from a letter, Sarajevo


I was thinking about the best moment to cross, when I noticed that a man walking toward us had stopped about ten meters from the corner. He stood as if looking at someone across the intersection–but also looking inside himself, as if calculating, or imagining himself doing what he had in mind. I saw his body relax, and then he gathered himself down into a crouch and sprang forward like an Olympic sprinter, digging and pumping to get up full speed. Those of us waiting at the corner pressed closer to the building to give him plenty of room, and with only a slight wobble he bounded off the curb. He was flying. But near the middle of the street he had to alter his stride for an instant to avoid tripping over a pair of bodies, and it was this change of speed that caused him to arrive at the same place and time as the bullet. It hit him in the neck, spinning him, so that he came to rest crumpled against the far curb. It had been a good idea, perhaps, although not one to work every time. Maybe it has been tried before, successfully, even at this intersection. It had worked for this man, in some other part of the city. It would work for someone else. Someone younger. Faster. With better luck. At any rate, I decided to make do again until tomorrow.



Tom Koontz, An Ordinary World.