It takes five seconds for an ambulance to pass by intensely against their direction and its sirens to reach a more comforting distance. Up the hill the road plateaus becoming Vine street and the cops aren’t visible anymore. A hard sprint is an understatement in the speed he needs to pick up to get down the three blocks to Houston street where he can turn and disappear. The sting of sweat in his eyes makes him go faster. It’s a long stretch until that beautiful green sign comes into view. And then a cop cruiser comes strolling around the corner.
I slow my speed to a walk and snatch the mask from my face. Squeezing it in my fist. Fuck. The cruiser passes by me but I don’t make eye contact. I don’t even look. It doesn’t exist. I speed walk forward. Straight, casual. And then you hear the power steering.
You turn around and palm your face with your free hand to see that they’re no more than ten yards away and that the street’s too narrow for them to make a full turn. Squeeze the mask harder. The cop in the car looks at you and speaks into his talkie. Just keep walking backwards. Away.
My breath is heavy against my palm. The cop keeps talking. Looking at me. Looking at him through my spread fingers. Keep moving away.
The cop turns his head in time to see cop number two hit the plateau and I sprint back into beat with my previous pace around the corner up Houston street. Out of sight by the time I can barely hear the guy get our of his car and yell something like ‘stop,’ or ‘don’t!’
Up Houston makes a steady rise in slope going against the one way. Houses and a Church of God is on the right and on the left is one dormitory after the next. Johnson, Holden, and then after McClain is a gap before an entrance that leads to the open door-ed Pinsky dormitory stairwell.
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