A Night In Denver:


 

He returned my boots to me around 2:00p. I let an hour pass before I made any attempt to put them back on again. When I finally did it was with as careless a manner as I could command, asking an irrelevant question about dinner as I put them on, hoping to keep his attention directed away from what I was doing.

He answered my question and I let another hour pass and then started making motions to leave.

He walked to the door, ahead of me, and opened it. My heart was beating in my ears. A drunken feeling came over me. (Steady now. Careful. Don't be too anxious.)

"You'll be back at six, right?"

"Yep. Maybe a bit earlier."

He put his hand out. With ice-water for knees and a hypocritical smile on my face I shook his hand. I turned and faced the hallway. Long, long hallway, with linoleum floor laid out in black white checkerboard squares, and he stood in his door watching me. I could feel his eyes. (Careful, Doc. Not a single mis-step here. Watch it. Not too fast...)

 

At the entrance I opened the glass double-door and stepped outside. Birds. I remember birds. They were warbling, somewhere, and I heard their light songs. I remember the yellow light of the sun in the late afternoon. I remember air, very cool, very brisk, and a breeze. The rain of the previous night had left the air sharp and clear.

God, god, god, god god god god.

Now, at last, 4:30 in the afternoon, now I could let myself feel the panic I had stifled throughout the night, the morning and that agonizing day. I walked on the side of the street, unshaven haggard, my face pasty-white. I giggled and cried at the same time. Tears ran down my face but I was shaking with hysterical giggling. Pedestrians avoided me. I was a street person, talking insanely to himself. I didn't care. I found a bench in a park, sat down. It took me forty-five minutes to pull myself together.

I called the police from a pay-phone. Naively, I wanted to alert them to the fact that they had a whackoid here in Denver.

"Your address?"

"Uh, it's in California. I'm just passing through."

"You want to swear out a complaint against this guy?"

"What would that involve?"

"You make a complaint, we serve a summons, or a warrant, if there is cause. We set a date with the judge, you go in and tell your side, and this guy tells his side."

"How long would that take?"

"Month. Two months, maybe a year."

That was impossible, nor was I sure I wanted to face this sickoid in court, or anywhere else. I'd had enough."

"I just wanted to tip you off that this crazy guy is here, and he may wind up killing somebody someday."

"All right, you did it. Thanks. Anything else?"

"No. I guess that's about it."

"O.K., thanks. A bit of advice. Get outta town. You don't want to see this guy again, get outta town."

"Uh, thanks."

I took the advice. A quick run to the bus station to retrieve my sleeping bag, and twenty minutes later, I was on the freeway again, hitching a ride out to Boulder. Back on the road again.

 

 


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A Night In Denver ęGreg Bryant 1998 All Rights Reserved.  Any reproduction of this material is prohibited.  Unless authorization is given via Knighmayor Productions.