Click to Subscribe
▶  More from Harm City
Passing in the Night
Friday, 11:03 P.M., 4/28/17, Stemmers Run and Old Eastern Avenue

Ahead the bus stops are empty, three passengers beside myself on the bus.

Three large, innocent, unarmed, teens of color, in their twenties, one small one palming a half-open folding knife, swagger in a state of utter innocence, devoid of all a agency, like beautiful night plants turned toward the invisible moon for their nourishment.

I signal for this stop and step forward. The bus driver, and Kendra, who stands up by the front door talking with this handsome fellow, looked at me as if I were insane. I said, "This stop."

He lets the bus glide further past the thugs than he is supposed to, as if he is trying to give me a chance to ready myself for the attack or re-board. This is the night of the first hot day in Baltimore. Every fool knows what happens on the night of the first hot day.

I slung my back pack half on to cover my left side, which faced them, slid my right under my shirt to the skinning knife, and looked up at the stars as they dimmed behind the scudding clouds.

I held my head tilted back so I couldn't be KO'd with a base of the skull punch. I could be sentry choked, but that would feed into my reverse grip draw and I'd be carving his guts out and stepping around through the hold.

The three big turds of the African American night came on heavy-footing it on the concrete, slapping and pounding their big sneakered feet as I closed my eyes and grinned into my pathetic little eternity.

Than that sly, evil, weak-kneed word slid across the pavement to my old forever-squeaking ear, "No."

Then two heavy sets of feet slapped to an angry stop as a lighter, longer, more considered tread veered off diagonally behind me to the darker hunting ground on Old Eastern Avenue, across the Thrift Store parking lot.

"Say what, nigger?" came a less considered, blubbery, belligerent hiss from my left.

"No is no," hissed a smaller, sharper voice from my left as it's owner broke off, stepped down over the curb into the lot to my back and his short, light, but quick foot steps followed the other.

The big blubbery voice to my left now reduced itself to an unintelligible guttural and shuffled off heavily after its more evolved fellows, like an unseen chain of humanity walking up the evolutionary ascent of man pictured on my old schoolroom door.

I opened my eyes to a cloud veiled sky, not a star visible in the evil sky.

I looked ahead.

All was empty, exceot for a nervously pacing shadow in flowered hospital housekeeping slacks thirty feet east of the connecting bus stop.

I crossed the street to stand at the stop, wondering if that were Eunice—for my ranged vision is growing blurred these days—and if she would return to the stop instead of pacing in the head lights at the corner, but she did not.

Minutes later, as the #4 banked around off of Old Eastern, the figure scampered to where I stood at the stop and slipped on in front of me. Like Eunice, she was an African housekeeper, but was not nearly so intelligent. She nuzzled into a front seat like an animal snug in its burrow, next to a very pretty, plump, equatorial black medical orderly who batted her large intelligent eyes at me. Both of them tried to ignore the white trash, drug addict, piece-of-blonde-shit who stood in my way and disgraced his race as he regaled the silent bus driver with his tails of criminal antics.

Over the short ride I apologized to them with my eyes and when it was time to leave, rudely shoulder the punk aside as he whined girlishly and the bus driver grinned.

With the young men of my race more and more like this, no wonder the black bucks have grown so used to hunting my wilting kind.

Waking Up in Indian Country: Harm City: 2015

Add Comment