At 7am on a cool, fall November day in 1997, I’m waiting for my #5 bus at the Bridgeport bus terminal to take me to the methadone clinic, which I’ve done for the past 25 years. About 6 feet away from me a guy pulls out a pistol and shoots a guy between the eyes. It was a strange, surreal sight.
The bus terminal is a gathering place for drunks, junkies and con artists. There is the usual tomfoolery of kids running about among the noise of crying babies whose mothers pay no attention to as they gossip among themselves. A wino slobbers, mumbling profanities as he slides off a bench to the floor, his brown-bagged pint of Ripple crashing, spilling. Three Card Monte con men free the ignorant of their dollars as dope fiends nod in peaceful bliss. Bums and bag women sift through trashcans for refundable cans and bottles. Young high school age girls blush as their boyfriends/lovers whisper in their ears. Hurriedly people run about changing one bus for another. A typical morning.
Three guys rush through the front entrance. I wouldn’t have noticed them had they not brushed up against me. Curious as to why they rushed in---bus chasers normally run out, not in---I followed them with my eyes. They seemed like they had a mission, a plan. They walked up to a guy who was using the payphone.
The leader of the three pulls a gun from his jacket pocket, cocks the trigger while aiming at the payphone guys head no more than a foot away.
“Hey Mike!” the pistol toter yells out.
Mike turns around, the phone receiver still pressed to his ear. The shooter pulls the trigger.
The slug bashes Mike between the eyes with such force the telephone receiver wire snaps as he spins to the floor. All hell breaks loose as screams and people collide as they run for the exit. The shooter pockets his pistol and gestures with his chin pointing towards the exit urging his cohorts to leave. I made it a point not to look at their faces; this way if the police ask me if I saw the shooter, I can honestly say no. Rules of the ghetto.
The three left. I walked over to the ‘body’. He was on his back, blood gushed from the quarter inch hole between his eyes down the side of his face. I wondered if he was dead. As I leaned over him, his eyes suddenly opened.
“Holy fuckin’ shit!” I whispered to myself. “He’s alive!” I yelled out.
He gets up off the floor, walks over to a bench and sits down.
“What happened?” he asked, as if nothing did.
Astonished, I said nothing while gawking at a man who should have been dead as blood trickled off his nose to his jacket. Just then an army of cops rush in, guns drawn, they scope out the terminal. It’s clear other than the victim and me. They holster their weapons, walk towards us.
“An EMS is on the way,” one cop announced. “Did either of you see the shooter?”
We both answered no.
Finally, the EMS arrives. They examine the victim.
“Man, you are one lucky guy. It looks like a small caliber bullet grazed the front of your skull then slid around to the side of your head. You can see the bullets shape just under the skin above your ear. What a stroke of luck.”
They lay him onto a gurney; roll him out to the ambulance.
Just another day in the ghetto.
Bio: Dan Tracy lives in Bridgeport, Connecticut. His literary scribbling can be found on Laurahird.com, 3ammagazine.com, Mindcaviar.com, Litupmagazine.wordpress.com, Wordriot.org and Thuglit.com Dan and reality never got along well---They will never be friends.