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Rated: ASR · Short Story · Death · #2199470
impermanent humans fielding life's chaos
Ghost Particles

The newspaper described it as merely an "unfortunate incident". A mugging of a homeless woman, no known relatives, authorities still looking for the perpetrators.

Her shopping cart at the crime scene had already been emptied of her belongings. The thugs couldn't have gotten much.

I didn't know her well. I would see her at times, walking east on Radio Road, pushing her shopping cart, all her belongings stuffed in garbage bags, headphones on.

For a while she had come to our church services, always dressed in a flowered shirt and khaki shorts. Inexplicably her name was Scylla. She said she was a diver,

scraping barnacles from boat hulls.

She was one of those people that never fit in, given to episodes of inappropriate laughter, indelicate remarks. Somehow I discovered that she liked the Turtle Island

String Quartet and played it constantly on her ubiquitous headphones.

Her favorite phrase was, "You aren't the boss of me".

She stopped coming to church. I heard there had been a work accident and she could no longer work. She went to ground in the hammocks, living among the

racoons and toothless men.

I still attend church, surviving the Sign of Peace at Mass.

We are all impermanent humans, ghost particles, blazars in the universe, fielding life's chaos, searching for truth.

I called the county morgue when I heard of her death. I offered to bury her. The headstone will say simply, "Scylla". I am having an endless loop of the Turtle Island

Quartet embedded in the granite.

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