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Stemmers Run, 4:45-5:00 A.M. Thursday, 8/1/17

As I walked up to the stop, a slightly thick man in his 20s was already there, wearing slacks, dress shoes, a windbreaker and shouldering a backpack, all navy blue to black, checking his smartphone and then stopping to greet me, "Good morning, sir."

JL: Good morning.

RI: Sir, what time does this bus come? I haven't been on the bus since they changed up. Until my wife's shift changes back I won't have a car and will be out here.

JL: Five.

RI: Oh no, it used to be 4:37

JL: The buses run more at night and less early in the morning now.

RI: Are they full?

JL: There's more of them, but mostly empty.

RI: I like that. I can't stand all that business with the teenagers.

JL: Young dudes don't take the bus anymore except before and after school. The stops are too dangerous after dark.

RI: Oh, no! It's coming out here now?

JL: From here, over to Towson and out to White Marsh, guys have been getting hit after work after dark. Down at the thrift store I've been tried three times this year. A couple weeks ago two dudes tried to take that green umbrella from me on Northern Parkway.

RI: No! this can't be—I can't be dealing with this. that's where I'm getting off, at Northern and Harford. Are you okay? They didn't get you?

JL: I usually carry a knife and have used the umbrella or cane to ward people off.

RI: My daddy always said to carry a knife and when they come for you to stab at least one of them, that you've got to stick one at least and make a stand.

JL: Just don't take the thrift store stop after dark and be alert and vigilant. Your big enough that just noticing people and staying cool should work.

RI: Oh, here it is, just when you said it would come. I won't be late for work after all. I'm Ritchie, sir.

[We shake hands.]

JL: James, nice to meet you, Ritchie. Just be careful and don't let your wife take the bus.

RI: Thank you, sir. Do you have enough? I can cover your fare. Look at this, hardly anyone on it! Just working folks, no trouble [black youths] at all. This is going to be so nice and I won't be using that thrift store stop tonight, [he must have a part time job, also] either.

[We board the bus]

RI: I can cover your fare, sir.

JL: Thanks, Ritchie, but I'm good.

RI: Have a good day then, sir.

RI: Take care, Ritchie.

What a difference a daddy makes.

Rubbing Out Palefaces

Moral Minority Survival at the End of Caucasian Time Paperback

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