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Dust to Dust
I entered a café, a strong wind blowing through the warm shop, bringing the coffee scented air to my cold nose. As the door began to close behind me, the wind took a stack of papers from a nearby customer’s table, one escaping his grasping hands to flit out the door.
“NO!” the frantic-looking man screamed, barreling after it. He chased it a way down the street, almost catching it, but then the paper blew into a storm drain, prompted by a mischievous wind.
The man fell to his knees, a broken sob escaping him as I caught up to him.
I walked to stand in front of him and knelt, a hand on his shoulder.
“Sir? Are you alright?” I asked.
He looked up at me and I gasped. His skin was cracked and crumbling like dry sand, and his eyes were no longer eyes, but two balls of mud.
He gasped and shuddered. “You just killed me.” he said, and then he was just dust.
It was as though my heart had stopped beating, the air rushing out of my lungs in one harsh puff. I had killed this man, however advertently. My first thought was to hide the body so no one would know about what had happened, but then reality hit me like a sledgehammer. A.) We were in the middle of a crowded street in broad daylight, and B.) he had turned to dust. There was no body to hide.
In a state of shock, I reached down to the pile of sand, wondering who the man had been. I scooped up a handful and let it slowly drift through my fingers when I heard a voice from behind me. It was the clerk from the café.
“Oh my God! What did you do to that poor man? What did you do to him?” she screamed at me.
I shook my head in denial. “I didn’t do anything~ He just…crumbled! I don’t even know what happened!”
“What are you trying to pull? People don’t just turn into sand! That doesn’t happen!”
“Well I’m telling you, that’s exactly what happened! I swear it on my life!” I sobbed.
“Why should I believe you?” the clerk replied.
“Did you see me do anything to him?: I replied bitterly.
She thought for a moment, the slowly shook her head. “No. I didn’t see you do anything to that man, but that doesn’t mean that nothing happened. I’m calling the police.”
“Why are you calling the police?” I said frantically. “I didn’t do anything!”
“Whether you did or not is your own business, but whoever did it, we still have dead man, and that needs to be reported.”
“Think! Use your head for a minute! What policeman in their right mind is going to believe that this pile of sand was a man?” I said to her. She turned pale and seemed to lose a bit of her attitude. “No one is going to believe that this man is dead.”
She sighed. “So what do we do?”
I thought for a minute, then said “We call the police—”
“But I thought—”
“Wait!” she waited. “We call the police, and we report the man missing. He was there one minute, then he was gone. He left his laptop and a stack of papers, and when he didn’t come back for them, we got worried and decided to call in. Just to be safe.”
“What if they find out the truth?” the clerk said.
“They won’t find out. And even if they do, their minds will never let them accept it.”
“CUT! CUT! CUT!” the director screamed from off set. “Lindy, how many times have I told you to quit improvising! Just stick to your lines!”
I sighed and turned to face the director. “Sorry Stephen! I’ll stick to the lines.”
“That’s my girl.” he said. “Alright, guys! Take it from the top!” There was a sudden flurry of action as the prop and set managers scurried to reset the scene. “And…ACTION!”
For the third time that day, I entered a café, a strong wind blowing through the warm shop, bringing the coffee scented air to my cold nose.
Bronx, New York
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