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turn me on dead man . . .

February 18, 2006
9 Northern Boulevard was just a few meters over the city line between Queens and Nassau County. Above a bar turned beauty-supplies store it was quiet apart from the night the cops woke us at 4:00am to see if some miscreant had stuffed a bag of drugs through our letterbox.
I was home alone in the summer. School was out and I had no more exams to correct or graduations to attend. I hadn’t yet nailed a job to keep me going until September. To kill the time I dissected the Aha song ‘Take On Me’ into its constituent parts, sequencing it note by note into my Roland W30. Getting a computer for this type of play was closer than I thought at the time but might as well have been a century away.
Sometime around when I nailed the big synth solo I heard a child squealing outside. They were in the car park. I pulled open the bug screen and stuck my head out. Not knowing quite what to expect really.
A large man was holding himself up between two parked cars. Screaming. He was scratching at his chest trying to get something(s) to move.
I called out ‘ are you ok ? ‘ and he screamed ‘no’ ‘no’.
This didn’t look right. I ran downstairs and around the block to the car park behind us. Someone else had stopped to see what was happening.
It was Doug. His folks ran the liquor store on the corner of the block and he had just gotten married three weeks ago.
I was speechless and useless. I watched as his lips turned blue. Someone called an ambulance.
I got out of the way when the paramedics arrived.
Later that afternoon I stopped into the liquor store to ask how Doug was.
He’s dead.
He died on the way to the hospital and if I had called the ambulance sooner he might have lived.
It’s 14 years and I still feel responsible.  He took the drugs but I feel I could have done something more something sooner.
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