Calvin had approached the rally with the feeling of a five foot uncoordinated youth signing up for basketball. As he approached, he had observed a young girl picking red tulips that surrounded a granite memorial.
He kept to the edges of the crowd and had only caught bits and pieces of the speeches. But he was there. He felt involved. He was glad he came. And then he heard a thudding metronomic sound coming from the other side of the crowd.
Calvin had stood on tiptoes to see what was causing the sound and he saw a row of riot police approaching, their batons thumping body shields. Suddenly, the police charged, their arms scything as they entered the rally.
People screamed. A swirl of faces turned and blew at Calvin. Calvin froze. A snowplow of a man came at Calvin swerved to avoid a collision and clipped Calvin’s hip. Calvin flew into the side of the granite memorial.
The seconds he lost regaining his feet cost him. The first hit caught his shoulder, the second the side of his head. Calvin dropped into a tight ball just like he used to do to protect himself from tickling Uncle Fred. As the beating continued, he prayed.
Then, the beating had stopped. Calvin lay still, quiet. Some time passed before he rolled onto all fours and started to crawl. He had crawled several feet when his left hand ground into something wet and slimy intertwined with gritty blacktop. He looked to see his hand resting on a red tulip.