There's a man. He's shouting at me. I think he's shouting at me. From up ahead. Should I change my route? Cut down the next street? Cross the road?
It's so damn grey out.
I squint at him through the mist and convince myself he must be crazy. That he's throwing his hands above his head in madness. In sheer insanity. Pacing and turning in obsessive urgencies.
I turn my head to the park. The scattered trees. The swing set. The monument of someone on a horse. The cold morning dew perched on each blade of grass.
Then he's yelling again. Spit sprays from his mouth in the orange light of the street lamp. His beard is wild. Like tangled vines.
I'm a block away now. My breath has quickened. Maybe my pace. Why haven't I turned? I'm being pulled in. A whirlwind. A vortex.
His words are garbled. Confused. Rampant. They barge out before he can put order to them. Arrange them at all.
I step over the manhole cover in the center of the road, then onto the sidewalk he dominates. His back is to me and I try to time it so I can slip by without him ever knowing my presence, but he turns.
He turns so swift and suddenly half his beard trails over his shoulder.
Then there are screams. From him. From me. A panicked fumbling.
And I catch glimpses of my misfortune. I catch glimpses of my body being found hours later on the curb. Bludgeoned to unconsciousness. Maybe death. Robbed. Crippled. A mess.
But as I bolt down Cedar Drive I hear something. Something familiar. Something my brain recognizes.
I hear words. And they're saying: boy, slow down! Boy, slow down! You're crazy moving that fast this early!