event happening in our quiet little neighborhood. At the stop sign there were at least 60 people gathered together!

Another 10 minutes flew by as the rumors and vendors started to appear. A few people were selling hot chocolate for 2 dollars a piece, and that was just for the powder. A full steaming cup would cost you a staggering $6.50! However, that didn’t seem to bother us much as it was a tradition to drink a steaming cup of hot chocolate while witnessing the corpse of a dead guy named Jim be zipped up in a body bag.

One thing, however, was new this time around. A few lads began to sell black-market watches that lined the inside of their long dark trench coats. Even the person selling hot-dogs downtown showed up.

Although the atmosphere of this type of event was lingering amongst us, something was missing. After 25 minutes of meeting at the top of the street, we had yet to hear the frantic yells, which we had grown so use to hearing, of a paramedic vigorously trying to save the life of the victim of fate as he gasped his last breathes.

Our stomachs were full with hot-dogs and hot chocolate, as well as our wrists wrapped with a brand-new Folex, we started to become anxious. It was unimaginable that after 30 minutes, along with nearly a dozen emergency vehicles arriving at the scene, we had yet to witness barely even a glimpse of death.

Finally, a volunteer fire fighter informed us that it was a false alarm, gas leak. A few moments of silence passed as a mob of angry residents formed. An explosion of What?!’s and I-Can't-Believe-It!’s erupted, I even remember one person shouting "You mean to tell me that we all got out of bed for a false alarm?!".

It had been over 3 months since the last incident of death occurred, and we were on the edge of insanity. Some people hadn't slept for 6 days, it was that bad!

Amongst the riot was a gunshot that silenced the neighborhood as it was prior to the sirens of the emergency vehicles. We turned around to witness the smoke from a barrel of a 12-Gauge shotgun evaporating through the cold air as one of our fellow neighbors fell to the ground with a massive hole in his chest.

It was like a scene from an M. Night Shamalan movie as the irony overwhelmed us. ‘Gathering to witness death as you turn out to be the one dead’ was a twist sure to appear in one of his upcoming films.

It felt like an hour in slow motion until cheers and excitement followed, finally were we rewarded for our patience with the sight of pain and agony, that we so hoped to see.

We spent another hour there that night, I'll never forget it. We barely knew each other, yet we united like a family. I know it isn’t an uncommon sight to see, however it is always a treat for those in need of love.