It's a cold Halloween Friday Night in Kansas City, Missouri. Jason Gray wipes his swollen tear filled eyes as he walks clutching his chest to the middle of the Heart of America Bridge. People are in festive costumes laughing and horsing around as they walk to the many events happening in the Power & Light District. Jason looks back at the United Missouri Bank Clock to see the time, he no longer has a watch, he pawned it this afternoon, it was the last item of any value he had, and because he looks like he does he wasn't offered the value his Movado carries.
Jason was released from the city jail this morning, he has been there twice since the divorce for not paying his child's support. He was told by another inmate that coming back would make him a three time loser and a felon, he could get up to five years if he returned. Jason has tried to be an upright citizen since he became a dad, but being upright doesn't feed your little boy, being upright doesn't always keep your wife happy, being upright doesn't mean you can keep your wife! This afternoon Jason Gray realized he will never be given an opportunity to show his potential, today he was forced to conclude that he will never be anymore than what he is right now, a bum, a streetwalker. He is worth more dead than he is alive. Tonight Jason Gray devised a plan that will feed his child until he is able to fend for himself and hopefully change his ex-wife's opinion of him.
Jason holds his rib cage in place as he looks over the side of the bridge, it is too dark to see the icy cold water below, it hurts to breathe, he begins to cry as he faces his stark reality. In the lighting from the moon the blood and from the fight he had earlier is visible. He was badly bruised, he may have a broken rib. The guy that tried to rob him had a friend, maybe two. Jason is pretty good with his hands and was a good strategist. He has had success defending and defeating two attackers in the past, but these two guys were hungry! They really wanted his money. One of the men assumed he must have something of value after noticing him constantly feeling his pocket. Jason thought he could make examples out of the two old bastards but, somehow he ended up on the ground getting kicked over and over. He woke to find the men had taken the forty dollars he had in his pocket, they also took his change. That money was to buy a bed at the homeless shelter for the month of November, with that bed he would also get a meal, he wouldn't have to panhandle for a place to eat and sleep which is an advantage to a homeless person. Jason checked for his wallet. It had been disturbed, still his state and military driver's licenses, medical card from the VA Hospital, picture from his wedding reception and the newborn photo of his son Jason were inside. "If done correctly," he thought, "it will look like a murder, not a suicide." His ex-wife and child will claim $125,000 between his two life insurance policies which fortunately he has managed to maintain, depositing forty-eight of the one hundred dollars he received for his watch in the bank today to make the payment before he was robbed.
Passerby's try to avoid eye contact, fearing they may be asked for money, a cigarette or to endure a bad scripted story the leads to asking for money. Jason waits for the right time, no one will remember him if asked.
Doneisha Gray, gets off at 11 p.m: She is tired from the noise and smell of the nursing home. The young mother and nursing assistant has learned to enjoy her brisk two and a half mile walk to her apartment near the busy downtown district, she can catch that last Metro City Bus, that guy wants to go home to! It's Friday night and Halloween, she considers stopping in at one of the many bars in the district, her uniform could be her costume, she has some makeup, she could zombie up and be a "not-so-hot nurse."
"The wind has picked up, the temperature has been in the low 40's each day this past week, the water will be pretty cold!" Jason considers. "Hypothermia should kill me quickly." His eyes watered from the cold, the salty tears burn the cuts near his eyes, he is already chilled to his bones. Jason doesn't want to die, but he has exhausted his options. Family and friends almost run from the sight of him. And Doneisha.... well.... he assumes she is happier not seeing him. Still he would like to see his son, he is sixteen months old now, Jason hasn't seen him since the day he signed the divorce papers, that was six months ago. Doneisha also filed a restraining order while at the courthouse that day to keep him away from her and their child, "another fucked up idea by Norma." "Five hundred feet asshole, keep your fucking distance!" Doneisha's mother Norma Collins shouted in celebration after the order was served. He gave the person he loves most in life one last look before dropping his head and silently walking away, each day has been tougher than the day before since then. Jason would sometimes try to call Doneisha hoping to talk, he and "Donnie" were great friends, often called inseparable, and "as thick as thieves" once. He and Donnie were so happy when they became pregnant, they married immediately, but divorced before the ink was dry on their marriage license, their bliss lasted less than a year and a half. Now Donnie treats Jason like the Black Plague, she no longer likes being called Donnie. It's funny how fast things change.
Doneisha Gray begins across the bridge, it is the coldest most unpleasant part of her walk home, then again, she considers. "I have to walk threw the projects to get to my building." As Doneisha approaches the center of the bridge, she can see a figure standing possibly on the opposite side of the railing. She pauses, quickly she looks around for help, this is the only time the bridge has ever been baron and silent. She runs to stop what she assumes is a jumper. "Sir! Sir!" She gets closer and begins to realize she may know the person standing on the edge, she squeezes to try to focus and stops immediately. "Jason?"
"So what the hell is this?" she shouts. "Your dumbass plan to bring me back into your fucking bullshit ass life?" Jason didn't know she would be walking across the bridge, he didn't know worked this late, he didn't like the idea of the mother of his child being on the street this time of night. "No.... he takes a shallow breath, mustering the strength to say it and make it real. "I am preparing to jump." Jason tries to admit his plan without whimpering, but is unsuccessful he allows his ex-wife to hear him cry. "I wrote you this morning, I don't know why." He sniffs. "You never acknowledge my letters, and when you see me, you talk to me like I am shit! I still don't know what I did to you, some nights when I was lying on the slab in jail, I would try to put your riddles together to try to make sense of what happened to us. Every time I fell asleep without figuring it out." Jason takes time to breathe. "What do you do when you see my letters? Shake your head and laugh with your mother after taking out the little bit of money I begged or gave my blood plasma for? Do you call me a stupid ass nigga and my toss my letters in the trash? I know you get them, some of them I walked to your apartment and shoved under the door." Jason tries not to breath too deeply, it hurts too bad and coughing is definitely a no-no!
Try to act surprised when the insurance company calls.... okay."
Doneisha walks forward toward her ex-husband, "Bullshit! I am so tired of your lies and fucking bull...." Doneisha can now see his face in the moon's light. There was swelling and blood coming from his mouth, she could see the dried blood on his face, she pauses wondering what happened to him. "Tell your momma.... he refrains and tightens the grip on his chest, "tell that bitch she made herself right about me." He looks into Doneisha's eyes, "Could you walk by and not look back? I don't want you to remember me this way. And don't call the cops! Just keep walking, acting like you don't give a damn about me!" Jason considers death has to feel less painful, he is now ready to welcome it. "Doneisha, please could you move on! I don't want to do this in front of you!" Doneisha figures this is just a ploy. "Jason, it's too fucking cold out here for this shit, what did "she" do? Call you on your fucking bullshit too? You look like shit! Did she put you out? Is this your cry for help?" She looks at Jason cynically, I need to get to our baby, remember him? Oh yeah, he's the one you don't take care of! When, or If you hit the water, since you are fucking lying about jumping too! I hope that dirty ass river freezes off of your fucking balls so you can't make more kids to not take care of!" Doneisha walks by never looking back, she wipes away her tears promising he will never see her cry over him.
Jason takes his last look at the woman he loves, again not understanding her meaning. With his last pain filled crying breath, "God forgive me!" He lets go of the rail. Something tells Doneisha to turn around, her eyes nearly pop from their sockets. Before she could process what she just witnessed she heard the splash.