In A Chicago Alley
I suppose all of us get our comeuppance in the end, somehow.
Last Fall, I was in Chicago. I had been there for two days when I found myself walking down Clark Street on a particularly windy day. Derr, it’s a big city near the Great Lakes and in the path of a huge jetstream…of course it’s windy. It was about 2:50pm when I had worked up a good sweat in the 65F temperature that comforted all of us street-dwellers in the comforting sunlight. But then a shadow approached me from behind.
I didn’t think much of it at first. People walking near you is a normal thing in Chicago…in any big city, really. But the shadow of a man still made me feel his presence unlike any other person around me at the time. I would switch sides of the street, and he would too. A mile later, I double-backed onto a sidestreet and ended up in an alley. The shadowy man was already there, waiting for me. He had outsmarted me.
I didn’t know this person. He wore blue jeans and a green windbreaker, and had a white sweater on underneath the jacket. His eyes wore fear in them, and I jerked my earbuds out of my head, slowly putting them in a pocket in my hoodie. I was frozen just as he was. What was this? How did both of us really get here? I was 1900 miles away from home and didn’t have time to answer these questions. The man and I never spoke.
A quick dart of his eyes to his belt is all I needed to act. I didn’t care what he had in store for me. I charged the man and crashed into him and threw his body smack into a concrete wall about ten feet behind him in this alley. I was bigger than him by 30 pounds, so my using all of my body weight gave me the distinct advantage. He struggled at me. I grabbed his head with both of my hands and shoved it back into the concrete wall. I heard a terrible crunching sound the fourth time his skull met with this wall. I released his head from my grip, and the man fell to the ground. The cold Chicago alley ground. Blood leaked from the back of his head into his white sweater, which certainly didn’t retain its original color. I stood back, mouth agape, sweat and a little of his blood dripped off my bare hands.
I knelt down to try to wake the man up. No reaction from him. More of his blood dripped out of his head, it was quite the wound. I had done this man in. For whatever reason that fate or what you’d like to call it that Chicago day in October 2014, the man in the white sweater and I decided that we both could not exist on this earth at one time. I crept back and realized this more and more, as each lonely minute passed.
I had killed this man.
What was to happen now? I didn’t want to stick around to find out. What, and get arrested? Nuts to that. Especially not in a city that I didn’t really know that well. I got back to the place where I was staying, packed up quietly and quickly, and drove out of the city about two hours from the time I had ended the man’s life. I had entered Illinois a good citizen, but I had left the state as a killer. A murderer, even.
To this day, I still don’t know what you’d call this event. Comeuppance? Homicide? Justice by Self-Defense? Murder? And now I leave this confession here, for better people than me to decide.
(April Fools, you gullible people, you. None of this actually happened. MUAH.)
NOTE: Brainface returns on April 6th with a special month-long treat!