The Wayside

The Wayside

By Robert C Price


I feel the wet, stickiness of the blood. A crimson stain mingles with the blue dye of my favorite Van Heusen. I see it on my hands after I grab my stomach and slide down the concrete wall. It didn’t matter that I may die today. I made peace a long time ago. I just didn’t want to die in a back alley. Another casualty in the big city. A statistic. I heard on the news the other day that there’s already four hundred murders. This is only June. By the end of the year, we’ll be well on our way to breaking a record. What an honor?

I taste the familiar copper flavor on my tongue. I grow colder as I lay in the alley watching life continue on its daily routine. The burgundy pool expands beneath me as my strength wanes like the perpetual brown-outs that plague us during the summer months.

No one notices me or hear my desperate cries. I am one of many who fall by the wayside of this behemoth. The city of unrequited souls. All seeing no further than what’s in front of them. Never tearing themselves away to survey their surroundings.

Not me. I keep myself alert. That’s how I landed here.

She stood there in her white dress looking angelic, serene, beckoning from the steam of the surrounding building. I entered the alley intoxicated by her presumed innocence. Impelled by ignorance on my part for not realizing an ambush when presented. It was too late when I glanced at the glint of metal and the fiery discharge. She took the platinum watch my wife gave me on our anniversary and my wallet. If she needed money I would’ve given it to her. I’m not as heartless as the rest.

I grab hold of the dumpster next to me and pull my body up by its bulky hinges. I try to stand on shaky legs, clothes drenched in blood. I hobble to the alley entrance determined to be seen. To be heard. There’s stench all around me. I’ve become part of the landscape; a walking monument of totality

I look to the sky after reaching the alley entrance and feel the sun sear my eyes with its rays. I slump on the wall gazing unnoticed. Still unrecognized.  Still by the wayside.





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