I know what it will be like when they hang me. It will be like this:
“My God, I am coming to you now. The glittering rosaries hang on the sides of this poorly rehabbed apartment building. How beautiful the strands of beads are. How they shine now. What bliss to wear them around my neck. Look, the small men are motioning that I should accept one of these shimmering necklaces as a gift. They must be encrusted with a fortune’s worth of jewels. These natives have no concept of their value.
I’m beaming as they fit the necklace down around my throat. Now that I’m close I can see that it’s a necklace, not a rosary, but I’m sure the small men have taken care to have it blessed.
I have to believe in their triumph. I will come out of these humble windows that oddly slide sideways. This is the port from which I will leave for the New World – as soon as I put on this beautiful, glowing necklace that these holy innocents are pressing on me.
This is how they will help me ascend into heaven with little use for the empty apartment I leave behind. Like my body I won’t need it, here in the westernmost buildings, west of West Broadway.
I have become one with the sunshine as I’m swept away and led in glorious bliss past the windowsills. Now, I’m out above the scalloped lines of scaffolding on the outside. I see it’s a grid made by the glowing, dangling nooses hanging up and down and the horizontal rows of supports and boards that line the exterior of this poorly rehabbed, west of West Broadway, building.
This is where they are leading me now that they have fashioned the jeweled necklace around my throat.
Going through the window with the beautiful necklace, blue like our Lady’s color, is like being on a boat that is crossing from a small, backward, island nation, nearly devoid of light and heat, but for the softly-banked peat fires. There is no furniture left to burn in that place. I am crossing to the worldly country where the African immigrants sluice the water through the gutters with green, plastic brooms. I go now, bounding across the transom, to embrace the holders of the green plastic brooms, shining nearly as brightly as the necklace that the small men have been kind enough to place around my neck. Now they are gently tugging me through the window to enter the other world. The world where they speak the new language, used for centuries in our oldest and most solemn rites. I’m leaving behind the poorly rehabbed apartment, nearly a jail cell, far west of West Broadway.
Sure, I fought them. I fought letting them put the necklace around my throat. But my resistance was futile.
Now my blood is joined with the blood of the other martyrs that has dried to red dust in the windowsills of this nearly empty, poorly rehabbed building west of West Broadway. Now I am hanging from the scaffolding as my handlers hurry my Ascension Day along with their knives. The necklace has become a noose. The blood is jutting out of me in spasms. There is no neck brace for me.”
Brent Shearer is a freelance writer who lives on the Lower West Side.
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