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Lamar's first hit barely slowed the maniac’s frantic attempt to scratch out his eyes. After getting a punch in the face, the boy had enough. He took two more strong swings to the man’s head, and the man went unconscious.
The young man jumped up and reached for his cell phone, then quickly glanced in the car. It was creeping slowly along the road, and he realized that there was a radio in the car, like the ones used by truckers or police. He reached over the corpse and put the car into park. Looking at the gun in the dead man’s hand, he figured that these were under-cover police officers. Instantly, he felt scared for his own life. Instead of calling 911, he grabbed the blood-covered radio and said into it: "Hey yo! Some crazy motherfucker on the streets just killed the cops of this fucking car. I tackled the dude and he’s unconscious on the street now. I’m on Third Ave in front of Beth Israel. Send some help now!!"
"This is dispatch. Stay where you are, help is on the way."
The boy leaned against the car. He kept the gun trained shakily on the bleeding body on the ground. The assailant’s chest slowly moving up and down. The image of that man’s wild-eyed expression burned in his memory. He had just come extremely close to death. The gun in his hand felt strange, heavier than he thought one would feel. He hoped all of this would blow over quickly, and he hoped he could make it home safe to his family without witnessing another assault or murder. With his back against the cold metal of the vehicle he breathed deep, trying to keep his anxiety at bay. A few tears dropped from his frightened gaze to the bloody concrete.
The moon sat high in the cloudy sky, where occasional gaps showed a star here and there. I stopped and stretched on the curb before stepping into the lane where my car waited. I rubbed the cramped muscles of my back, which complained loudly at so much time in the tiny seat on the interminable flight over. The cool air felt nice on my face. That cool mountain breeze, carrying faint humidity from the nearby lake, was refreshing after so much time breathing the stuffy airplane air.
"So, are you taking me directly to Dr. Hinkle? Or is he going to meet me at the hotel?" I asked my driver.
"I was given instructions to bring you directly to the laboratory of GSI research."
I stretched my arms above my head for a moment and replied, "works for me."
With the low hum of planes taking off and landing in the background, he asked, "care to stop and get something to eat or drink?"
"No, thank you. I want to get to the laboratories and talk to Dr. Hinkle–it's pretty imperative."
I slid into the back seat of the small European car before he closed the door behind me. We slowly pulled through the maze of airport roadways until we got to the highway. He pulled out onto it with ease, considering there was almost no traffic at this hour. Geneva is a quiet city, not as big as the New York City I had now visited so many times over the years while living in Bliss. The difference was stark, but pleasant. The immediate and salient idiosyncrasies of Switzerland brought back memories of times spent in this country. Whether out in the countryside with my grandparents, or living in Bern and working with Jessup. It feels like just yesterday I was wandering the streets late at night after burning the candle at both ends; dazed and confused, unaware of anything except the cold air against my face, slowly making my way home.
As the silhouettes of trees passed by, with glimpses of green visible from the occasional street lamp, I thought of what was about to come. I pondered how the work-filled days would pass here in Geneva, a city marked for its commitment to peace, with its headquarters of such organizations as the United Nations and the Red Cross. I wondered if I would escape the headlines of the United States, and their constant diatribe of violence. Will this be a vacation?
Not in the least—my head pounded from the jet lag