Pop-Pop

Al Billings

An eighteen-year-old girl shot herself in the head last night, right here on the grounds of our apartment complex. Once I saw APD vehicles swarm the parking lot, I grabbed a camera and headed towards the center of the action, but a young cop confessed that while I had the legal right to take photographs, he really wanted me to leave the scene, and I did, but not before snapping a few photos with a zoom lens. I downloaded them immediately and captured a swarm of cops, car tires skidding into the driveway, the scene saturated with low ISO graininess, a harsh blast of iridescent blue shattering the foreground and all the painted surfaces covered with a rough digital film that looked like coarse sandpaper I could feel between my fingers.

My friend Susan heard the shots, Pop, Pop. The guy next door came flying out of his apartment, screaming with fear, and the police spent an hour just calming him down. When Susan called EMT, they had the balls to ask her if she’d consider performing CPR on the girl. Susan responded by telling the operator that the whole back of the girl’s head had disappeared.

We’ve been taught to view suicide as a selfish act. But who knows about that. Pop-Pop. A shattered family, dreams dissolving into the inky darkness of the scene. Pop-Pop.

October 16, 2013 9:00 am

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