Volume 25, Number 1

That Man Has a Knife

Back at the DT RiteAid, 10:30 Tuesday night, I ask the cashier when they close, are they closed, because it seems early but the security guards have shut the automatic doors and are standing behind them, peering out through the glass. No, she says, and looks curiously to the cashier to her left. Él tiene un cuchillo, he says. Ohh, she says. That man has a knife. I look through the glass. I can see him. I wonder what he said and did to make them close the doors like that, in this neighborhood, what's the story, are we shut in here until the police come. What is up with this place, I say. It's a like a mental ward in here. She laughs. Last time I was here for ice cream, I say, ambulances came. Oh, she says, not impressed. The police are outside now, I see them through the window, three cars, five or six cops, so many for just one man. They draw their weapons. I see a pistol, I see a rifle. They look like toys, like they’re made out of plastic. Watch out, I say. The doors open and knife man walks in, like just another customer. I don't see a knife, but I do see a flash of potential violence. A cop who looks about twenty, who looks like he has no business handling a gun, follows him in, pulls the knife man's hands behind his back, cuffs them. The knife man doesn’t resist. They walk out like that. Credit or debit, she says. Credit, I say.

—Michael Denvir