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What It All Means 2005

started 09/26/09, converted to prose 09/28/05

I don’t know how many times I have to hear the same story over and over again. How many people are going to tell me the same news, each time a little differently, with a little different information. I wonder how many time I will get to hear the same news, each time told to me just a little differently. I wonder how long it will take before I get a real picture of what happened and what it all means to me.
I still didn’t remember being there, I think someone put something into the diet soda I was drinking from. I know I never took that drink out of my eyesight, that that drink had to be tainted before I ever took my first sip of it. Well, I know I was getting lunch while I was at work, and that’s the last I remember of my work day. I was at the Gorton’s Cafe, where you usually had lunch when I forgot to bring my own food. The next thing I remember was that I was in a hallway of the building; I only discovered it was the basement after I had escaped.
They had a witness there and they were asking him questions on who he thought was attractive, and if he lived alone. I didn’t know why I was there or if they were going to ask me questions like that too. Then I saw one of the men asking question and I saw that he had a gun. So I figured I had to have been knocked out and I knew I had to keep myself together and so I thought for a brief moment and checked in my head head whether any parts of my body were in pain. They weren’t. I thought that had to be a good sign. So I pressed my forehead, and I tried to squint my eyes just a little, so that it looked like I was in pain. I thought that may be a natural way to act like I was in pain and still concentrate on what the other guy was saying. I might be next, I thought.
There were a couple of guys that were dressed the same way, wearing grey slacks and when I started to look I could see that they all had guns too. But just before I noticed that there had to be like ten of them in this room the water sprinklers came on only like five seconds after the fire alarms first started going off. Everyone in the room with me went into a sort of panic, and then the guy next to me, who was in regular business clothes, grabbed my hand and said, let’s go around the side door on the right. I started to look around and I could see that everyone who was running this show, who had guns, was also in a state of panic of sorts, and so I followed this stranger out the door. No one even noticed us leaving the room in the basement.
He must have been conscious when he fitst went into the room. I didn’t know my way around the basement. I followed him until we got to the lobby level and this guy wanted to keep going out the front doors and I stopped and told the people at the front desk that there were men with guns in the basement. It was right by the elevators, that’s all I could tell them.
Okay, so I wasn’t a hero in that scene. I never get caught in scenes where I have to do something that I normally wouldn’t do. If it wasn’t for this guy, who was right next to me in the basement, I probably would never have moved from my seat. They guys with the guns got caught that day, they tried to take a hostage or two before they gave up. and they didn’t get any of the money they wanted. I guess there was a happy ending, after all. No one got hurt. What does this mean — to anyone — that sees this story on the news? Probably not much, nobody was hurt, nothing was stolen, and they didn’t live through it. No. It was just I who lived it.

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Chicago poet Janet Kuypers
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