The rocky road to heaven

Mar 31 / Clara Akemi
Leaping out of bed, Dario lost time on that cloudy morning, right on the day of his super important company meeting scheduled for the early hours. Even so, he made sure to dress up snazzily as usual.

So, with an umbrella hanging off his arm, he hurriedly left the hotel, walking like greased lightning, stepping on puddles and splashing water on me. However, I didn't even care about getting soaked and dirty because I knew my mate would scrub me clean later. Out of all his shoes, I was the favourite.

All of a sudden, he slowed down the steps, leaned against a wall and just slid down to the ground. Sitting on the still-damp sidewalk after the rain, feeling chest pain and struggling to catch his breath, he put his pipe on a nearby rock and tried to loosen the tie. Watching that whole thing went down, I started yelling out for help like crazy, but everybody just pretended not to see us; until those two guys came near him and quickly realised that it was a heart attack. Then, they started to open his collar, tie, and belt. One of them with a greedy look and the crony giving him the thumbs-up, swiped the wallet from the inside pocket. Maybe to show the disagreement about it, Dario let out a kind of hoarse cough and some foamy spit came out from the corner of the mouth.

Pretty soon, there were already a bunch of people crowding around my mucker. A woman shouted, ‘Somebody get this poor dying man to the hospital, right now!’ While Dario was getting shoved into a taxi by some men, the driver asked, 'Hold up, who's gonna pay for the ride?' Everyone glanced at each other, shrugged, and took him back to the wall. To my shock, I noticed that his ring, cufflinks, and the pearl pin on his tie were gone. What about the pipe on the rock? Man, there wasn't even a sign of smoke!

Someone else remembered there was a chemist just two blocks away. As Dario was too heavy, they could only carry him to the next corner, in front of a fish market door, where flies started swarming around his face. A young man had the heart to shoo away those damn bugs. But there's always a catch, isn't there? This guy felt like he deserved my pal's gold watch in return. Can you even believe that? Absolutely insane!

As night came closer, more people clustered to watch this creepy horror show. Out of nowhere, chaos broke loose, and poor Dario got trampled on by the crowd multiple times. That’s all because the police showed up blaring sirens. So far, I just don't get why all that craziness happened, it was just so unnecessary. Well, the policemen tried to identify him, but sadly his wallet and documents had already been nicked. Therefore, all they could do was wait for the coroner's van.

Feeling so bad for him in that tough spot, a man and his son took off Dario's jacket and folded it up to use as a pillow for his head. They crossed the corpse's hands over his chest but couldn't close his eyes and mouth. As the kid lit a candle by him and bowed his head like he was praying, the dad stared at me and he put me on due to the fact that he was barefoot. After all, they walked away with the shirt and pants in their hands. But this time, I didn't mind at all because I knew we would be more useful to that poor man.

Before turning the corner, I took one last admiring look and saw my buddy's head on the ground without his jacket. The first drops of rain snuffed out the candle.

This story was inspired by 'Uma vela para Dario,' written by Dalton Trevisan, considered one of the greatest contemporary Brazilian short story writers. Originally, the story is told in third person, reflecting the author's intention to create a sense of distance from Dario, similar to aloofness by the characters who sneakily steal from him and those who simply stand by, watching the events unfold as if it were entertainment. However, I shifted the narrative focus to an eyewitness: the shoe, which shows all his outrage.
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