Carl walked down the street in Philadelphia. Some dumb punks were graffitiing on the walls of a closed haberdashery, and the police were on the scene. Officers were getting sprayed with paint from aerosol cans while onlookers were shouting “Police brutality!” without cause.
Carl was going to meet a friend, one of his oldest and most loyal. They went back thirty years. His friend had just come from New York a few days before for a business trip; the family was to follow several days after for an extended vacation. After some initial worry, Carl received a text message simply saying “I’m fine. Meet me at the old place at 8.” It said nothing of the family.
Carl pushed open the diner door, and a little bell rang. The man at the counter was in the middle of eating a hoagie. “Good evening, Carl,” he said.
Carl sat down beside the man. From his tone of voice, Carl immediately knew what had happened, but anyway said, “What’s up?”
His friend swallowed, sat up, closed his eyes and sighed. “I don’t know anymore.”