small gray spider haltingly walked through Ben’s field of vision, and then was
gone. He felt a small trill of panic as he wondered if it had crawled into his
hair or down the back of his shirt, but there was something bigger, something
more important that he was missing. He couldn’t put his finger on what it was.
front of him was a vista of bricks— rust-red rectangles intersected by rough,
brown strips of mortar—that came all the way up to his face. Ben tried to blink
but found that he couldn’t—his eyelids seemed to have stopped listening to his
brain. Against one side of his face, he could feel the cold, hard bricks
imprinting their texture into his skin; his right ear felt squashed between his
head and the ground.
was lying on the ground, on a terrace of bricks. The realization meant little
thoughts were fuzzy, as if he had just awoken from a heavy sleep. He felt—nothing.
He was numb from the shoulders down.
attempted to make sense of his situation. He was lying, at least partially
paralyzed, on a brick terrace. It was dusk, or dawn—a streetlight shown down
upon him with orange sodium intent. He vaguely remembered some loud bangs,
sounding like gunshots. He usually carried a gun—had he shot someone?
else entered his field of sight. A black tendril of liquid made its slow way
down a row of mortar until it reached a brick intersection, and then it
branched out at right angles. It moved like heavy crude oil, deliberate and
realized it was blood moments before the scent hit his nostrils, black in the
orange light. Perhaps he had shot
someone. Or perhaps it was Ben’s blood. He might need that, he thought. But
there didn’t seem to be anything he could do about it.
will flow, he thought, not sure where it came from.
felt his head and his body become amazingly light, as if he were made out of
dandelion fluff. He felt as if he might blow away. And sleepy—he felt very
this dying, he wondered? Had he been shot and turned into dandelion fluff, and
now he was dying? If so, it wasn’t so bad.
wondered again about the spider, about whether he would see it walk past his
eyes again. He stopped feeling the bricks against his face.
blood now. And sleepy.
Mark Jabaut was a playwright
and author who lived in Webster NY with his wife Nancy. Mark’s play IN THE
TERRITORIES, originally developed via Geva Theatre’s Regional Writers Workshop
and Festival of New Theatre, premiered in May 2014 at The Sea Change Theatre in
Beverly, MA. His 2015 Rochester Key Bank Fringe Festival entry, THE BRIDGE
CLUB OF DEATH, went on to be featured at an End of Life Symposium at SUNY
Broome County and is listed with the National Issues Forum for those who wish
to host similar events.
Mark also had entries in the
2016, 2017 and 2019 Fringe Festivals, THE HATCHET MAN, DAMAGED BEASTS and
COLMA!. Mark authored several short plays performed by The Geriactors, a
local troupe of older performers. Mark’s fiction has been published in a
local Rochester magazine, POST, as well as The Ozone Park Journal, SmokeLong
Quarterly, Spank the Carp and Defenestration.
Mark Jabaut passed away on November 3, 2021.