Friday, November 27, 2009

The Difference a Day Makes (part 4)

IV / The Difference a Day Makes
(part 4)

This morning Jack’s getting in free. When he arrives
in the basement garage at 11:19, he hears a car horn honking
from the top of the exit ramp its shave-and-a-haircut, two bits.
A phone call goes up to the third floor, where Oswald’s squirming
Into the sweater he’ll wear for the transfer: everything’s in place below,
it’s time to put this show into motion. But truthfully, so much is utterly
out of place: reporters are hopelessly mixed in with the police,
who are supposed to fall into a protective human corridor formation
when Oswald’s finally escorted to what they’re calling the getaway car
for his painstaking ride back to Dealey Plaza and the county jail
twelve risky blocks from here. And that car’s nowhere in position
at the bottom of the ramp, but Jack is: no badge, no press credentials,
but he’s on official business nonetheless, and the cops have let him
get this far at least in this roughhouse ballet of synchronized movements.

This is going like dimestore clockwork:
Oswald’s coming down in the elevator, Jack’s moving along the railing,
one hand in his pocket, the other at the brim of his fedora.
The klieg lights have cast everyone down here in their most unflattering light,
and Jack’s trying hard to concentrate on his small piece of the action.
He’ll only have a single take to hit his mark, deliver, and get lost.


And Oswald’s off the elevator, headed toward the cameras.
He’s walking Jack’s way, expressionless,
a detective on his left arm, another manacled to his right wrist
and it’s just a crazy, fleeting though, but Jack can’t help thinking
what a sharp cut of cream-colored suit the handcuffed detective’s wearing.
The gun’s out of his pocket by now and he’s pushing irretrievably forward
a few more feet until there’s nothing between himself and Oswald
in his crummy thriftstore sweater that can possibly save them.
And Jack’s holding his arm straight out as if he’s about to hand over
a gift or ask for an autograph, but instead there’s this irrevocable
pop as he unloads his single shot at point-blank range.


Two men have just gone down so close together in the crowd that at first
it’s hard telling who’s who, but one of them is smaller, down for good.
They’re giving him artificial respiration – the worst idea in the world,
considering where that sudden bullet’s lodged. They’re doing their best
to restrain the other man, giving him some half-assed third degree,
as if he’s really listening. The last he knew, he’s among friends here.
He’s pissed they’ve knocked him down, and where’s his fedora, this isn’t
the way he pictured it going. They’re treating Jack Ruby like a perfect
stranger in their midst, and there’s a sickening feeling coming on
strong in Jack’s stomach, too. He’s only trying to get away
with the rest of his life, but not so fast: there are still too many
questions, and no one’s going anywhere but down again today.


V / Jack Ruby Spends His Last New Year’s Eve with His Sister


From Jack Ruby's America
By David Clewell

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