by Nigel Daring

We missed the melee inside. Cheapskates we were, we decided to hang outside. We heard the music loud and clear, and thought everyone in there foolish for paying exorbitantly — I even had a concrete column to stand on to get an excellent view of the stage. We were satisfied with our decision. When one of the headliners came on, we danced hard outside, conversed loudly about memories, the music, and even slid a little remorsefully into how it's lost flavor. But it was the high we gained from the enjoyment of the moment the great artist performed that still lingered in my mind in memory of the time.

Soon walked out three young Black men, boys from my perspective — none could've been more than thirty. They strolled by casually. One fell suddenly — drunk we assumed — the other two agreed to go get the car and return for him. The cops had been following them, seems they had really escorted them out. One officer who saw the one collapsed urged him to go home, get up and go home or he'll arrest him. The boy laid on the ground still, seemed disrespectful that he didn't immediately respond, and it confirmed in our thinking that this must be a drunk the police had forced out of the concert for some ruckus he caused. The cops got more insistent, and the young man said, "I can't", but nothing more. They shone a flashlight hard over his torso and realized blood all over. When they inspected closer, he had been stabbed four times with what seemed an icepick. The boy's condition deteriorated, hardly breathing by time the ambulance left. And I left dejected. So were the others with whom I parted company. The whole concert was reduced to the scene of police, paramedics, puncture wounds, blood and near-death.

The next evening's television news reported a stabbing death at the concert. The memory worsened for me. The anchor relayed the event briefly in a line or two, then transitioned smoothly to the weather woman with a lighthearted snide remark, to which she responded with a friendly barb before declaring, "Tomorrow will be a wonderful day."

Traumatized by Nigel Daring

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