The Great Race War Detente of 2014

June 27, 2014 at 10:04 am (Cussed Dumbers, That's not funny...)

It had been a month since my altercation with Kevin, the dude who looks like the butt-baby of Samuel L Jackson and Fred Sanford. As the days passed, he became bolder. He would walk past, eyeing me and grinning. He would peek around the corner, and I would pretend not to see him, then watch in case he approached. (He wouldn’t. He’d go pester the store across the street.) He had Festus, the customer who does more store security than any worker, on high-alert. In fact, I began to worry about Festus’ safety.

This had to stop. I cannot live like I am being hunted. I figure I had three choices. I could do nothing, and let him run rough-shod all over me and the store, proving him right that I am the pussy he claims I am. Or, I could call the cops, press charges for simple assault, he would be out of jail in four hours and REALLY hating me. Or,

I could just kill him with my bare hands inside the store.

I entertained these thoughts as I rolled to work. It was fantasy, sure, but I had to be ready if he came at me again. I know I put up way more of a fight than he expected, I also kept quiet about it. There were no police calls. I spoke with Master P, telling him whazzup in case things really did turn to shit, but I asked that I be able to handle it myself. Cultural differences, you know.

I pondered the various ways I’d dispatch him, given the opportunity. It would not be easy; he is an ex-Marine that did time at Leavenworth, if I believe the street talk. He looks the part. I’d have to be lucky, and ruthless.

I would also have to figure it out pretty quick, because right after I rolled up? So did he.

I was on the far side of the counter, the view obscured from the doorway. Kevin parked his bike without looking in, chained it to the door and entered. He looked me square in the eye.

I looked right back. “REALLY? You need to stay out of here…” I blocked the pathway into the store. All that bravado I had on the bus had vanished, and I was face-to-face with my nemesis. God-DAMN he looks bigger than he did when we scrapped…

“I’ll stay out of your store, but you need to get over your negative racist bullshit.” He turned to leave.

“Wait a minute. What *was* that all about, anyway?” Kevin was sober, and there were no witnesses. I might just get a straight answer.

“You keep treatin’ a nigger like a nigger. I ain’t never stole nothing from nobody, yet you always watchin’ me like I do.”

“It’s kinda why I’m here. It’s my job.” We’d stopped shouting at each other by now.

“Well, you give that negative crap to a white man he’ll hand you your ass, too. You’ll see.”

“For the record, I never accused you of stealing. I kicked you out because you’re always talking shit at me when I’m trying to run the man’s business. I gotta keep control.”

“I TALK SHIT! I”m a grown-ass man, it’s what I do. If you need shit talked at you, I’ll do it. And you needed shit talked to you.”

I thought for a second. “Fair enough. So what can we do to make this go away?”

He looked me square in the eye. “I respect you. Don’t disrespect me and we be fine.”

“Seems simple enough.” I offered to shake hands. He offered a fist-bump. I bumped. He didn’t even smack me in the face with his fist. I offered my hand one more time. He looked at if again, offered another bump. “I’ll take it. So, are we done?”

“We’re done.” He went out, fetched his bicycle, and crossed the street to get the paper towel he’d originally came in for. We paid each other no mind as he crossed back.

The pressure release was enormous. Suddenly I was dancing on air. For a little while, I don’t feel like prey being watched. I told Rain, who knows Kevin. When I finished, she said, “Yeah, he been asking a lot of people about you. Did you guys dap?”

“God I hope not. What’s a dap?”

She bumped knuckles with me. “Did he do that?”

“Yeah, twice. I offered to shake hands, but he wouldn’t go that far. I wasn’t looking for love, just a cease-fire.”

“If he dapped ya, you’re cool. He don’t shake hands with nobody, not even the brothers. And he won’t touch women at all. He weird like that.” Rain seemed to know.

I spent the rest of the night smiling and being more of the Mr Whipple people expect to see, instead of the frowning, nervous hippie I have been. I even kept my composure when Festus said quietly, “Boxer on the right…”

I looked over his shoulder, and approaching was cracked-out Spike Lee, the crazy dude who beat up Uncle Cliffy on the news and punched me back in March. It was Festus, Rain and me, standing in front of the door. Spike Lee walked up to us and asked Festus, “Are you working tonight?”

“I’m working tonight,” I told him.

He looked at me with recognition, not a bit of animosity or fear. “Have you read the log today? What does it say?”

Of course I had no idea what he was talking about. So I thought for a second and said, “I don’t know.” I smiled softly.

“Well, find out and I’ll check back in.” He wandered off whistling.

“ALL RIGHTY THEN,” said Rain in a loud voice.

She was immediately shushed by both me and Festus, who quickly told her, “That’s the other guy who hit him. Keep him distracted and moving. We don’t want him hanging out…”

Having Spike come by and be cool was the cherry on top of the day. While I trust neither of them any farther than I can throw them, I can at least walk home without doing the crackhead shuffle. (Three steps, look over shoulder. Repeat.)

Peace of mind, not piece of mind.

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