Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Donahue Eats Brick


A young woman found him. She worked late at the Lazy Dog Tavern as a waitress and had taken this route before just because she didn’t usually meet strangers in the dark of one o’clock in the morning. The alley was lighted at the ends, of course, by the street lights and by the parking lot lights but the remaining stretch between the street and lot was dark. The city didn’t allow the dumpsters to be parked there just to reduce the number of hiding places for attackers or street bums. During the day the alley was moderately presentable and used by folks as a short cut.

Donahue had probably walked this alley day and night for more times than he could remember. He’d been in this office in the Jefferson Building for about 10 years and had never once been accosted in the alleyway.

There was always that first time.

Donahue’s view of the world, at the moment when the young woman came upon him, was a flat one, that stretched from his left eyeball, tilted 90-degrees from upright, out over the bricks and ruts of the alley. In a sepia tone view of the rolling landscape he noted for the first time the rise and fall of particular loose bricks and long groove of the previously-thought-of shallow rut. But, this turned-over world was upsetting too if only because he’d never quite so closely examined the alley’s deck.

The brick was cool, at least. He lay in a crumpled pile. He had one arm under him and one leg folded back about half-way. He could feel his knee sitting on a sharp corner of a brick and he could feel the slight trickle of blood from his temple and from his nose. And one foot felt cool as if he was missing a shoe. His breathing was slow and even. He’d been hammered, for sure, by pros, but purposely left in a reasonably good shape perhaps as if to indicate that he was lucky.

He was lucky the girl found him and even luckier she had the where-with-all to call 911.
Donahue’s brain took several long minutes to realize he was on his right side and the corner of the brick was poking him in the right temple and his right eye was half-open staring hard at another brick half-an-inch away. He could see the girl, standing off to one side, back lighted by the lights in the parking lot or were those street lights?
He was confused.

She didn’t get any closer than she had to. She could see he was alive and moving in pain, a body trying still to protect itself even though the attack was over. She had seen enough horror shows to know two things: never, ever back up in a dark alley or hallway; and never get within arm’s reach no matter how dead the guy looked.

He’d been ambushed. Caught unawares like some amateur, play-time P.I. Two of them. From behind without hardly a hint of the rush. One with a punch like a hammer. He’d hit Donahue hard enough, Donahue bounced off the wall. Reflexively, Donahue had thrown a wild right hook that missed and only opened him up to a punch to the ribs. The ambush was just about over that soon. A kick to a knee. A hard smack to his chin. A quick stomp on his hand and they were gone. But the lights had stayed on, for the most part, and the hand stomper had worn a very old pair of wingtips that even in the bad light he could tell really needed a re-dye. He had wingtips but they didn’t look as bad as that pair.


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