It was a Friday night. I had been away for a few days on a business trip and was eager to get home, to unpack, and to have a nice, relaxing weekend.
Carrying my laptop bag and rollaboard, I walked up the two flights of stairs to my apartment. I got to my door, inserted the key, turned the knob, and walked into the narrow hallway.
I put my laptop bag down next to the door and started to roll my rollaboard toward my bedroom when I noticed a light on in the living room. I also heard what sounded like the TV. I never leave any lights on when I travel, much less leave the TV on.
I stopped short of my bedroom, turned around and walked toward the light and sound coming from the living room.
When I got there, I saw two young men, maybe in their early twenties, sitting on my sofa and watching TV. I had no idea who they were, why they were in my apartment, or how they got in.
I saw a small glass vial containing some white, powdery substance on my coffee table, along with a rectangular mirror with two short lines of the white powder neatly lined up on its surface.
These two men, total strangers to me, were snorting cocaine in my living room and watching my TV. They had apparently not heard me walk in.
“Who the fuck are you and what are you doing in my apartment?” I yelled. They both looked up, shock on their faces. And then I saw one of them reach behind his back, pull a pistol from his waistband, and aim it at me.
It all happened so fast, so unexpectedly, that I didn’t have time to react, to move. I heard the shot and immediately I felt a pinching sensation in my stomach.
I was surprised that it didn’t hurt more; the pain wasn’t as intense as I would have expected it to be. I looked down and saw the red stain spreading rapidly across my shirt. I reached down and felt the warm stickiness on my hand.
My knees weakened and I started to feel light-headed. That’s when I felt the intense pain that I would have anticipated after having been shot. I fell to my knees as a veil of blackness began to drape my consciousness.
The last thing I remember seeing was my blood dripping and spreading onto the carpeting beneath me and knew that I would never get my security deposit back.
I could hear one of the men say, “Grab the shit and let’s get outta here,” and I sensed, more than saw or heard, the two men run past me and out the door.
Even though the darkness had descended fully upon me, I could still hear the TV. I think it was Hawaii Five-0, but I can’t be sure.
It’s funny, but “Book ‘em, Danno” ran through my mind. In fact, that was the last conscious thought I can remember.
“Book ‘em, Danno.”
And then I passed out.