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Night Train
A Magic Mulattress: Friday Night, 7/7/17


The moon-screen clouds hung quilted against the clear night, the growing moon shining bright at ten o'clock in the southern sky.

The dark-glossed cane, made by a man in that late summer world, rested heavy under my hand.

Only three souls crowd the coach, exchanged throughout the night, as if Fate were making change out of those old folks—all of us old—who navigated this night place in lonely ones.

The driver was a tall, silver-voiced mulatto woman, well-stocked with courtesy, and remindful of every soul to be careful, "Be safe out there," as they offloaded into a night eerie with quiet.

Tall and pretty, she thanks me for using her service as I pay.

At Overlea Station, two occupied police cruisers, stacked up at the geographic head of their precinct, wait for a call.

Other than the cops, the area is deserted, except for a small, wiry, blonde white man, his shorts hanging down in whiggerish fashion though belted tight and his hat worn redeemably forward.

He boards with a deeply creased face, old beyond his years, graven with the fear of what shall come after the cops roll off.

The lady in the driver's seat stops the bus and listens:

"Miss Driver, I have no money, got stuck after dark at the bar and got no safe way, no phone. Could you please, Miss, help me to White Marsh?"

I have seen many a man put off at this same juncture of systemic rules and humanity.

His face creases in real worry as he stands beneath her glass-encased seat.

"Don't worry, sir. The last bus of the night leaves no one stranded. This is a public service. You will transfer at Franklin Square. Have a seat, and thank you for riding with the MTA."

I saw her now in the dark reflection of the window, no longer merely pretty, but beautiful.

At Overlea High School, under summer construction, two feral hoodrats, a mere 14 years, wave down the bus from a non-stopping zone and she pulls over reluctantly, waiting for them to board. They bear one, a heavily laden North Face Backpack, another, a tool bag seemingly too heavy for its 100 pound bearer. To them alone, she is mildly, quietly, carefully discourteous. When they offload on Rossville Boulevard at an apartment complex, she looks after them, her face knit with suspicion.

Finally, as the deserted transfer point between the food market and the thrift store came greyly into view, I hefted my pack, with its weekend's worth of reading and writing material, nodded to the older woman sitting behind, regarding me as if I numbered among the ever-growing ranks of the insane, her mouth gaping at the stained, hawthorn pimp cane.

I stepped to the standee line.

When her bus stopped, she gave me a look that I took as worry, and I thanked her.

She looked at the cane Ishmael turned on his lathe, looked back up into my eyes with a queer expression I cannot place, and did not admonish me to be safe as she did with the others, but said, "Good night, sir."

Having said the perfect thing to complete me for the third leg of the night, the incongruent mother of all bus drivers, rolled her hissing coach off into the night, having done more to help me remain a man than I could have imagined, standing there on the saliva-patina concrete near the end of many lines.

Alone, except for the bum living within the racked shopping carts at the food market, I walked off easily along the cool, wide lane where I have been hunted so often, but on this night, feels [1] like my garden, cooled by the casement pond, its occupants honking low and sleepy beneath the waving trees, wondering at the closest thing to an ebony angel to emerge from the dying city behind.

Notes

1. Dear editor, not a tense mistake. As I write, days later, I can still feel it.

As you wish, as it is written. -DL

Welcome to Harm City, White-Boy

https://www.amazon.com/Welcome-Harm-City-White-Boy-Wednesday/dp/1519739850/ref=sr_1_26?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1499281642&sr=1-26&refinements=p_27%3AJames+LaFond

Narco Night Train Kindle Edition

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Add Comment
LaManoJuly 9, 2017 7:50 PM UTC

That's good to read.

A Harm City nighttime bus story where the ending doesn't make your ballsack shrink in empathy for what almost happened .... !
KoanicJuly 9, 2017 4:22 PM UTC

Hey James,

That magic mulattress mattress is why apartheid becomes blurrified!

Here's a proposed solution to your riddle of the racially variable theft rates for female supermarket clerks vs managers.

Essentially, white women and black women behave the same, except that each race has a different level of entitlement.

If a woman's status is below her level of entitlement, she feels neglected, slighted and discouraged, and will behave disloyally by stealing.

If her status is above her level of entitlement, she will exercise the privileges of royalty in a destructive manner that reflects an underlying insecurity that the position is earned and stable. It is instinctive looting behavior.

If her status is equal to her level of entitlement, she will sense a firm but fair patriarchal hand, and work hard and loyally to maintain her position in the female pecking hierarchy.

The white female entitlement level is manager. She feels she can easily get another checkout clerk job. She has a conceptual map of the path from clerk to manager.

The black female entitlement level is checkout clerk. A managerial role is like being African royalty. She has no conceptual map of the path from clerk to manager.

The black race is more r-selected and has an extra-strong looting response.

May you fall in battle not the saddle,

Koanic