welcome back to the rotten apple

I got off the subway for my first jaunt in brooklyn in more than half a year. I crossed the street on the way to a picnic with Wen-jay and friends when a woman cut off opposing traffic to make a left turn and almost ran over my toes as I crossed legally. I hit her car with my hat and yelled asshole. I looked into a face distorted with rage behind the window screaming “Don’t you even fucking say anything” and wagging her finger at me. I heard her continue to yell and pull over a half block up. I kept walking and a kindly black man with a fro said, “Look. She’s coming for you. Get out of here boy. She’s crazy and there’s a black guy in the car waiting to see what will happen.” I look back and she’s walking towards me ugly and fast.

So I run. I guess you’re supposed to feel ashamed of that but I still feel good. What am I supposed to be with a crazy bitch in the projects? She gave up after half a block and turned around shouting filth at me. My watchful savior came up and said, “Man, she had a razor in her hand. I saw it when she was going by. She was going to get close and then slash you across the face.”

“Damn it. I’ve been gone six months and this is the welcome I get.”


It took me aback that this was his first thought and replied, “No just travel.”

“Well, you should get out of here. She might come looking for you.”

“I’m disappearing into the park.”

“You got people in there?”

I think of the waiting hipsters and say, “not really.”

“Well, good luck. You owe me one.”

“Yes, I do. I’ll be watching for you.”

He waves as I cross the street and an SUV drives past with men yelling “you’re dead whitey.”

They don’t stop but I keep my hand on my mace until I find my friends. It took awhile to get the bad thoughts out of my head. Winning a game of chess helped.


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Lex Pelger


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