He was hatless, balding, drunk, but he was not defeated. The crowd of men in the doorway began to thin out. The fat man pushed himself up off the ground and pulled his leather raincoat around his huge frame. He looked in my direction, with the rain splashing off his face. I thought for a moment that he was staring right at me, staring through me, but then I saw the headlights of an oncoming car flash off his glass eye. I knew then that hollow stare which I felt sucking me in, sucking like a vacuum; that it truly was hollow, emanating from the lifeless stone in his socket.
A tall kid in a rubber jerkin came walking out of a bar, his glistening black hair plastered to his face by the rain. He had two things in his hand, the man’s hat; which I could see was an expensive boulder, and his tab, which was unpaid when he was tossed from the bar.
The beat cops were headed their way.
The fat man looked around. He took the measure of the street, and his mouth twisted into a grin. The dark night became even darker, as if the rain-clouded canopy above the city lights swelled and thickened impossibly past the point of bursting; before releasing the deep stores of water that they were carrying.
The rain that was hammering the city doubled its flow. Lightening flashed, and thunder cracked. Alarm bells peeled, and sirens wailed over the roof tops, jangled and sputtering in their rain-muffled voices.
I watched as the story I was looking for unfolded in front of me. Everybody on the street stopped in their tracks; the working girls, the cops, as another lightning bolt hammered into the tall boy, cutting him down like a slender tree, filling the whole street with hot-white light, licking the fallen boy with tongues of fire, as if he was being kissed by the Holy-Spirit. The thunder cracked louder than dynamite, shaking everything not nailed down, rattling the windows of every store on the block.
The fat man was laughing when the boy hit the pavement. He and he alone was un-cowed by the storm. He reached down swept his boulder from the hands of the fallen boy, with a grace move that belied his size; placing it on his bare head. His great frame shook. He made a gesture to the body of the boy laying in the pooling water on the sidewalk. His lips were moving as if in prayer, or more like he was telling the kid the secret words that would get him past the guardians at the gates of paradise. Then he turned on the balls of his feet and dashed away. He moved faster than any right minded person would imagine his bulk would allow.
I started after him, with the cops behind me.