The Finishing Place
by Anthony Lindsay
He stood in the night, on the buildings edge. It was a star filled clear night. He paced the edge slowly. His decision was made before he climbed the five flights of stairs. He paced simply to pace. The street below was busy, but no one looked up. He knew he would go unnoticed until his body splattered on the pavement below. He inhaled the crisp night air deeply as he crouched for his leap.
"Hey!", came from the shadows. "Hey there!"
He tried to ignore the call.
"Hey boy! I'm talking to ya! What is ya? Another one of dem crackheads 'bout to kill yaself ? Damn, two of y'all jumped last week. Shit! I wish y'all would find another place fo' dat shit. Why all y'all want to die anyway? I mean as much as y'all seem to enjoy dat shit, seems like y'all would want to stay alive and do some mo'. What, is death part of da high?"
He slowly turned from the street and looked into the darkness. He saw nothing. His skinny body shifted on the ledge and leaned forward. "Where are you? Show yourself."
"Why? Ya don't need to see me. Lord know's I didn't need to see yo ass. Go on and finish what ya started, crackhead."
"Hey, fuck you man!"
"It's too late, I'm already fucked."
He jumped from the ledge to the roof top. "Where the fuck are you?"
"I'm nowhere and everywhere crackhead."
"Quit calling me that!"
"Why? Dat's what ya is, ain't it ?"
Nothing was said for several thoughtful seconds. "I was more."
"But cha ain't naw."
"No, I ain't now." He leaned against the brick ledge. He looked to the clear night sky, instead of the shadows of the roof. "I ain't now." He said softly.
"What? What cha say crackhead?"
"I said your right. I am a crackhead. I'm just another crackhead trying to end it."
"Tryin' to end it huh ? So I was right, killin' yaself is part of da high."
"Yeah, I guess so."
"Damn! Dat must be some good shit."
"Dat crack, it must be good."
"What do you want? Why are you here?"
"I got business up here same as you. And what I want, is fo' ya not to jump."
"Why? You don't know me. You couldn't possible care if I live or die. What does my jumping have to do with you?"
"If ya jump folks will come around here, dey will keep dis place busy for a day or so. I don't care if you jump, just don't do it here."
"You don't care? Don't you have concern for human life ?"
"Ya ain't human! Yous a crackhead. Y'all walk around da streets like zombies. Takin' what ever ya can. A bunch of fuckin' rats. Naw, I don't give a fuck about cha, cause ya don't give a fuck about yaself. Shit the truth be known, I wish all y'all would die. None of ya deserve da life the good lord gave ya. I just wish you bastards would quit jumpin' from here.
"Who the fuck are you? A judge from the shadows? Who are you to wish death on someone else? Your nothing but an old tired voice from the shadows. A wino type voice. That's what you are, isn't it. A wino. Probably a disgusting one. One so nasty and filthy your afraid to show yourself. You slither in the pissy shadows of darkness. Your just as worthless and fucked up as I am. Ain't that right? Ain't that right wino?"
The roof top was silent.
"Why so quit piss mongrel? Lavish Lord of Shitness. Have you nothing to say? No, I think not. Perhaps you care to join me on the ledge? After all you said it your self, your fucked. Come on wino, lets jump together! The crackhead and the wino. I'm sure there is a social statement in there somewhere. It will be our victory over life's cruelty. Together wino we beat life. Come from the shadows my disgusting peer."
"What was ya crackhead? A teacher, a social worker, a writer? What was ya befo' ya turned into to nothin'. Sounds like ya mighta been smart. So why don't cha take yo smart ass some where else and jump? Ya ain't wanted here. Dis is my place. Go on, get !"
"Fuck you. I go where I want and do what I want."
"Naw, you go were crack want and do what crack say."
"Look old man. I'm going to tell you this, just once. Get the fuck off the roof, and mind your own business! If you don't go on your own, I'm going to throw you off this motherfucker! Stay alive old man, hit the stairs."
"Crackhead ya take one step toward me and I'll cut cha from asshole to appetite. Ya wants to be a stupid mothafucker and jump off of dis roof, ya go head on. Yous right, I shouldna said shit to ya worthless ass. So pretend like I ain't here and go on, finish what ya started. Go on, finish ya high boy!"
"What? You're going to watch?"
"Shit why not? I ain't doing nothing else. Just sittin' here drankin'. Shit, might as well enjoy da show. Go on boy, jump!"
"That's probably what you've done your whole life; sit, drink and watch. You wino ass motherfucker!"
"Yeap, I spend a lot of time watching dumb shit, but cha crackheads, y'all always give me somethin' to watch. Y'alls da dumbest mothafuckers I ever watched. Just runnin' up and down da street, back and forth, back and forth, until all ya money is gone. None of ya mothafuckers sit still. Yous like, like, like, , roaches ! I wish all y'all would die. Jump mothafucker!"
Silence returned to the roof top.
"Who do you know that is a crackhead?"
"None of ya mothafuckin' business!"
"You love them don't you? Who is it? One of your children? Who? What crackhead hurt you? Maybe a young girl? Was she a sweet young thing? Did she take all your money? Did you trust her? Did you hope she would stop? What crackhead hurt you wino?"
