Distant sirens and shouting voices were flooding in from Stanley’s window. Wide awake, lying in bed, it was all white noise, and yet, falling asleep has been the most difficult task for the past three nights. The despair of an awful, incoming anniversary. Voices escalating with intensity. Gunshots erupting, he turns his gaze toward the window and waits, hoping a stray bullet will come through the wall and finally end it.
The gunfire escalates. Stanley maneuvers himself to slide closer to the wall to improve his odds, dragging his legs with him.
The sirens come closer. Screeching tires. The words, “Freeze!” and more gunfire. Shattering glass. A tiny, little voice crying, “Daddy!”
“Put the fucking gun down! Put the fucking gun down!” Officers bark.
“Man, fuck you, pig! I ‘on’t play dat shit!”
More gunfire. Multiple guns now. Maybe six – seven? Twenty? The gunfire abruptly stops. Cops on the radio, calling for ambulances. It’s over now, and not a thing to show for it.
“White noise…” Stanley whispers. “All white noise… why? Why me? Why not me?”
“Because you are a loser.”
Stanley shoots up like an airbag scanning the dark studio apartment for the source of the voice. His wheelchair beside his bed, his desk cluttered with books and notes, his dresser with two broken legs leaning against the wall, the kitchen empty, the TV still in place, the couch littered with laundry – ‘wait, who’s laundry is that?’
“Who’s there?!” Stanley barks.
With no response to his call, Stanley slides out of bed into his wheelchair, pulls his feet up into position, and quietly berates himself for not owning a gun. The white noise becoming what it truly was in his ears. Cops and lights swarming. Frantic neighbors outside the Glen Echo bullpen complex. The voice of a gunned down man whose wails are interrupted by choking coughs.
Slowly approaching the couch, he clicks on the lamp and sees the laundry he never folded three nights earlier.
Ambulance sirens wailing in the city of Baltimore.