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NO ONE IS SAFE
by Susan Tepper

"I hear you bear an astonishing resemblance to the victim," that reporter had said over the phone.

The way he put it - it sounded so ridiculous. Like some corny line out of film noir. "I guess so," I finally answered him.

That reporter had pressed on. "What exactly do you look like?"

As I held the phone to my ear, my palm began sweating. I found myself wondering if he was writing things down? Or if he had one of those photographic memories that sucked information onto some pulpy disc in his brain?

I repeated back to him: "What do I look like? Oh, you know - medium-brown eyes, medium-brown hair, medium height, medium build. I guess I'm one of those medium types."

The reporter had wanted more. He cleared his throat into the phone. "What exactly went on that day in the park?" he said.

~~~

That inexplicably cool day, during the worst dog days of August. It seemed to materialize out of a dream. Crisp blue sky. High puffy clouds. For some lucky people, I guess, a day of high expectations. Even the dried-out August grass seemed freshened, shot with a new burst of life.

I had gone to the park that day because my own expectations were not high. Because I was lower than low: lower than the lowest beast who crawls along the ground. The park I had thought; it was pulling at me the way heroin must pull the addict. I had to have the park. A safe park, just blocks from my house. Actually a perfect park. Wide sweep of grass wedged between two good roads - quiet roads. A park shadowed by a low mountain, with two roads that made for easy access in and out and around its edges. And the mountain - which in any truly mountainous region would have been called a hill, or a rise - proudly held claim to the name Clear Mountain.

 

Copyright 2007 by Susan Tepper


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