March 23, 2005


Rick lived a simple life until the day came when he was called upon. He had a strict schedule, waking up at 7:30 in the morning, showered, got dressed. He'd walk down to the subway station, take the same flight of stairs down to the platform. He liked to sit facing the back of the train, but at the front of the train, because that's the only place he knew he'd get a seat for his long ride downtown to work. Before cashing in his token, he would grab a newspaper to read on the ride.

Today was special though. There was a crowd forming on the platform, seemingly circled around something. Heads were bouncing up and down trying to see what had happened. There were gasps, some people were crying. There appeared to be someone in the middle of the circle, directing others. Rick, still eager to get a chance at a good seat on the subway, walked right past it without even noticing all the commotion. He stood at the platform in front of the GAP advertisement as always, and waited for the subway to arrive.

4 minutes passed. No train. Another 4 minutes. Still no train. The announcer came on the loud speakers: "Attention, due to the emergency situation, the local police have been called. The trains will not arrive until this matter is resolved."

Crap. Rick stood there mystified, and as he finally looked up from his paper, he noticed the crowd standing just a few feet away. Curious, he weaved his way through the onlookers to see a dirty man lying in a pool of blood, in the middle of the circle face down. Another man stooped over him, and appeared to be trying to turn the fallen man over. The man looked up and saw Rick, and asked him for help. But Rick turned away. He was wearing his favorite suit. And besides, he wasn't that strong and didn't know CPR. Finally someone else came over to help, and together they turned the man over.

There were loud gasps followed by screams amongst the crowd. Right away Rick could see what the problem was. The man had shot himself, twice, once in the stomach and once in the chest. He was still clutching a shotgun with his hands. Rick gave the man a once over. Judging by his shoes, he looked like someone living off the street. His pants were ragged, patches on his knees. Rick thought to himself, smugly, that this man is probably better off now. The jacket (now soaked in blood), was also old and rugged looking. It looked like it hadn't been washed ... ever.

Rick's gaze moved over to the poor man's face. It was all craggled up, all wrinkled and dirty. Dried up. His expression was that of a man in pain, and not just physically. The man clearly had not bathed in few months. It was hard to make out his face because it was so disfigured from scrapes, dirt, and wrinkles. But somehow, behind the pain, dirt and wrinkles, was a face of a man who appeared somewhat familiar to Rick.

As he stared into this man's face, a strange feeling crept over him. He wasn't just some random fellow, but someone he knew. All of a sudden, he cared. He bent over, pulled out a handkerchief from his pocket and frantically proceeded to clean off the man's face, hoping to gain more clues about who he was. As his identity was being revealed, Rick was taken aback and fell backwards on top of the man, as he realized who it was.

It was ... find out next time, in the exciting conclusion of "Rick", coming soon to a blog near you!

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