SmokeyBro had been barking for ten/fifteen minutes and when I finally went downstairs to see what was wrong, there were police cars, an ambulance and, on the side of the road, the man with the long beard who walked by my house on the way to and from the bus stop.
He was scrunched up against the brick wall. His knees were black and blue, his knuckles scraped to red; his eyes vacant. God, I didn't want him to be dead.
I asked one of the police officers if he would tell me the man’s name but he said he wasn’t allowed to.
He said the man was probably a transient or living in one of the encampments. That had never occurred to me.
He must have had a stroke or heart attack, fallen forward on his hands and knees and pushed himself to the alley's edge to lean against the wall.
Neighbors up the street were waiting for more information. His face was stark white, I tell them, but his eyes looked as if he could have been alive, like maybe he was just scared.
I was sorry I hadn’t stayed to watch them cover him up and lift him into the ambulance - I would have liked to have seen him one more time, even dead; but SmokeyBro was barking non-stop and it felt sacreligious not to get him away from there.
The man was wearing light clothing, a T-shirt, blue sweater and tan Bermuda shorts. It was warm this morning, sunny, about 60 degrees...