"Shut da fuck up!"
"Damn wino. It was a pretty young thing. Did she make you feel alive? Did she cook your dinner and keep your wine cold? Was she good company? Did it hurt you to find out she loved crack, more than you? Were you an old fool wino? Don't feel bad wino, you never stood a chance."
"I wish all y'all would die. Y'all take so much from everybody dat knows ya. One crackhead can destroy a whole family. Da shit spreads. One mothafucker come home smokin' dat shit, da next thing ya know da whole damn family smokin', sellin' or something. Da shit is a disease, a plague. It's evil. So jump boy and do yaself and da people dat loves ya a favor. Go on, finish ya high!"
"Did your crackhead jump from here wino? Did you watch her? Did you try to stop her?"
"Shut up! Just shut ya damn mouth."
"Was she one of the one's that jumped last week?"
"Ain't cha got somethin' to do crackhead?"
"Is she dead?"
"Yeah. She's dead. She died here, but not last week. She died a month ago. She was in misery, just like all of y'all. She tried to stop a hundred times but couldn't. She came from nowhere. I found her up here, just like a stray pup. She was curled up on dis roof, cold, wet and cryin'. I watched befo' I said anythang to her. She didn't see me. Den after awhile, when I saw she wasn't movin, I walked over to her. She was out of her mind wid fever. I took her to my room. I fed her, bathed her and let her rest. She slept fo' a week.
"It was like ya said, she was good company and she made me fell alive. I knew what she was. When she got her health back, she went back to gettin' high. She'd go off for a day or so, and come back tired and dirty, just like a stray. She'd cry and pray and promise herself, not me, herself, she wouldn't do it again. But she did.
"Den she disappeared fo' two weeks. I heard about da first girl dat jumped from here. I thought it was her. It wasn't. I started comin' up here every night, cause I knew she'd come back here. I seen three of y'all crackheads come up here and jump.
"Da first one I tried to stop. He looked me straight in da eye befo' he jumped. Misery, was all I saw. Da second one I grabbed and begged not to jump, but soon as I let her go, she dived over da ledge. Da third one, I didn't say or do nothin', I just watched. I figured da first picked dis buildin' because it was the only five story buildin' around. Da rest of dem, was monkey see, monkey do. In three months nine of y'all done jumped from dis here roof.
"It's sad, but I guess it's a ending to it. She stopped here. Da night I found her she worse dan befo'. She couldn't even stand. She'd been beaten. I picked her up so easy, it scared me. She had no weight. She was nothing but bones. In her eyes, I saw nothin' but misery. I carried her over to the ledge and let her go.
"Nobody came to my room askin' bout her. No family, no police, nobody came, nobody cared. It was over fo' her. I came back up here a couple of days later to sit and drank, and the first thing I saw was another one of y'all sittin' on dat ledge cryin'. I walked behind him and pushed him over. Ended it fo' him too. Da shit cain't keep goin' on. Dat boy was da last one I had to help, all da rest I just watched. Dis was always a good place to sit and drank, but y'all crackheads, , , y'all added da show. And tonight boy, yous da star. So go on back out dere on dat ledge. And finish ya high."
"Damn your a sick motherfucker! You can't simply kill people!"
"Y'all ain't people! Yous crackheads! Ya know ya ain't shit. And ya know ya ain' gonna get no better. Ending it's da only way. Y'all's a cancer, dats got to be cut out, befo' ya destroy everybody. Ya know ya cain't change. Ain't no hope fo' ya boy. Don't lie to yaself crackhead. Go on back on dat ledge boy, and finish ya high."
"If you wanted to see me die, why did you stop me ? Why didn't you just let me jump?"
"Just fuckin wid cha. Da last couple ones jumped so fast, da show was boring. I was just addin' a little spice. You can go on and jump naw."
"I am a real person, not a stray animal or cancer. Crackheads are people. We have a disease, we're not the disease. I can change."
"Bullshit boy! A Zebra cain't change it's stirpes."
"I am not an animal! I am a human being."
"Yous a crackhead."
"Fuck you man. I'm not jumping."
"I ain't jumping."
"Ya gotta jump."
"No man, I don't. I got a choice. I can change."
"Yous as miserable as da others dat came up here. Dat kind of misery don't go away boy. I know. Ain't no hope fo' ya crackhead. Ya know ya tried to stop befo' and ya couldn't. How many times? How many lies? How many lives of other folks have ya messed up? You are da disease crackhead. Do ya part and stop spreadin' it. Death is callin' boy. Finish ya high crackhead. Goddamit jump"
"Look a here you crazy motherfucker, I ain't jumping! "
"Get ya miserable crackhead ass back on dat ledge and jump! "
"Fuck you!", he spun around and fled through the doors down the steps. He didn't slow down until he hit street level. "Damn, that crazy motherfucker was trying to kill me." He said to himself and everyone. He looked to the top of the building and saw the old wino standing on the ledge. He watched the bottle fall from the wino's hand and shatter on the pavement. He saw the wino dance from the ledge into the night air. He saw his body land, without a bounce, onto the pavement.