20 December 2009
It’s the 20th of December, 2009, Jeremy’s been dead for about a year. Those pagans from Garretson Beach tried to kill him and Maria, Nick and Angelica on the train. Then FDNY, then Maria, she left him about six months ago, after a little episode on Block Island that scared her too bad. It hasn’t been a good year, Sebastian’s a Jew at heart, at heart he starts counting the year from September.
A real shit year all things considered, it isn’t rounding out to be the decade he’d hoped for either. He’d believed in so many things once. Had so much sense of possibility for life. The hope, the feeling of possible change, the want for greater justice, for freedom fighting via militant nonviolence. Making bombs that didn’t kill. Things he learned in the Middle East.
Now, it seemed baby he’d pass the fire fighter promotional, maybe become an FDNY Lt, and lead a noble but simple working class life. Maria left him over the ghosts of Jeremey.
Adon has been technically working for the FDNY since January of 2008, but a month into the Academy his best friend Jeremy took a pistol to his foolish head and got off two rounds. Now that was zealous work. Two shots to the head and from this world departed the best partner Sebastian ever had. Jeremy and Sebastian used to organize people back in college, try and make a little change in the community. They’d together built a revolutionary social club of several hundred dedicated to human rights and epic change. They were a good team. But now Jeremy was dead and Sebastian didn’t believe human beings were all that good anymore after about two years in the South Bronx and Bedford Stuyvesant, and the other places where the side walk ends.
Before FDNY, Adon used to work on a Transcare Transport Unit. About a month after Jeremy died on January 31st; of 2008 Adon worked his last Transcare shift with a paramedic named Victor Cange. After dropping out of the FDNY Academy he picked up overtime where he could.
He’ll retell it to you in a flashback:
“Its late night, in the old city, sometime around 4 in the morning, no calls, the transport bus was seated somewhere out deep in Canarsie, waiting of orders on the Nextel for work. As Transcare tended to assign per diem employees random partners, Cange and Adon were total strangers, met that night. It was a Sunday, Victor Cange tried to never work on Saturday ‘cause it was the Lord’s Day. He was a practicing Adventist now and had recently been educated how the Lord’s Day was actually Saturday, not Sunday. Sebastian always tried to work on Sunday because everyone else had been fooled into thinking it was the lords day, and that drove the call volume down.”
“Why’d you become and EMT?” Victor Cange asks him.
“To do the Lord’s work,” Sebastian lies.
The conversation then turned to God and the Jews, and it was a conversation that had gotten old to Sebastian, as he’d had by now with what seemed like every other black person he’d ever road with, a talk about god, late at night, on an ambulance, a talk about Jews. Blacks were obsessed with Jews it seemed to Sebastian, couldn’t decide just how anti-Semitic they were as a people, the answer was that blacks were pretty anti-Semitic as a people. Victor wasn’t though. They talk for a while, their palaver leaves an impression on Victor, but to Sebastian it’s the same old song he’s been singing to blacks for years. But he likes them as much as he likes the Soviets, which is to say more than anyone else via projedice.
“The lord’s work is often done by an unwittingly righteous person I’ll have you know,” Sebastian interjects.
“Amen to that. God has a plan, and man is filled with all sorts of arrogance that he can generate one, better to let the lord work through you.”
Black people are just fuckin’ loaded with biblical insight, thinks Sebastian. But Sebastian’s lungs are black and his heart too, so some of that knowledge he can relate too. But, Sebastian doesn’t believe in God any more, has no use for her.
It has seemed increasingly that he is to walk his life Alone. In the past year, tragedy in the form of questionable suicide struck. Everything had gotten a little surreal since then. He’d retreated into his work, the bringing out of the sick and dying. By the time he met Victor Cange, there wasn’t too much going for him, days he slept, nights he worked, and on free days he was drunk, bad, bad-evil drunk.
“God even has a plan for you brother,” Victor had told him.
He doubted it. He deeply missed Jeremy, often wondered what kind of guy let’s his best friend off himself without seeing it coming. He’d seen him a week before he did it out at Woodhull hospital psychiatric. He wonders what kind of piece of shit he is when that’s the best friend he respectively takes on. He wonders if he’ll ever get the nerve to kill himself.
Sometimes Sebastian sits on the Brooklyn Bridge, all horror show and wonders if he has the nerve to jump. Imagines his body hitting the cold blue black brine and moving on to the sweet hereafter. He doesn’t mind the ambulance work, seeing all these sick and dying people. He’s already dead. His body just has to catch up with his mind.