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Coming Home to a Toddling Soul
[written on 10/23/19]
I woke in the rain, having nodded off at the stop, boarding the bus, thanking the driver who refused to answer me when I asked him what the fare was, and then faced the dozen hate—painted faces, returned their feral glares one to each with my one good eye as I walked back to sit next to a slouching ape on the back bench seats and then returned to my nap as the lesser savages left the back deck to His Ebon Majesty and my pale deviltry.
Back in the seat of hate, the heart of darkness, I drill knife draws in my mind as the sprawling, pig-eyed brute checks me out under his sodden hood and then doze off, deciding to wakeup with my hand in his guts if it comes to that. Of course it doesn’t. I’m feeling strong, not walking with a cane. The vultures of men are patient when they can sense that the enemy’s paws might conceal some claws.
Not a PIG in sight in Baltimore County or City for two hours. Policing is down. That is good. I decided to go armed always and butcher whoever accosts me in this godforsaken space.
After off loading from the second bus I run into two private mall cops who mark me as trouble—I suppose because I appear to be the opposite age and race of the demographic that has been conducting mob looting and brawling and pack hunting at their mall—and the CUNTs use their cars to shadow me and block me from crossing their sacred parking lots and keep me in the exterior drive lane where I am drenched by speeding motorists.
A half hour later, Megan let me in the door and helped me get off the drenched clothes while her granddaughter, Emma, a super cute four-year-old with no daddy and no granddaddy and no uncles, nothing but aunts, looked away, half afraid it wasn’t true, that I, like those other men, would not appear when announced. She had that look on her face that must have been etched there so many times when daddy had called and said he would be right over, only to find his way to a supply of heroin, or soboxtin, or ambient, or coke, or crack, or perkasets, or oxies, or methadone, only to never show up and leave her waiting.
Megan said, “Thank God you’re here. I can open the door and let some light in and not have to worry about the coons. I drill with Emma for when they come either front or back, to hop up into my arms and hold on while I run the other way.”
Emma smiled up and asked softly, “You come in da rain Jim, from da big woods?”
“I told Mom Mom I’d come, so here I am.”
She ran and hugged my hips and then her eyes got big and she pointed towards the kitchen, “We have glue!”
[Megan had clued me in by phone that Emma was getting in trouble after the discovery of the wondrous sticky substance with the smiling cow on the bottle needed for her preschool projects.]
“You know, Emma, you can never have too much glue! Glue is great. Glue can do almost anything and solve almost any problem!”
Emma shouted, “Glue!” and ran for the kitchen with her hands waving overhead as her grandmother looked me in the eyes and muttered, “Oh, fuck me—this girl is already wearing my old ass out.”
I cut out cartoon pictures and calendar pages for Emma’s freestyle art until lunch time, when she refused to eat but regaled me with a tale of her not being aloud to eat what her two new step brothers ate, who get candy and cookies and such. She was allowed to load the Halloween bucket with candy but not eat any, so, when she obediently agreed with her mommy to not eat any before they left for work and school, she pointed out, “Mommy, you hair funny, look!”
In a panic, her pretty mommy darted to the bathroom mirror to check on her hair arrangement and Emma scooped out a triple handful of candy from the bucket into her backpack and bragged, “I sneaked it!”
I assured her that parents were only in charge by accident, that grandparents—who were the natural allies of kids—should be in charge, and that counter measures must necessarily be taken against tyrants…
On the way up to show me her new “ladder bed” she pointed to a room which I discerned belonged to her stepbrother and whispered, “Any trash, throw you trash behind that bed, that one—got it?”
“Got it.”
“Dey say me got no daddy but I got no trash—not like dem, dey have trash! Sides—I got me a Jim. Look at me ladder bed!”
Emma then scaled the ladder of this very well-made bunk bed, then came back down, then climbed up the back end like a monkey and showed how she could touch the ceiling, that she was taller than me and that the ceiling fan spins just fine by hand and you don’t need the silly old wall switch.
I made a “Bad Witch castle,” out of the bed by hanging blankets and towels around it. She then sequestered herself within and detailed me to be her flying monkey and “hunt Dorothy, “get rid of that dumb dog” and drive off wolves that might menace the grounds as well. She had a number of wands with various powers one of which worked when one said, “Beep-bop, ba-beep-bop, boo!”
This shrunk wolves and such down small enough for this old flying monkey to stomp on them. I was told I was a good wolf-stomping flying monkey even if I didn’t have wings.
When Mom Mom saw me come downstairs as a wingless flying monkey and be detailed to walk on all fours like an elephant while Emma played Jungle Book, she laughed out loud, as one of my denigrations for the local hoodrats used to be that very aerial designation.
Then came exercise time, as Emma thought I could become less fat if I did her regimen, which consisted of a competition with me following the leader in floor exercises, foremost among them being a standing jungle gym that she scampered up and down like a monkey. Her spinning dismounts were impressive, since she has been taking gymnastics along with her ballet.
She tied me in toe touches, crushed me in American and traditional splits, actually humiliated me in pushups, tied me in crunches…
Then she threw down the gauntlet, did a back roll into a handstand and said, “How many of these can you do?”
I laid down and touched my hands to the floor over my head and said, “Like this?”
“No, silly billy, like this, and she did handstand after handstand…”
After building her a towel and blanket fort behind the angle in the sectional it came time to leave. Emma helped me tie my boots and then, when I put my overshirts back on and shouldered the backpack she ran to the storm door her Mom Mom had just unlocked and locked it, heroically barring my exit with her tiny body, saying, “I no wan’ you ta leave, Jim.”
I patted her on the head and told her I’d be back and then she put her little fist in her mouth and began to bite it and cry, so Megan picked her up and hugged her and locked the door behind me, just before the sky opened up and the rain came down in sheets.
Three hours later, with boots full of water walking thankfully hoodrat free streets I found myself wondering what was going to rain on that little girl in this accursed world.
How the Ghetto Got My Soul
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Add Comment
AmericanDagdaDecember 26, 2019 7:41 AM UTC

If you're ever in need of a shallow ditch for her good for nothin' daddy to rot in let me know.
responds:December 26, 2019 11:46 PM UTC

it makes a soul simmer to see that fear to hope a man kept his word etched on a child's face.