A bad day to die

The blade moves from side to side in cadence with my stride, but the intense noise emanating from the street makes me forget about the object that is puncturing my left lung. As hard as I try I can’t remember how it got there. Maybe someone, with no ill intent, buried it there after not finding a better place to put it. Like someone who pulls chewing gum out of his mouth and after looking around, ends up sticking it under the table.

Without a doubt it is debilitating to be walking out on the street while a knife’s blade is buried in one’s back. I’m no expert in medicine or physiology but bleeding little by little, drop by drop, surely must have an ill effect on anyone’s body.

Turning at the corner an old lady walks by me in opposite direction. I have this feeling that she’s staring at me. A few feet ahead I turn around and she’s standing there, looking at me. She unsuccessfully pretends to look into a store window. Then she turns around and goes on her way. Feeling a little embarrassed I begin walking faster.

Feeling weaker I can tell that I’ll be dropping to the floor at any moment. It’s not a good day to end up lying on the floor. If I’d known that I’d end up stretched out on the pavement, wounded, or even dead, I would have paid more attention to my garments. I can just imagine it. After I end up on the pavement, motionless, a paramedic arrives and gets to work. He sees the knife buried in my back, but he still needs to inspect the rest of my body. Scissors in hand he starts cutting my clothes off. I’m lying there, half-naked, by then surrounded by a small crowd, with a hole in my right sock, and underpants that at some point were red, but with time have turned pink. What a sight.

I remember the advice my grandmother gave me not too long ago. “We are living through a period of disorder and insecurity. When you go out on the street be sure to wear decent underwear, because you never know what can happen. You can get hit by a car. Or you can get caught in the middle of a shootout. One has to look good even at the time of death.”

Now I understand that valuable piece of advice, which is why I quicken my pace. But then again, even if I run, it will take me about three quarters of an hour to get home. I doubt that my body will last that long. Little by little my body becomes empty and a strong dizziness envelopes me. I feel dazed. I don’t hear very well at times.

A man stops in front of me and says something, clenched fist making a motion over his chest, like he’s stabbing himself. In my stupor I can’t tell if he’s mocking me, or if he’s trying to point out the knife, if by chance I have not noticed.

“This guy’s screwed…”, I hear someone say.

A lot of things go through my mind.

“What underwear did I put on this morning?” That’s what worries me.

I can’t really tell at what point I fall down. I only know I’m lying on the floor. I feel someone brusquely frisking my body and then tearing my clothes off.

And then I remember.

“No! Not the red ones!” I repeat over and over again as darkness and total silence envelope me.

Today is a bad day to die.

Arturo Rubio