Content Warning: Murder.
It was 1963. I remember those four numbers clearly. The day was just the perfect day for a kill.
I was just a little kid. Couldn’t have been more than 7. I was walking with my Dad down the road of Dealey Plaza. We were trying to find an ice cream place. So far, no luck. Of course, we couldn’t just pull out our phones and look it up on Google Maps, it was 1963. Phones were invented 10 years after.
Dad and I rounded another corner, I searched the narrow left side of the street, while my Dad searched the right.
“I don’t think there’s an ice cream shop here, unless you're looking for lightbulbs to cool you down.” Dad joked, hoping to put me out of my misery. I was already upset by the fact no one came to my birthday party. Yes, today was my birthday. Mom and Dad were trying to invite as many people as possible, but only Lil’ Old Rita showed up. We quickly shooed her away. Lil’ Old Rita is our annoying neighbor. Even Mom and Dad don’t like her. Somehow, she discovered I was having a birthday party.
“B-bu-I thought there was! Mickey told me there was an ice cream shop here! J-just ‘round the corner, Dad. I promise.” I pleaded, even though I had no hope left. We’d been walking for nearly the morning now. Dad glanced at me.
“Alright, Sport. If you say so,” Dad always called me Sport. My real name is Tim, though. Dad whipped his sweaty forehead with one hand, and followed me. We rounded the corner, and standing there was an ice cream shop. To you, it may seem like “Oh, just an ice cream shop, whatever.” But to me, it was a passageway to heaven. Dad’s jaw dropped. I forced myself to hide my shock and turned to my Dad.
“See, Dad? Never lose faith in your kid.” I trotted towards the ice cream shop, my head held high. As I opened the gateway to heaven, a cold air rushed to greet me. Heavenly. I took a deep breath in, the smell of chocolate ice cream striking me. I grinned at Dad and confidently walked up to the counter. I examined the display of ice cream and pointed to the strawberry-chocolate-chip-ice-cream.
“Cone or bowl?” The person asked, giving me a sweet smile.
“Bowl,” I replied. Dad stood behind me, fishing out his wallet.
“That’ll be 3.99, please.” The person said. “Hold up, toppings?”
“Your ice cream will be with you shortly,” with that, the person began scooping ice cream into a cone. I turned around to look at Dad.
“I got large so we could share.” I explained.
“How thoughtful, Timmy. But I don’t want ice cream,” Dad gently said. I could tell he was keeping the longiness of the ice cream from his voice.
“No, Dad. I can’t finish a large all by myself.” I retorted.
“Oh, alright then.” Dad gave me a defeated look. The man behind the counter handed me my ice cream.
“Have a good day.” The man called as we left the store. Dad and I chose a shady bench next to the park to eat. I picked out the chocolate chips, as what an 8-year-old would do.
After, Dad took me to the John F. Kennedy parade. John was riding in a convertible, waving to as many people as possible. He spotted me and asked the person to stop the car. As he was preparing to get out of the car, a clear, loud, gun-shot rang out.
It startled me, but I think it startled Dad more.
Everyone on the street stopped. We all watched the body of John F. Kennedy slump into his wife’s arms. Silence fell amongst us. Perhaps people were grieving, perhaps we were in shock. It didn’t matter. The silence was pierced and people began panicking. The police who were nearby rushed forward. I heard the faint sobs of John’s wife. Then, a building began smoking. The assassin had set the building on fire so we had two problems going on at once.
Siren wailed in the distance. The fire department and ambulance were coming. I suspected some detectives, too. I didn’t know where the bullet came from. North, East, South, or West. The bullet had flown out of nowhere and killed John F. Kennedy. I turned to Dad.
“Aren’t you scared?” I whispered. Dad looked at me, his eyes brimmed with anger and sadness.
“Why would I be scared, Sport? How could I be scared of murder when John F. Kennedy did so much for us?” Dad exclaimed. I could detect the anguish in his voice. John F. Kennedy was my Dad’s idol.
“Everyone, hands up!” A police officer ordered through a megaphone. Everyone’s hand shot up instantly. Several cops ran around, inspecting everyone. Firefighters put out the fire that was raging in the building. Ambulances grabbed the people that Firefighters had carried back from the burning building.
Police screamed into their walkie-talkies. Smoke got into my lungs. Everything was overwhelming. Dad tugged at me.
“C’mon Sport, it’s not safe here.” Dad muttered, hanging his head.
“Is that it? Who murdered John F. Kennedy, then?” A young, childish girl voice asked.
“Well, of course, we didn’t know back then. But now, of course we know.” I chuckled.
“Who?” The group of children asked eagerly. I looked out the window, taking in the bright day. A bird sang happily. I relished the moment of silence.
“Who?” Someone asked again.
“Oh, shut up. Give him time!” A girl with pigtails snapped. I allowed them to argue for as long as they wanted, my old, raspy voice wouldn’t make a sound with a dozen kids' voices.
“Oh my god, guys! Shut up!” A boy exclaimed, elbowing someone.
“It was Lee Harvey Oswald.” I replied.
“Did you know him?” A boy inquired.
“Know him…? I…” I knew him, of course. In fact, he was my Dad.