Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Am I too young to die?

Angelica is 'kinda' nervous--actually, she describes herself as "petrified" when she wonders: AM I TOO YOUNG TO DIE?"
"NO! I'm not." I stifle my scream mumbling my thoughts. 
Jonathan C. Jarewski, in typical direct and to the point Jarewski style asks, "Are you talking to me, yourself, or your archangel, BLUE LADY?"
Rather than dignify his question, I don't respond. Why bother? I tremble at the stark reality of my conclusion. Statistics don't lie. I'm thirty-two, well within the age group that seems to be the moving target for erratic, unpredictable game players in small cities across the country. 
When I accepted my new job, I was excited. Who wouldn't be? Research Director of a multiyear, multimillion federal research project was a dream come true. My fresh-out-of college Presidential Fellows Internship in Washington, DC dimmed in comparison. Until the Feds added a mandatory neighborhood-based demonstration component. A week in the hood strengthened our model but petrifies me. I've thought more than once since our team meeting two weeks ago, "I'm too young to die".
Daily Breaking News announcements interrupt CNN, MSNBC and FOX News commentators mitigating their intent to beat their competitors with the latest political scoop. Anderson Cooper and fellow news anchors forewarn of graphic and disturbing images as dual split-screens capture on assignment and affiliate reporters soberly describing the details of the latest shootings.
"17 Year Old Killed by Local Policeman."
"Unarmed 23 Year Old Shot in Convenience Store Parking Lot."
"10 Vacationers Shot on the Beach."
"16 Year Old and his Girlfriend Shot at Neighborhood Cook Out."
Since when do family and friend barbecues and hanging out in the park encompass the not-so-funny game, Shoot Somebody? 
Anybody. 
Or does it matter who? 
And who and what determined the when?
"Hey you!"
I turned, thankful for the interruption of my racing thoughts.
"What's with the big sigh? And do you realize you haven't said a word in the last thirty minutes?"
"Huh?"
"What's going on, boss lady?"
Jarewski turned his attention away from the road. His piercing hazel eyes interrogated me for a brief second.
"Not much. How much longer?"
"Aren't you enjoying the drive?"
I didn't need to look, I felt JaRew's smirk. He thinks he knows me so well. He does.

Excerpt from Lady Blue's MISSION under FIRE
By Stephany Tullis
Included in Love Under Fire


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