on December 31, 2011, a little past two in the afternoon, on the corner of Bixel Avenue and Wilshire Boulevard as I waited in my car for the light to change from red to green, a man lay dead, his arms out like that and his legs twisted like an out-of-work mannequin. I couldn't see his face, just the back of his head and black hair. A small crowd had formed around him, not too close. The dead man wore a red plaid shirt, black pants and black, raggedy sneakers -- not the dress of someone working in a highrise, at a desk, or working at all.
I heard sirens coming from the west as I waited in my car at the light that knew not to change.
The sirens got closer and a black woman in braids and a postal worker's uniform stepped away from the huddle surrounding the dead man. She held out her arm, hailing the ambulance.
The red rig turned left and stopped at the curb.
Like Lazarus, the dead man came back to life. He was a white man -- I had not known that until he lifted and then, slightly turned his head. That side of his face, that side that had lain on the asphalt, resembled hamburger meat and the blood was almost too bloody to be believable in a city of Make Believe.
The EMT climbed out of the rig, in no hurry, la-la-la-la-la. His partner had already pulled out a slick red back-board from the cabin. Red rig, red board, red light, blood. So much red. Both paramedics looked too young to rescue anyone and that back-board resembled a sled named Rosebud.
The light turned green.
With great reluctance, I crossed Wilshire Boulevard.
I found my phone and called David.
He didn't answer.
I broke the cell-phone law and phone to ear, left him a rambling message about the dead-not-dead man just laying there, in the middle of the afternoon, can you believe it, call me back.
I ended the call and drove into the sun, onto the 110 Freeway, wondering...