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Monday, August 9, 2010

Bliss (episode 5: The AfterShock)

Charmayne laid in her bed, half asleep and half shell shocked from last night’s fiasco. Her body wouldn’t move. She couldn’t help thinking that her dreams, and for all intents and purposes- her life, were over. Done.

“Somebody get me a Burger King name tag and a block of welfare cheese, because I’m never gonna amount to shit”, she thought.

Downstairs her mother sipped her Sanka and skimmed through the newspaper, searching for the lottery results. She was surprisingly wide awake, seeing as to how she stayed up waiting for Charmayne to get home, then sat up and listened through the bedroom wall as Charmayne cried herself to sleep. Between her thirteenth sip of Joe, and page 5B of the “Metro” section, Ms. Alexander got the urge to go upstairs and ask Charmayne what had happened. This urge came half out of parental instinct, and half out of genuine interest. She secretly prayed that the sobbing she heard were from tears of joy. Why hadn’t she gone into Charmayne’s room and asked what was wrong right when she heard her? Again, Ms. Alexander was left to question her own parenting skills. She began to wonder whether or not she was truly qualified to mold the mind of a teenage girl. As she contemplated going up to Charmayne’s room, there was a knock on the front door.

“Who is it?” Ms. Alexander often used a fake “proper” accent to answer doorbells and telephones. She called it her “white folk” voice.

“Cleveland Police, ma’am,” a stern voice responded.

When you’re Black, in Cleveland and the Police knock on your door at 8:00 in the morning- no matter what you have or haven’t done- your first thought is “what the fuck?”. I don’t mean “what the fuck?”- in the form of a question. I mean “WHAT THE FUCK?”- affirmative.

“What the fuck?” she uttered as she unlatched the two dead bolts, one chain lock and the doorknob lock. “What can I do for you, officer?”

“Yeah, does this young lady live here?” he asked. His breathing was heavy. He was a big white dude. He sort of looked like the father from that show Roseanne. He reached into his pocket and pulled out Charmayne’s ID.

“What the fuck?” now it was in the form of a question, with inflection on the word “fuck”, so Ms. Alexander’s voice went up a few octaves as to express her extreme confusion. “Yes she does sir, why?” she stammered.

“Can you tell her I need to have a word with her,” Roseanne’s husband was now turning red in the face.

Now, keep in mind- Ms. Gwendolyn Alexander is a very intelligent woman. She’s well versed on the “Black” struggle. So when a 'cracker ass white man' comes knocking at her door at 8:00 in the damn morning, asking for her daughter, her mind instantly rewinds to a time when a white man, just like this 'redneck asshole' who stood before her- would rape and batter young Black women for no reason. Angela Davis began to speak through her.

“What for? Huh? What could you possibly have to discuss with my seventeen year old daughter? My seventeen year old straight “A” student, daughter- mind you?” ,

Defiance swelled in her chest....

“Well, her 'A' is going 'straight' to prison- unless she has a really good alibi ,” Capt. Redneck responded sarcastically.

Shock deflated her chest.....

“Charmayne, get your ass down here. NOW!” Ms. Alexander was screaming at the top of her lungs. Between this cop, and this bad ass girl- somebody was gonna get dealt with.

Charmayne slowly came down the stairs. She was wearing the same clothes that she had on when she'd left home the night before, except now they weren’t as elegant. Now, instead of looking like a hot young woman who was ready for social and monetary success, she looked like a really young girl who had been up all night crying.

“What?” she said rhetorically, not even noticing Whitey McWhiteman at the door.

Ms. Alexander opened the door wide, deliberately revealing the officer.

“Explain.” Ms. Alexander stated, as her arms folded into pre-ass whooping position.

“Explain what?” Charmayne was genuinely confused.

“Charmayne, may I see your ID?” the officer already seemed impatient.

“I’m in my house, what do you need to see my ID for?” (a very valid question).

“Just show the man your ID,” Ms. Alexander was shaking uncontrollably.

Charmayne smacked her lips and mumbled under her breath as she went in her pocket. “Stupid ass pig waking me up..” Checking her other pocket. “..its ‘cuz I’m Black I bet..” Frantically checking her back pockets. Nothing.

“It’s not there because we found it,” the officer stated bluntly.

“Oh, thanks,” Charmayne had a moment of sincere gratitude. All this time, she’d thought that this officer was coming to harass her. He was returning her ID. How nice…

“We found it in the passenger seat of a stolen car last night.”

Her heart stopped.

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