Unlucky Number 911 by Susan Gibb

He laughs and runs just like the other boys even though he doesn’t have a father now just his mom. Wild-eyed big-grinned crazy-legged games of tag with hands held open at the ready. On a schoolyard in Missouri grassy brown and littered with the colors of September he is happy, unaware of any threat except for maybe Brandon who’s a bully and likes to pick on younger kids. Something needles through the moment and he slows and for a moment stops and listens. Eyes dart at the subtle hum that only he can hear off in the distance. Shoulders pull together at an imagined rush of wind that brings the scent of smoke so strong he holds his nose. Brown-black curly head dipped down, he cringes as a plane glides overhead. Sometimes his friends will tease him but most times they somehow know and don’t, remembering what Miss McCallum told them about that picture in their history book. About that day. He’s just a little boy and he was only two all those years ago in New York City.

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8 Comments

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8 responses to “Unlucky Number 911 by Susan Gibb

  1. this is so exquisite, kept me breathless. a real gem of a prose piece.

  2. Al McDermid

    This is so subtle, so, as Marcus wrote, ‘exquisite’, that I had to read it a couple of times for it to really sink in. And it bring back those days; no (and then limited) public trans, the cordoned-off streets, the impromptu shrines here and there . . . The atmosphere you’ve created is how it felt in NYC in the aftermath.

  3. Kelly Grotke

    “something needles through the moment” – my favorite line, bringing the boy’s experience together with all the rest. very nice.

  4. a story like a kite, moving from the casualness of the everyday to a larger level of the world, on seemingly light wings. needling, indeed.

  5. Intensely emotional tribute. Well done.

  6. Thank you all so much. This is really the first image that comes to me when I think of that day. This, and getting into my car after a class and turning on the radio that day.

  7. What’s interesting here is the way the boy seems to be suspended between innocence and knowledge. He knows to fear but doesn’t seem to know why; his body remembers, but he couldn’t say what it recalls.

  8. Pingback: Week #18 – Lucky Number « 52|250 A Year of Flash

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