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Memorial Day for Mario - Sing With Me If It's Just For Today... — LiveJournal
If I should fall behind, Guyster, wait for me.
Memorial Day for Mario
I didn’t know Mario, didn’t even know his name. The only thing I knew was that on Memorial Day, I saw a crowd of people standing on the corner of the 7-11 where I stop every morning for my Super Big Gulp. Some had their fingers jammed in the air pointing at something or someone, and then I heard sirens behind me coming up fast. I pulled over just long enough to see a shirtless man lying on the ground, his muscular back covered in a tattooed giant cross of Christ, and as I drew nearer, I saw the sidewalk covered in blood pouring from his head, too much blood. The man wasn’t moving, just the cluster of people who stood and stared, and pointed.

For the past week, there’s been a shoebox sitting right in the middle of the 7-11’s wide glass-top counter that houses twenty kinds of scratcher tickets, but this week the shoebox covers the display. The box is wrapped carefully in paper that suggests mother of pearl with a hand-written plea for help, words of love, and the young man’s name. Mario. Saran Wrap seals the box except for the money slot that cuts into its top. An enlarged photo that’d been taped to the back of the wrapped bank sways every time the front door opens; it’s a snapshot of Mario, handsome and slightly bemused. He couldn’t be more than twenty years old. The box asks for donations to Mario’s family, to help them cover the funeral costs, or as the box reads, “Please help so we can buried our son.”

When I first saw the box, I emptied my wallet of all its cash, all eight dollars of it. I asked the guy who checks me out every day if Mario was the man I saw shot. He nodded without looking at me.

Armed with a twenty the next day, I slipped it in. Yesterday was another twenty, and today being payday, I put in thirty. I’m not bragging; I don’t view my contributions with anything more than the understanding of the horror when something so unexpected happens and the ugly practicality of paying for it.

I look at Mario’s photo every day, and I can’t seem to shake the first time I saw him, lifeless and alone, all alone, except for the strangers that surrounded him.

15 comments or Leave a comment
quirkstreet From: quirkstreet Date: June 1st, 2007 06:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
renniekins From: renniekins Date: June 1st, 2007 07:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
How awful, and what a helpless feeling.
From: danman1969 Date: June 1st, 2007 09:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
Why was he shot? Was he the son of the store owner?

Thank you for contributing to his family when most people wouldn't.
guysterrules From: guysterrules Date: June 2nd, 2007 04:21 am (UTC) (Link)
Unfortunately, it was an all too familiar drive-by shooting, part of the turf war that has parts of LA in a tragic grip.
From: danman1969 Date: June 2nd, 2007 05:00 am (UTC) (Link)
Ugh... that makes it all the more senseless and tragic.
From: minnesattva Date: June 1st, 2007 10:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm so glad there are people like you.

I know you're not bragging, but it's one of the many times when the money will probably mean even more to the recipient than the giver.
urbear From: urbear Date: June 2nd, 2007 12:14 am (UTC) (Link)
This does nothing to change my impression of you as a very, very nice man.
guysterrules From: guysterrules Date: June 2nd, 2007 04:22 am (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, and where's Larry?
urbear From: urbear Date: June 2nd, 2007 12:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
At the moment I'm in northern New Jersey, about to drop in on mondragon and faghatesgods...
quuf From: quuf Date: June 2nd, 2007 01:46 am (UTC) (Link)
That little flaw in the entreaty makes it all the more heartbreaking, doesn't it.

How good you are.
guysterrules From: guysterrules Date: June 2nd, 2007 04:16 am (UTC) (Link)
You know, that is exactly what breaks my heart the most when I see the box.
ubermunkey From: ubermunkey Date: June 2nd, 2007 06:02 am (UTC) (Link)
OH fuck T,

You rip my guts out with this stuff sometimes, the tears come, I purge and for a few minutes I am unjaded, I'm clean, and though I'm crying I'm free, and the beauty of it is that once again for those fucking brilliant moments, I FEEL!

god this touched me

"I look at Mario’s photo every day, and I can’t seem to shake the first time I saw him, lifeless and alone, all alone, except for the strangers that surrounded him." Sweet jebus that makes it sting.
From: (Anonymous) Date: June 2nd, 2007 08:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
That certainly has to be an image that stays with you. You're doing good.
nodressrehersal From: nodressrehersal Date: June 3rd, 2007 02:26 am (UTC) (Link)
Good for you for doing the right and generous thing. What's the point of having all that we need if we can't make a difference in someone else's life by sharing it?

I'd rather be the victim of an occasional scam than say no.
twillhead From: twillhead Date: June 3rd, 2007 10:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks for this entry, Terry. I need to be taken outside of myself and this certainly accomplished it. Hugs to you, Buddy.
15 comments or Leave a comment