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‘Our Whiteman’
Monday Night, May 1st, 2017

The breeze was moist and pleasant.

The moon was a slight crescent of shadow barely glimmering enough to illuminate the clouds in front of it, already in the western sky.

No one was on the street.

Having given up my cane for an umbrella I unfurled it to catch all of three drops on the way to the stop.

At the stop I saw Tiny dancer’s brother, leaving the family house with his girlfriend and walking her across the street to the bus stop. He would take her home—the only two on the next to last #55 to Towson, and then return on the last #55 out of Towson. I have watched this kid grow up for six years. He has held a job for the last three. He seems to be 18 now, out of school. He once toldhis friends to behave around me when they began acting a fool at the stop.

We have never said a word, just nodded in passing.

His father works, drives an air conditioning mechanic’s van.

His mother works, drives a minivan.

His little sister no longer dances on the sidewalk under the street light.

His older sister comes and goes with her toddler.

His girl is pretty—in a goofy-black girl doing emo girl kind of way, with big mickey mouse sunglasses and a radio headset on at 10:16 p.m.

I stand there in my ragged jacket and jeans, bush hat and scruffy white beard, irritated that I carried this damned purple umbrella that my roommate’s girlfriend left behind.

They are now standing across the street from me, at the stop I off-load on in the morning. He stands in the gutter, her on the curb, so they can listen to the music squeaking tiny-like from her headset.

She looks at my, points at me with one wild pig tail, and blurts, “Is he cool?”

He shushes her embarrassed and hisses, “That’s our Whiteman.”

I recall stories of “pet Indians” from my frontier reading and smile as I step out into the street to stop my bus.

The driver, who previously—a month or more ago—seemed disinclined to stop for me out of some dislike, shook himself, yawned and said, “I’m sorry man, I was looking for you.”

He then nods to the empty bus behind him, indicating a memory of bus patrons past, and says, yawning, “I’m driving so slow keeping to the schedule with no passengers that it’s hypnotizing me. I wouldn’t pass you—you’re my good luck man.”

Feeling like something between Encino Man and the last Tasmanian Tiger, I take a seat and we both nod along until Kendra gets on at the hospital and begins talking to him about the soap opera they both watch.

Not a soul is at the once bustling major transit point, where the #4, #23 [second busiest line in all of Maryland], #40, #55 and #160 all connect, and I get off, feeling like the last man standing in a bad made for TV movie.

A white man with tatts and long, stinking dreadlocks, in cargo shorts and a wife beater offloads from the #40 and walks past me into the darkness, into another night in a hunted out human preserve.

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