After work, laying down briefly in the late Friday afternoon relaxed exhaustion, the world exhaling.

The world suddenly crashes, explodes, the air sucked out of my small studio apartment, and shaken like a lover’s angry nudge and then replaced, different.

Classy neighbor lady goes running down the street toward the screaming screech.

I follow.

Arrive at the nearest big intersection, a white Chevy pickup truck, no extended cab, on its right side and a handful of hood life clustered around trying to pry open the driver’s side door — can’t tell if there’s life at this point. The fresh Bay afternoon light pouring down, the Friday pre-evening energy in the air.

Cops arrive, begin blocking off the streets, then fire trucks and their men. They pry open the driver’s door. Pull a man, screaming out, an arm toward the passenger’s side waves — no indication what it’s connected to, and what that may look like.

A shirtless guy, high on the tragedy, who was in the cluster at the truck, runs over to the far corner where we are. Describes pools of blood and someone’s face buried in the asphalt.

I walk back, nauseous, stomach, head swirling, ask my neighbor if he saw. “No, I saw enough death in Vietnam.”