Friday, November 8, 2013

My America

It's 11:30 and the wife and kids are asleep. You make yourself a sandwich and cue up The Walking Dead, the show you're only allowed to watch after everyone else has fallen asleep. There's a sickness in the prison, and you've had to wait three nights to figure it out. You step outside to have a cigarette. It's a pleasant evening, cool but not yet cold.

Something catches your eye across the street. A car that doesn't belong in your neighborhood. A woman sitting in the driver seat. A man digging through the trash cans that have been neatly placed curbside for the early morning pick up. The man returns to the car with a plastic container of one of your neighbors take-out. He hands it to the woman in the car and she sniffs it, examines it, and eats it.

You think to yourself that you could just give them the sandwich you made sitting on your counter. People shouldn't be eating out of trash cans in our America. The woman gets out of the car and you notice she is unmistakably pregnant. She throws her garbage in the street and heads the other direction to check the trash cans on the South side of the block.

You think to yourself about the baby. You remember you got some cash for the babysitter and still have $30 in your wallet. When you're done with your cigarette, you'll give it to her. And you can make yourself another sandwich.

Lost in your daze, you've failed to realize the man has come over to your side of the block. He's at the neighbor's trash can. They still don't see you standing on your dark porch. You put the cigarette out and turn back to grab the sandwich when something new comes out; a flashlight.

Your mood changes as the man shines the flashlight into your wife's car parked on the street. You watch in horror as the man tries the door to the car. Luckily it's locked. He tries one of the rear doors. Locked as well. You loudly step on one of the dry leaves that litter your porch. He notices and looks up and shines the light on you.

Although blinded, you can see his shoulders slump and his head hang downward. You say nothing. The light goes down to his feet and you can see his face. A face that can only say one thing: shame.

He shuffles his feet, no more than 15 feet from you, lets out a loud whistle and you catch the pregnant woman waddling back to the car. He backs away, still staring at you.

You reach into your back pocket for your wallet. He must think you're pulling a weapon because he runs across the street to his car. The woman has made her way into the driver's seat and started the engine. You yell out the only thing you can think of.


You have money in your hand and you step off your porch to them, but they speed away.

The tail lights start to disappear at the end of the block as you stand in the middle of the street with $30 dollars in your hand. The car weaves back and forth down the narrow street. Maybe they thought you were trying to write down or memorize their license plate and weaving would distract you. The car turns the corner and is gone.

And the only thing you can think of is "Boy or Girl".


This is not my America.

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