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This is the phone call I woke up to this morning. Trying to collect my senses as I wiped the sleep from my eyes. Listening to my daughter but not fully awake enough to actively participate in the conversation.
Daughter calling from her job: Mom are you okay?
Me: what? I just woke …
Daughter: Just calling to make sure you’re ok
Daughter: There’s a dead body in our street.
Daughter: he was trying to take his mother home and he couldn’t. The cops had the road blocked and there was a dead body laying in the street.
Daughter: Don’t go outside. Don’t take the dogs out or check the mail.
Daughter: Don’t check the mail. I’ll be home around 4.
Daughter: Guy just went down the alley shooting people. They don’t know why.
Me: which street?
Daughter: They haven’t caught the guy. Don’t check the mail.
~~~end of call~~~
This is not a short story, flash fiction, or a poem. This is the reality where I live. I was not surprised by the phone call, only concerned which of my neighbors were involved. When you live at ground zero for the opioid epidemic nothing surprises you. Most of the dead bodies are from ODs; murders are rare here but dead bodies are not. Where I live every family has been touched by addiction.