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Dexter Brown
Or the Non-Token Negro of the Filthy Few
Dexter Brown was walking downtown, actually beyond downtown, further than the I-83 dead-end which hipster homesteaders used to escape their Baltimore neighborhoods, none of whom would ever consider for a moment sending their pale children—if they had any—to the place where Dexter Brown was headed. For Dexter, a short, slight, big-brained fellow, had determined that he would be the first member of the Brown family to wear a cap and gown and get himself a degree. Normally a negro would set his sights on Morgan State University, an historic African American University, a place of much more prestigious account than where he was headed, Coppin State. But Coppin State had one advantage over Morgan State—it did not have its own murder rate! Four people a year were killed at Morgan State.
Not this black man, no, not today!
Dexter kept setting one foot ahead of the other thinking of the old days when he used to make bombs for the BGF as part of their afterschool program, which was administered by a nice lady who used grants from Johns Hopkins University to do community outreach and mediation, and was also the sister of the founder of the BGF. He really figured now, that it was a sorry commentary on the state of African American Criminal Enterprise, that they had to recruit 5th grade science students to build their unconventional ordinance.
“Tap her light,” was what he used to say when he’d hand over the pipe-bombs to the carrier, as his research had shown that such was the phraseology of hard rock miners in the Western U.S. when they’d drive in charges to blow a mountainside apart. It seems so strange that he was going to school to be a computer programmer and would never really end up blowing up anything after so many childhood dreams of bringing down a town like Samson with a brain. Of course, back then he had gone by a different name, not by this government name. And that foolishness was all behind him. He had never been arrested for anything, had never stolen, got drunk or even smoked weed, let alone slung dope, and he was headed upward and outward from this soul-eating place.
Jubilee here I come, Dexter Brown, in his cap and gown!
Under his arm was the Manilla folder with his complete student loan application within. He just had to walk up to that nice lady at the desk and…
What, no, no, it can’t be.
Keep walking!
Dexter Brown was walking strong, headed downtown to take the first step in his ascent up from the—
“Carbon Mike! Nigga’ what wit da uptight? All a sudden you don’ know a nigga’? Huh—Nigga I’m shoutin’ at you!”
It was the old Reservoir Hill Crew, “his boyz” from back in the day, who took every coat, every phone and every MP3 he had ever owned, taken his lunch money, his actual money and even his hair pick back when he tried to grow an afro for a minute, all in good faith, all as a down payment for the horrible ass whoopings they were going to make sure he never experienced, for the very salient point of fact that they were the only motherfuckers in the hood who whooped little negroes asses!
Really, now, now?
There is truly no God…or, there is and he hates me.
He stopped, his shoulders slouched forward and his Manilla envelope seemed to wilt in despair as the Camry spun around before him with Ty behind the wheel and Jbardric [no shit, his real name] stepped out of the back passenger side seat and put an arm around Dexter and walked him into the backseat between him and R-Funk, and T-Bone Slice turned around from the passenger seat, waving around his 1911 .45 APC as an oration aid, and waxed his most eloquent, “Car-bon Mike! What up son! Goo ole tap ‘er light—ain’t dat right! Really, nigga, what up?”
“Come on man, you know. My little sister Sabrina your ho!”
“Oh, it ain’t like dat son! We pass dat shit aroun’!”
The car erupted in cackling laughter and Dexter went numb.
If I had a detonator right now I’d send this shit-can into the stratosphere.
T-Bone Slice then pointed the .45 at him and said, “Really, Nigger, a nigga wanz ta know.”
“Goin’ to Coppin State, to put in my student loan application.”
“Ma man! Terence ‘ill be glad ta hear dat. Shieeee—boyz, dis big-brained nigga gratulate from dat shit, en he’ll be buildin’ nukes en we’ll rule da wide whorl!”
Laughter of a more sardonic type now infected his ears.
T-Bone read something dark there and said, in a consolatory tone, “Den we’ll take you to yo school, big-brained nigga—fuckin’ nimbus from the planet synbus! Go on, TY, get on down da road—nigga gotz a thirst ta know!”
Wow, maybe this is just a hello for old time’s sake. Maybe I’ll make up for things and be nice. I mean, “Hey, Ty, nice ride man, where’d you get it?”
They all laughed hysterically and then passed the school in a loop—hell it’s at a cul de sac—and sped back out towards Reservoir Hill and Dexter went numb again. It’s what he did when things went bad, like when Mamma’s boyfriend used to come into his room at night and pull up the sheet and climb under…
His ears were ringing, when they stopped the car and piled out, taking the keys with them in case he was going to try anything smart: “Blam, blam, ba-blam, ba-lam, blam, ba-blam!” went the report of the heavy handgun from the porch, blood spattering the shattered storm window T-Bone had shot through, slaughtering the ten-year-old girl who had answered the door. Then the whole crew was through the door and the clip was emptied inside. Then a another clip was emptied and the crew was running down the sidewalk towards the car, T-Bone stopped, looked in and said, “Thanks, Carbon Mike!”, tossed the hand gun on his lap and ran off with the others.
People were standing around looking at him.
People were screaming.
Police sirens were screaming.
He was being dragged out of the car, punched, kicked, stepped on, screamed at and cuffed.
A big cop was dragging him from asphalt to the cop car and Dexter showed him his student loan application with a nod of his head and a plea for sanity, and the cop took it, said, “I think I’ll wipe my black ass with this tonight. Who hasn’t been on their way to fill out their student loan application on the way to a murder, “huh?”
And the crowd of cops laughed as harshly as T-Bone and his crew had.
Car-jacking. Murder. Murder in the commission of vehicular theft. Murder again. Possession of a firearm. Discharge of a firearm. Possession or 26-rounds of ammunition—that alone was another 26 months…
Dexter would be eligible for probation in 2076.
Well, he would be able to get that degree…
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NCApril 29, 2020 5:40 AM UTC

Nothing quite like "keep'n ur own" down to make you feel better about your self.
responds:April 29, 2020 11:38 AM UTC

Dexter Brown is a composite of numerous men I knew in Baltimore who I just had to represent in an heroic light in this novel.