They approach in a tactical formation. I hear boots, that familiar sound from basic training. Shuffling feet out of step. The numbers are unclear, more of them than me. Sit. That’s the instinct. No victory to be had in the fight. There’s a fight. They push me over. I crawl out into the middle of the street. 6th and Broadway downtown Santa Monica. The cool air disappears. I sprawl out. Spread eagle. I feel exposed. I yell “Help!” They yell louder “Stop resisting, stop resisting.” One of them reaches for my arm. I feel more grabbing at my legs. I squirm. Shift. Move. They can’t grab hold. I feel a pressure on my back. I smell concrete. One squat’s from above, “Look at me.” I turn away, refusing to make eye contact. He’s black. Not my black, but light brown and one of them. He says: “If I was in uniform? You’d be dead.” One of them circles around to my legs. Grabs my ankles. I’m pinned. He twists. My rib cage bulges. Cartilage stretches. Bones crack. The air leaves my lungs. I can’t breathe. I attempt to gasp for air. Nothing. Time slows. Hearing heightens. Can’t scream for help. Stop resisting! Stop resisting! Resist.
Use passcode “MAYDAY” below to view a reading of “He Went That Way”
NICHOLAS CORMIER III is a Veteran of the United States Air Force where he proudly served as an Air Traffic Controller. He is a Writer, Actor, and Director. Nicholas graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington where he studied Art with a concentration in Film and a minor in Theatre. He also graduated from Texas State University with a Masters in Business Administration. He owns Runner Films, a film and video production company, and enjoys serving the community through outreach along with volunteering for Veteran-Centric service organizations. Nicholas has a passion for advocating for the homeless, those with mental illness, and substance abuse issues in Los Angeles, California. He is a USC Warrior Bard and a member of UCLA Wordcommandos Veteran creative writing workshop.