“All-righty then, Dave, you’ve got about twenty- one minutes to get your butt downtown!” yells the stocky newspaper editor as he examines numerous articles spread out on his desk.
“Okay, but I’ve only been with this paper for a little over two weeks. Do you really think I’m ready to tackle this thing?” Dave questions as he absently strokes his long brown hair while staring down from 6 feet up at his obviously over worked boss, Stan.
“Yes, yes, you’re a great writer and I’ve told you several times how much I liked your stuff. Just get down there now and tell me what kinds of feelings you get from the crowd like the atmosphere, the looks on the kid’s faces, the women’s faces and hell the dogs drooling faces which will be pretty much similar to the kids faces. I just need you down there with a notebook to write down as much info you can about this guy’s car ride to the airport. It’s been said that his wife doesn’t like the south/west too much so tell me about her expressions. Now, go!” my boss stormed, “I’ve got a lot to do and I don’t need your questioning voice in the background.
“ I love you too, Stan,” Dave says with a grin as he leaves the office making his way past his co-worker’s desks to the elevator at the far end of the room.
Dave’s mind is filled with worry of exams later that day in his classes. This assignment was a nice delicious icing of his collapsing stacked cake. His grades are wavering like a fishing boat in a thunderstorm about to turn over on its head. He kept thinking of this as he made his way out of the aging newspaper building with a front entry begging for a paint job. He thought getting a job at the college paper would strengthen his writing skills that were already the best in his class. Around his 25th birthday, about one year away, he hoped to move out of this cowboy town and move up north/west to maybe California. This was in hopes of creating the next bestseller that would go down in history as a classic.
The sun was blazing, as the sky was clear with not a sign of rain in sight. Dave staggered on cursing himself out for wearing a heavy coat on such a hot day. The heat reminded him of the intense heat he had felt at track meets he’d ran no more than 2 years prior, but had to drop out after looking at the balance free time to school work and having to make a choice. Relief, like a wave, overcomes Dave, as he finally finds his parked car that had seemed to be playing a nice game of hide and seek with him.
“Alrighty, I got about ten minutes until his highness arrives.” Dave raises his head from his ticking watch and continues to get into his pre-owned Chevrolet Impala SS.
Smoke surges out of the car as it speeds forward. Dave’s head shifts from side to side looking at the many roadblocks that lined the streets like there was a sale on them. Herds of people were moving towards the same destination Dave was guessing as him self. Dave’s hand sneaked from the attention of the steering wheel to the glove box only a foot or so to his right. Snapped it open and pocked inside feeling around for a pen and his notebook that he was sure was stuffed in there from the night before.
Like finding a needle in a haystack Dave’s eyes widen as he discovers a perfect parking spot at such a busy time. The car creeps into the space and the engine settles down to a muffled purr… then silence. With a pen in hand and an aged notebook in the other Dave exits his car into the suffocating blanket of heat covering the day. Dave shields his sparkling light blue eyes from the blinding sun and works his way through the throngs of people crowding on the sidewalk.
”What the hell is this?” Dave snaps, “I bet that half these people didn’t even vote for the guy!” Dave heckles on in a semi loud voice, as he is growing more annoyed. Having hated things like these events that everyone goes to with their little American flags and the “Star-Spangled Banner” on their tongues. Then they just stand wide-eyed and mouths dropped. Dave always made fun of these kinds of people under his breath. What should he expect though, he reminded himself, he did live in Dallas, Texas and everyone one was patriotic here including his own family.
“Excuse me, excuse me! Thank you, very much!” Dave repeated this line on playback, as he continued pushing forward through the masses. His notebook taking in more and more crushing blows. Dave was personally a pretty muscular guy for his size, but that didn’t stop grandmas from stepping on his toes and little kids elbowing him in the stomach. Right before he was about to murder someone got out of the opening onto the grass.
“Thank god!” exclaimed Dave in such a tone that you would of thought he just lost his kids and then just found them. Now that the rat race was over he had the fun job of finding a good spot to glance on the road and get his report. The people lining the road in front did not bring a warm feeling to his heart. Dave trotted forward staring up in amazement at the top stories of buildings surrounding him. Their windows glistened in the bright sun, letting his mind space out at how beautiful it looked. These images reminded him of the early light bouncing off the creek in the dewy morning when his dad and him would go camping. ”WAP!” lost in thought, Dave is knocked off balance by the shoulder of a man forcing his way forward.
“Yea, thanks buddy for the shoulder!” Dave yells, as he collects himself and his fallen notebook. The man does not notice or care and goes on with an edgy nature that was radiated off him like an aura. Dave was feeling spooked out just by how nervous this guy’s motions seemed. Questions filled Dave head such as why was this man wearing a black trench coat on such a hot day, as well as dark dress hat shading his face? Dave’s suspicious thoughts shifted immediately as the crowed roared in front of him marking the approaching event. He began across the rest of this grassy knoll toward the subject of his article.
“Please move back everyone, please!” Police commanded as they kept the crowds at bay, further pushing the blockades back. Behind them their fellow policemen walked down the street or ride by on multiple motorcycles. Blue and red lights swirl around and blend with the yellow of the sun.
Dave steps to the crowd and shoves his face through to the open street, turning his head to the left to view the on coming cars. A slight grin appears on Dave’s face as he sees a black Lincoln convertible rolling down at a very slow speed. Inside the car the occupant’s face smiled away to pose for every picture while his hand was hand waving away like a prom queen whose had just got her crown. The Governor of Texas was almost the same, but his hand was not waving away. With enough witty thoughts and easy observations Dave steps back out of the crowd to scribble down these things.
Dave suddenly had a violent shift of his head to his left that he could not explain like a ice cold hand had physically forced it for him. All his view was out of focus, but the man in the black coat was as clear as spring water. Dave heart stopped beating and was replaced with fear his mind and body guessed was preparing for something. The aged hand of maybe early forties of the man in black reached into his coat of polyester. The hand, empty as it entered, returned from its journey with a 44. Magnum. No matter how hard Dave tried to shout, speak, or even for coherent sentences, but the hand of fear shocked his words. Eyes shifted to the unknowing crow, but they were barely moving like they had been slowed down to a snails pace. A bird above flying back stuck in midair trying to finish a flap of his wing. Dave also in slow motion tried to move his feet that were practically nailed to the ground. Mind flared in pain on thinking about why he can’t get to this guy.
The man in the black coat was not slowed down as he raised his gun into the clear blue air and squinted his eyes as if lining up a shot. The man figure twitched for just a second and that’s all the gun need to go off in a time altering “bang!”
In Dave’s head the thought was “ Oh, God he’s going to shoot the president!” and then it shifted to “ He just shot the frickin president!” At that moment time caught up to it’s self and the shock of the moment hit the people. Screams roared and shock filled everyone’s eyes. Dave, distracted by the sudden frantic crowd, turned away and then back to the shadow man, but he was gone with only a question mark remaining. Dave ran to where the man had been standing and turned around looking for the man no one noticed, but himself. So Dave just stood there in shock for as long as it would take for his mind to comprehend what just happened.