By the time I left that awful place,
he was just a stain on the pavement.
I couldn't help but think of how gruesome death really is
and the ridiculous way Hollywood passes it off.
Judo chop to the neck ... dead guy
Kick to the face ... dead guy
Pistol shot to the stomach ... dead guy
Hit by a car ... another dead guy ...
no screaming or begging for help,
no jerking or spraying gobs of blood on people nearby,
no gawkers, frozen in place, staring at the horror ...
as if it really were a movie,
and certainly no mothers who saw the whole thing,
screaming her son's name over and over and over ...
even now I can hear it ...
"Ronnie!!" ... "Ronniee!!" ... "Ronnieeeee!!!!"
Her hands reaching and clenching the air,
as if she could grasp his life as it left him,
to save it ... maybe in a locket,
or in a drawer where precious things are kept.
Kneeling beside him was eerily similar to watching an animal die.
... the wide open, staring eyes ... never blinking,
the pulsing blood from deep wounds, matching the beat
of a heart fighting to stay alive,
a metallic smell and taste in the air ... death smells like metal ...
the twitching muscles, nerves that won't accept
that they are no longer needed,
a wet, rumbling final exhale ... blood and spit and air,
and life ... gone ... like it was only a breeze to begin with.
And it blew through his mother's hair when it left this world.
Sometimes I wonder if she remembers me being there,
or if Ronnie knew I tried to help him,
but I doubt it.
His name was Ronnie.
They called him Can-Man.