I wrapped up my store about my scooter-driving co-worker named Libby and finished off another beer. Owen had laughed at all the right spots, so I knew my political satire was gaining ground among my peers. I tossed the empty bottle off the side of the building. It was the side that faces the alley – so I knew if it hit anyone, it would only be some sorry streetperson – and offered Owen a cigarette. He didn’t smoke often, but drinking on the roof was as good a reason as any, and he took one and searched his pockets for a light.
I artfully produced my gold Zippo and zipped up a little flame for him. I must have gotten a little too close as a breeze whipped across the roofline and pushed the flame into his face. He shuttered a little and took a step back. Owen lost his footing on what must have been a crack in the asphalt and went tumbling backwards. I watched in stunned amazement as his foot clipped the low edge and his body disappeared over the side.
I dropped my lighter and rushed towards him. I looked over the side and saw Owen’ body on the sidewalk six stories below. A large pool of dark blood was rapidly flowing out from a great hole in the back of his head.
Owen’s fall had been an accident. But as I tried to make sense of his life before he died, I began to wonder whether he had wanted to die.