There are things that happen in life, things that change you forever. Certain moments that stick with you for the rest of your days, and that haunt you for the rest of your nights. My life really never was like this. It was never butterflies and rainbows, but it wasn't like...this.

That day started just like any other, well for the most part. Every other morning I would wake up to the sound of screaming Mexicans, or perhaps gunshots. Hell's Kitchen isn't exactly paradise, but it was home. I had lived 18 years without incident, I was lucky. Still, I carried weapons on me when I left the house, everyone did. But, lets get back to the point shall we? Instead of an irritated ethnic's loud and enraged shouting rousing me from my peaceful slumber, or the harsh harmony of a metal hammer striking a lead burning piece of potential death being exploded into the air like a rocket headed for deep space, it was the screeching sound of the telephone that snapped me away from my pleasant dream world. That part is still a bit fuzzy, however the voice on the other end was clear as could be. Sleep still kept a light grip on my mind as I brought the screeching to a halt and rested the receiver upon my face. Yawning before greeting the caller, I then groggily spoke.


"I need you here" the voice on the other end spoke. It was my boss at the pizza shop. I glanced over at the digital alarm clock resting on the night stand that held the cradle for the very phone I was using. The numbers glared 12:00PM at me. I had just finished a shift ending at six in the morning for this man, what more did he want from me?

"Who isn't there Jake?" I asked, not hiding my slight irritation at his "need" for my assistance.

"Frank never showed up, can you get here or not?" Yea, he was slightly irritated as well. That Frank person, though I had never met him he had become a person that I had very little liking for. I sighed into the speaker that carried my own sound waves into his ear.

"Yea, it shouldn't be a problem. I'll be there in about 15 minutes." That conversation as well as the next events that followed will forever be engraved into my mind. If I would have never gotten that phone call, I would have never left my apartment. This never would have happened. I hung up the shiny black phone onto its matching cradle, and threw over the flannel sheets to the left side of me. My bed, queen size, rested on its own box spring. The springs always squeaked, no matter how I moved. They seemed to squeak just a little louder this morning when I forced myself from my resting place. It was as if they were calling out to me to stay behind. My shower was quick, but warm. I quickly styled my hair, the short brown locks moving around with each ruffle of my hand that was covered slightly with the sticky gel that would hold it in place. Messy and spiked around, I inspected it very swiftly, and walked toward a pile of clothes lying on the floor. Throwing some t-shirts over my head, I finally found the uniform shirt for Jake's Pizza Shop. The black collared t-shirt was quite form fitting over my somewhat athletic build. Blue jeans were the rest of the required uniform, and I decided to take the pair with the two pockets at the knees resting slightly off to the side. Each one could have held a blade, but I chose just one today to place into the right side pocket. Six inches of glinting metal hidden away into a leather thong and tucked nicely into the pocket. The apartment smelled slightly of old pizza, which was ridiculous according to my mother. Slipping my wallet into my back pocket on the right as well I grabbed my keys to lock the door, and left the apartment building that I had called my home for a short three months.

The day was bright and sunny, a slight breeze making it a very bearable day indeed. No foreshadowing could have predicted what was going to happen. Hells Kitchen has never been pleasant, but somehow it really was bright and sunny. The acrid odor of urine and rotted food from the piles of garbage lying around was practically overwhelming to those that were just visiting. The jog there was usually a short one, fifteen minutes tops, which is why I told Jake I would be there in that amount of time. As I was passing by just another alley way in this disgusting part of the city, something caught my attention out of the corner of my eye. I stopped abruptly and spun to my right to see a confrontation between two men. Just as I was about to turn to the left and continue my run, I noticed the larger of the two pull a gun from the back side of his waist on his jeans.

It was as if the entire world stopped. I felt bile quickly race up my esophagus and angrily attack my tongue. My body began to sweat, yet it felt as if the temperature around me suddenly dropped to below freezing. Eighteen years without incident, 18 years of complete oblivious naivety to the reason that this area of the city was called "Hell's Kitchen" all came to an ear splitting, screeching halt in that moment. I could hear nothing, like someone took the volume control and put everything around me on mute. The entire world melted away, save that mans hand with the gun.

