Demolition Day

“Five. Four. Three–”
Local news cameras panned to the protestors clustered around the barricades.
“Two. One.”
The brick building seemed to lift from its foundation, and hang, suspended.
Onlookers clicked photos with their phones.
Then crumpled in a thick cloud of grey and red dust.
Birds shrieked and darted, and the delayed sound of the explosion reached the two men across the street.

“Sorry, man.”  Gary clasped his friend’s shoulder.  After an almost year-long battle for heritage designation, at least they’d been able to preserve the facade.
Bryan looked over and gave a small nod before turning and walking away.

He stopped for two bags of mixed day-olds from the Chinese bakery on his way to the pond.
The park was crowded so he continued to the north side where he found an empty bench at the water’s edge.
Ducks swam over, anticipating.
Ripping pieces of sweet bread, he wondered how Gary could be so invested in something that didn’t directly affect him.  Or the sign-waving protestors, for that matter.
Too bad they’d failed.

The ducks gulped down the bread, then waited, watching him.
He tossed another handful and watched the water ripple.
He’d heard somewhere that bread was bad for birds.
Dump trucks must have started removal work at the demolition site by now.
He considered the likelihood of workers sifting through the rubble, as he ripped more bread.  Police had only been there for crowd control, after all.
He tossed another handful, and the ducks began climbing over each other.

We all had to die somehow, he thought.
It might as well be from happiness.



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