the north face shops Knowing the man face up in the street
Two legs in the street.
Twenty some years ago, driving home from the moonlighting job, a man passed out, a body prostrate, on the street corner, head and torso on the sidewalk curbing, the legs tangled in the street, not far from two drinking establishments.
Truck parked, years ago, years before portable cell phones, concern rising, legs in the street, person passed out, late night, early morning, long sigh. Shut the truck door, walk away from the house door, walk back to the corner, back to the person in the street.
The person is still there. He hasn’t moved. Passed out. Approaching, something familiar about this person. There, face upturned, eyes closed, street light confirming it’s someone known.
Dave. Diamond Dave. Not a stranger but a friend partially in the street. A co worker from the moonlighting job, a cook who got off duty hours earlier.
Gruff talking, energy fueled Dave, crash landing after an apparently long and wild night. Dave passed out on a street corner, face still shining beneath the street light. Diamond Dave. A diamond in the rough.
Passed out? Knocked out? Alive? Or .
Dave. Hey, Dave. Dave. A touch to his shoulder, ready to shake him, check on him, Dave .
Dave shoots from the sidewalk like a rocket, like a puppet yanked up by strings,
like a man suddenly awakened from whatever to be shocked to find himself alive, alert, on a street corner, in the middle of the night.
Dave shifts from crashed to pinball pinging, walking back and forth, talking non stop.
Dave, Dave, let me get you home. . Dave, I don’t know why you’re here. . Dave, follow me to my truck, let me get you home. . Dave, you were passed out in the street; how did you end up here? . Dave, other folks probably saw you here. Someone probably called 911. . Dave. Dave.
Dave was always a force of nature. A force unchecked by the obstacles of life. Even when raging at work, he seemed uncowed by events, he was unstoppable, a shining diamond, pre set to eventually burn out still too young but still years from this moment.
This moment when all that energy is pooled into a rambling, pacing, self destructive automaton, who will not listen, who has raged and walked in circles and back and forth enough times to reach the house and the truck several times over. Get him to the truck, drive him home before .
A patrol car rolls along the street. Dave sees the patrol car. In a burst of energy, he runs, runs into the woods of a park, becomes a shadow flashing in and out of the lights and darkness of the trees and bushes.
Received a report of a man in the street, the officer says. Who are you? Why are you here? Who is that running? I’ll be back.
Dave. Diamond Dave. The officer radios something into dispatch. The officer moves toward the man running into the night.
The house is close. The truck is there, waiting to drive back out, looking for Dave, looking for Dave all the way to his house. But Dave remains unfound.
Dave found another ride that night. Another place to lay his head. Another place where he will come to, wondering, shocked,
uncertain how he got there.