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  • Scott Carter Cooper

Gun Shots

Five a.m. Gunshots to the north of me. You hear them and you fall into the rhythm. So you can count them when they’re done. Six or eight. Then the response. Six or eight. Five minutes later, sirens. You count so you have an answer in case anyone needs witness testimony.

Tomorrow there will be a summary of the events posted on a neighborhood crime website.


Or not. It’s not an extraordinary occurrence.


I’d like to know when life became so cheap. As a young kid, five or six, I believed the worst thing that could happen was dying. Murder was the worst thing in the world. I believed we all agreed on that. Intellectually, I understand that we do not. That understanding is like a shiny, spikey red blob that’s out there. I see it, but I don’t know what it is. It’s foreign, another language.


And then the moment passes, because there were only two half-hearted sirens and then just the bubbling heart beat of normal early morning traffic. So, probably nobody was seriously hurt. If there’s a body in the street, there are more sirens.


A man was shot just under my dining room window about a year ago. I slept through it, but the woman and her family who live in the condo under mine told me about it. They showed me the blood in the snow. They witnessed the whole thing, she said. A man walked up to another man and shot him in the head. She said she ushered her kids away from the window while her husband called the police. She was away from the window no more than a minute. When she came back to the window, the body was gone. She believed someone came and took the body away. No evidence.


A week later two police detectives came to my door and asked some questions. They said the believed there had been a shooting, but not a murder. In their story, the man took a bullet to the head and then got up and ran away. That’s what made sense to them. Case closed.


The woman who lives in the condo under mine also told me that she and her husband had won an Oscar. So, who has more veracity?

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