More Blood

The Rangers and the Bruins played hockey this afternoon. I watched the game at my brother’s apartment, on his giant TV. He and his wife have a very cute apartment and such a comfortable sofa, and it’s a great place to sprawl and relax. I’m not a sports fan, but it was rainy and chilly out and I felt like spending some time over there. But, last night, their neighbor was murdered. The man who lived next door to them at their garden apartment complex, the man who shared the second floor terrace with them. There’s a divider on the terrace, a wooden fence-like partition, so you can’t see what’s on your neighbor’s side. You can hear if there are people behind it, talking or whatever. I guess you could talk to your neighbor even if you couldn’t see them. You could say, “Hey, anyone out over there?” and see if they answered. Then, you could ask, “How’s it going?”

My brother called me this morning to tell me about the murder. A stabbing. The victim stumbled down from the second floor, collapsing at the bottom of the concrete steps outside the front door. My brother hadn’t been home at the time. A neighbor had filled him. I asked if he knew the guy. “No, not really. Just to say hello when I saw him. He was only living here a couple of months.”

My brother told me that the street in front of his complex was blocked by police cars, and the walkway and entrance to his place was taped off. It was a crime scene. The police and detectives weren’t finished investigating. He said I could still come over, but I’d have to park a block or so away and call him, then he would walk up to meet me with one of the police officers. So, I did, and they walked me down the block. We had to duck under the fat yellow crime scene tape that was criss-crossing back and forth from trees and fences and stairway railings.

There were rubber gloves and bloody gauze and towels and syringes scattered on the grass in front of my brother’s building. Little cones with numbers on them were here and there. The white picket fence was smeared with an arc of rusty red. Blood, already dry and old. I wondered why it hadn’t washed away in the drizzly rain. I wondered who would clean up the lawn, gather the discarded medical supplies. I imagined the ambulance at the curb, the paramedics desperately trying to stop the bleeding, put this guy back together, keep him alive so they could get him to the hospital. They just tossed things over their heads, grabbing for the next needed supply, tearing it open, throwing the plastic off to the side.

The door next to my brother’s door was open. I looked inside as we moved past. I saw more blood. Drops, like polka-dots. Round circles of maroon, in different sizes, on the linoleum floor. Walking up the steps behind my brother, I asked if they knew who the killer was. “They have three suspects in custody. But I don’t know anything else,” he said.

I watched some of the game, but most of the time I looked out the window, watching the detectives, the police officers. They went in and out of the apartment next door. They spent some time searching the victim’s truck, parked out front. At one point, two of them, a man and a woman, were out on the terrace. I went out there and stood on my brother’s side, barefoot, listening. But they spoke quietly. I couldn’t hear what they were saying to each other. My feet were wet and cold now. The detectives went back into the apartment. I leaned over the railing and tried to look around the partition. But it was raining harder by then, so I pulled back, and went inside.

The Rangers lost. By the time the game was over, the investigation was over and the tape was gone. The truck was being towed away. I said goodbye to my brother and his wife and walked up the block to my car alone.

Maybe by tomorrow we’ll know more. An hour ago, on the local news station the reporter said there was no information regarding motive thus far. I want to know why. Why did this happen? I wonder if there was a good reason, an answer that will have it make sense. My brother thinks it was maybe a robbery, or a drug deal gone wrong. As we stood at the window just before I had left, and watched the truck get towed away, my brother made the sign of the cross and said “Bye, Hank.” And then he turned to me and said, “I don’t think he was that bad of a guy,” which made it seem so very sad, because even if Hank really was “that bad of a guy” would it make his being stabbed to death okay?


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