The pretty little dream evaporated before him. The crackling tinkle of broken glass accompanied his stirring back to life. As the Red Sea of darkness parted before him it revealed a torn portion of fabric from the Brasserie’s canopy flapping lazily like a pennant above him. The offbeat warmth of the interplay of street lamps along the rue giving the remnant a strange flowing quality amidst the chill of a restless Autumn evening. He reached forward with both hands unexpectedly impacting the circumference of a small cafe table that was leaning squarely upon his chest. He instinctively brushed it aside like the arm of a turnstile in the Metro. It rolled off to the side nervously settling against something just beside him. The clarity of his vision seemed to be taking cues from the sluggishness of the rest of his body as it slowly returned to some semblance of consciousness. The ringing in his ears blocking out the surrounding chaos about him with its noiseless shouts and the absence of any detectable Doppler from rapidly speeding sedans. He bent his head slightly forward catching sight of a strange noiseless pantomime of frenzied strangers running past just above him escaping to and fro while aimlessly dodging through occasional traffic. He grasped at the table’s edge, his grip gaining only its unsteady roll back almost upon him. It rocked back and forth in a lazy motion in contrast to the flashes of humanity rapidly galloping in and out of view. A disembodied arm shot out towards him and he felt a strong grip from the hand attached to it on his bicep and then upon his neck. The reciprocating whine of police sirens seemed to shake the constant ringing within his head aside as they approached ever closer. A woman’s head popped into view from the opposite quadrant, her distinctly feminine features despoiled by a stern rock hard expression. “Ce Va Monsieur?”, its disembodied voice distantly hurriedly chimed. “How sad!“, he thought, “Her beautiful face of such classic proportions should be distorted so?” The droning sirens were upon him now their force displacing the ringing in his head to a vague notion of same. His mind momentarily caught a passing freight speeding by with a confusing montage of lightning flashed images. “Just what the Hell had happened?” The woman’s head floated back from close up to a more distant full view of her jump-suited frame. She turned back away waving her arm beckoning some anonymous player located located stage right just ‘off-camera‘. “Nice ass!“, he spontaneously remarked in silence to himself within his mind’s jumbled auditorium. The bundle of white caught in the grasp of the arc of her arm stained with blood. His blood!
The creaky machinery of his torso came slowly back into service as he slowly rose up from beneath the avalanche of broken window glass. The contents of an eviscerated pack of cigarettes tumbled from its resting place upon the top of his chest. There was something wet below his right hand as it sightlessly grasped for the pavement. His vision had settled down enough to resolve the immediate area around him and to his consternation he found his fingers spread within the loose gray porridge of the contents of what had been a young man’s head. What semblance of human expression left upon what little remained of its owner’s face caught in mid sentence about some irretrievable triviality. his bodies instinct pushing to roll over towards his opposite side as his stomach muscles reeled in his abdomen. The shadows of bodies seemed to stretch out in a radial pattern all about him. “What sort of calamity had befallen him within the heart of Paris on a windy Saturday night?” It seemed incomprehensible that he as both tourist and lifelong lover of the Paris mystique had been set upon by some completely unexpected misfortune. The thought occurred to him that on past sojourns to its most famous cimetière, Pere Lachaise, he had declared to his ever-present ego that when the time had come he would like to be interred there with the historically romantic and the famous. Now, he thought, it was just down the road, waiting! He curled up forward, his forehead nearly resting upon the tips of his shoes. His bloody left hand pushed flat upon a small pile of plate glass. With a great effort he ‘alley oop’d” himself up into a crouch. His head spinning in what seemed a counter-clockwise direction threatening to send him back down onto the pavement. Frozen like a runner immobile upon the starting block for a moment before the starting gun’s ‘pop’, he rose up to rest unsteadily upon his feet. The waiting maw of a newly arrived SAMU van backed up to the scene, its greenish sterile looking interior looking disturbingly pristine. He tried to take a step back to instinctively avoid it even though it was too far away to cause a threat. Reeling back upon the crunch of glass he passed out.
The headline of Le Figaro blared a headline in big bold letters, “Attentats en série à Paris : enquête et arrestation en Europe!” The somber visage of the countries’ President looking deflated and disappointed. “Cunnard!”, he heard in a low tone breaking his own silence from off beyond his hospital bed as two white smock clad attendants in the hallway outside simultaneously viewed that same dispirited face in the rustle of newsprint from another copy. “Il les accueille ici et il ne peut pas le comprendre!”, one of the distant voices angrily commented. “Regardez l’Amérique est bluffante . . . “, the other attendant’s voice transitioning more formally cheerful to a . . . , “Hello sir!, How are you feeling today?” Bedridden and awakening in what seemed the logical extension of the interior of the SAMU, the man’s head seemed to swim about for an answer. “Monsieur, if you are wondering about it, you are doing OK now.” , the voice now resounding closer replied on his behalf. “You are at the American Hospital in Nanterre.“, a young male face accompanying the voice more cheerfully added. He heard the other more distant voice call out from somewhere down the hall, “Docteur, il est réveillé maintenance!” He thought to himself trying to put all the pieces together, “What was my name, anyway?” he wondered silently as a starting point. All he could think of with any repeatedly clear coherence was the word, “Bang.“