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The African
On the LZ, Friday June 9, 11:03 P.M.

I offload from the #55 for what turned out to be the last time, as the Mass transit system has been completely reorganized to deal with decreased patronage by those of us trying to survive the ongoing Purge.

I step off the back of the bus, next to the trouble shelter in front of the thrift store, the bus shelter used by the homeless, hookers, dope fiends and the drunk, the shelter where one catches the last bus to Hell at this time of night, the bus that ends in Northeast Baltimore at Sinclair and Moravia.

Across the street, in front of the Aldis, is the transfer shelter which people actually use to change busses, but rarely after dark.

An African American couple, heavily and baggily clothed in the heat, fake-haired, sky writing at night tattooed, clown-shooed, their scowling faces lit by their smart phones, sit there, glaring across the street at the occupant of the trouble shelter.

He is six feet and 220 pounds of well-framed man, with a highly domed head, shaven and shined, dark-skinned and brooding, wearing sandals, belted khaki cargo shorts and a white wife beater. His arms are crossed as he sits sullenly and glares back at the others in the shelter across the street in silent observance of some bitter feud.

As I off load and take in the situation while shouldering my pack and leaning on my T-cane, he opens his eyes in astonishment, stands at attention and says to me, “Sir?”

I look at him and heft my cane, wondering if I could lay this prime buck out with one stroke and thinking not and he softens his face, “Excuse me, sir. Might you have the time?”

[ITALLIC]Yes, the White Devil has appeared in a preternatural cloud of smoke, I think to myself.

Cane in right hand, I look around 360 degrees as I slide my flip phone out—noticing the hoodrats across the street viewing a video on their smart phone—flip it open and answer as I close and pocket it and scan 180 degrees for movement, “Eleven-o-three.”

“Thank you, sir and a good night to you, sir.”

He then returns to his sullen scowl, crossing his arms and regarding the mated pair of high-tech hoodrats across the street with a strong animus. I cross the asphalt river, pass the stop, up into the darkened lot and wonder how many adventures will this African have before discovering that Baltimore was the wrong city at which to make landfall in this dying nation.

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