Horror is the only way to describe this sort of situation. You see things like this in movies all the time, the bad guy kills an innocent that somehow wronged him, or that he just randomly decided it would be a fun idea to kill him. A completely strange passerby to either of the two happens by just before the killing takes place, rushes in and breaks the bad guys arm causing him to drop his gun and fall to the ground in agony. Then the good guy says a catchy phrase like

"Evil doesn't pay" then he bashes the bad one in the face sending him unconscious to the ground and picks the other one up from the dirt, brushes him off and sends him on his way. I had seen it a million times in the movies, so the question was, where is the hero? That's how I knew this was reality, there was no hero. I'm a pizza delivery boy, I had a knife, what was I supposed to do? His gun was shown to the other man at that moment. The man on the ground, I can remember his facial expression. That "deer caught in the headlights" look. There was something different about it this time though, it was his eyes. There was a look of knowing, of acceptance in his eyes that told me exactly what he was going to do at that moment. My gaze somehow ripped itself back to the other mans gun just in time to hear six gunshots. One, after another, after another, after another, after another, after another. Six shots, six bright flashes of light, yet, the gun that I was watching had not fired a single shot. The black, shiny piece of metal dropped to the dirty ally floor without a sound. My eyes slowly traced the large mans arm up to his shoulders which were now sagging, up to his head which was still looking downward, then down to his back. More things began to slowly come into focus. The man was a bit larger than most you see, around six feet, close to two hundred pounds. He was wearing a gray shirt, and the shirt was darkened significantly by a red-ish liquid seeming to soak it. I blinked at this point not believing what I had just seen. The larger man, who could have very well pummeled the other, much skinnier man into submission, dropped to his knees, and fell to his side. He was dead.

The skinnier man jumped up from where he lay, staring at his victim. His face was speckled slightly with blood which he directly wiped from his face with the bottom part of his sleeve ripped flannel shirt. He placed his own gun in the same area that the larger man had taken his from. It was as if a slight case of tunnel vision, and a single track mind had taken me over.

"I gotta get him to the cops" was my only thought. I didn't even notice my right hand in my pocket, closing over the hilt of the knife I had previously placed inside. I called to him as he began to run towards me. He gave another "deer in the headlights" look, except this one was 100 genuine. I could read his thoughts as if he were screaming them with a bull horn.

"How long has he been standing there? How much has he seen? Do I have any bullets left to take him out too?" I wasn't going to give him the opportunity to answer that question. He began to rush toward me, his left hand behind his back. I knew he was closing his hand around the handle of his gun in an attempt to put another notch in his body count. Eighteen perfectly, event and incident free GOD DAMNED YEARS! I screamed at the top of my lungs as I rushed toward him. One of those Brave heart, Native American war cries. The world went red for a moment, and then black.

When I came to again I was in my apartment, sitting on my bed. I had no idea how I had gotten there, or whether I had even ever left. Then I looked down at my hands. They were absolutely covered in blood. In a complete daze I walked over to my sink to see my once clean six inch blade, slathered with a crimson sticky liquid. I washed my hands with peroxide, and bleached my sink and knife. Went to an abandoned burning barrel in an alley way and burned my clothes that night. Thought all of that would help me to forget that days events. But you don't forget something like that, ever. It becomes engraved into your mind for all eternity, a constant reminder that this world is dirty.

I got fired from my job for not showing up. For the record, Frank still has his. I work at a local burger place, in the kitchen. The try to get me to do deliveries every once in a while, it doesn't happen. I never told anyone, ever. If it were my guess, I wouldn't be surprised if those bodies were still in that alley. Every night, without fail, I relive that day. Well, what I can remember of it.

There are things that happen in life, things that change you forever. Certain moments that stick with you for the rest of your days, and that haunt you for the rest of your nights. My life really never was like this. It was never butterflies and rainbows, but it wasn't like...this.