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(Photo: Russel Sorgi)

Evelyn Edison took a dive from an 8th-story hotel bathroom on Wednesday afternoon. It was a clear and crisp winter day. A crowd didn’t have time to gather, but those who were there all predicted a flat finale, some lonely farewell-thing arrived at too soon.

Folks gossiped and rubbernecked.

“She just flung herself…so high up there, that one. The way she looked, like a feather; came down not like it though, but just as fast they say, I guess. Shoot. I barely had time to collect a thought before she went, well, splat.”

“Plans we make. Things we never get to.”

“It just gets dark so early, and I’m barely awake before the sun starts sinking.”

“Don’t worry. It’ll be summer soon enough, and the sun will still be out hovering until almost nine.”

“Guess she didn’t want to take the stairs.”

“Poor, poor girl. She never really had a chance, now did she?”

“Does anyone?”

The sidewalk held her former form well as the police crowded around, as the ambulance pulled up, as the sycamores lost a few leaves, as the harebrained sun settled behind some fleecy clouds. Movement was at a minimum. A dog sniffed around, gauging causes and responses, and then pissed on some purple hydrangeas. The streetlights were itching to get to work.

The cops surrounded the lifeless body. Their radios echoed static and beeped somewhere far beyond silence.

“Hotel desk clerk says her color didn’t look good.”

“We could’ve stalled her, at least.”

“We couldn’t’ve done shit. She was a goner from the start. Don’t mind it.”

“Whatever she had in mind.”

“Or didn’t.”

“We’re all addicts of something.”

“Yup.”

Evelyn Edison bade her sister so-long, licked her chops in a burgundy ’71 Cutlass Convertible, and cut quite a figure down Highway 99. A lurker for most of her adult years, she collected baby toys and rubber doormats. Hands like Uma Thurman and a pair of legs that’d stop a train. The way she kissed was the way she lost her mind, derailed and stuffed with sardine dreams; kissed it all goodbye that day too, as her windshield wipers scraped and screamed across the glass. Nobody hears you eat when you dine alone. “An Oldsmobile for your thoughts,” was the way she approached the junkman that day, never recognizing one death for another. “Patch it up, dear,” was all she thought as the vehicle expired with its tags still good for another year. “We’ll have road enough and time for it just up ahead. Get yourself to a hotel, right quick, lady. Take the emergency exit while you still can.”

People gawked and loafed. Soon it was time for the streetlights to make their first appearance.

“Nobody knows all the trouble that grows wild up in that head of yours, sometimes.”

“Guess we’re all alone with it, at last.”

“To lie to yourself one last time, and then it’s over, and you’re finally done with the truth.”

The paramedics put the lifeless corpse on a stretcher and carried it like a cafeteria tray to their ambulance.

“The moon was giant, parchment yellow last night. Did you see it?”

“Like something sliced out of the sky with bright.”

“More deaths today than yesterday?”

“Never can tell, really. Seen one, never seen ’em all.”

“Careful. Don’t let the thing sag and conk against the fender there.”

“Uh huh.”

“Spaghetti and meatballs later?”

“Sounds about right.”

The doors of the ambulance closed with a whoosh and a satisfying click. All the amblers wandered off in the paling tones of evening wearing on.

“It sure gets darker here earlier and earlier all the time.”

“Indeed. It does. It most certainly does.”

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