Tuttle fell down on Second Street after a long night of fighting with the bottle. Not usually a drinker, his boss had been heaping extra accounts onto his desk to make his own life less hectic. All these extra case files had turned his nerves into bloody stumps. On top of that, his less than successful attempt to date a woman twenty years his junior was turning him into a paranoiac.
Wearing a black peacoat, black wing tips, and black trousers, he would have been invisible against the black top were it not for the glare of the traffic lights. As the light went green, part of him thought, “Fuck it, let them come. It would just be easier this way.” Then, his head cleared for a second. He thought of his daughter at the university, spending his pension, sleeping with God knows how many horrible men. He thought of his ex-wife dancing at his funeral with her new lawyer boyfriend. He thought, “if I suddenly became a Buddhist, would I come back as better husband and father or as an aphid?” He suddenly remembered biology class, watching a video about aphids self-exploding to protect their larvae.
Before he could stand up, he heard brakes squealing. The city at night pooled into an empty sea.
Nearly an hour later, he woke up in an ambulance, in excruciating pain as an EMT wrapped his leg.
“Brother,” she said as she spun gauze around him, “when life got you dodgin’ bullets, sometimes you gotta zig insteada zag.”
He nodded, foggy from the pain, not quite hearing what she said, but understanding perfectly.