Anna Moschovakis | An excerpt adapted from the novel Eleanor, or, The Rejection of the Progress of Love | Coffee House Press | August 2018 | 11 minutes (2,908 words)
The story she was reading was about a forty-three-year-old unarmed civilian shot to death in a Tampa Bay movie theater by a seventy-two-year-old retired police captain who’d become “agitated” by the man during previews. Eyewitnesses said the victim had been “texting loudly.” Popcorn had been thrown.
She looked down from the screen at the bead of blood on her thumb. She watched it form a rivulet that ran down her palm and onto the white down comforter her friend had laid out on the bed for a Ukrainian folk singer arriving that night to teach a workshop in bilij holos at a nearby club. The blood formed a spot, brighter than the bead itself.
“He was a good, genuine person,” it was said of the deceased.
“He was just a funny guy. He brought life into every room.”
“Fate brought these two people together—it was ridiculous.”
None of the witnesses tried to stop the altercation. The movie was about Navy seals on a mission in Afghanistan. Its title was Lone Survivor.
She stared at the spot and then back at her thumb, where fresh blood coagulated. She thought again of the thing that had happened—that she had made happen, or at least not prevented from happening. The room had floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the expressway, from which she could hear the variegated moan of afternoon traffic. She was having a hard time getting up.
Charles Cummings, a former Marine and Vietnam veteran who left the theater with the victim’s blood on his clothes, said he was shocked and saddened by the incident, which took place on his sixty-eighth birthday.
“I can’t believe anybody would bring a gun to a movie,” said Cummings.
“I can’t believe I got shot,” said the victim before he died.
The recipient of the texts was the man’s three-year-old daughter, according to the Tampa Bay Times. Read more…