February 4, 2017 by Fensic
“Stop pickin dey arse up!”
Dat was mih first clue ah was about tuh get trap.
No, I not meanin like ah man who wife cyatch him hornin she. Dat would be dead not trapped. De kind ah trap I torkin bout involve de bitter cold; flambeau-ready darkness an it only 5:30PM; ah crowded bus gettin over-crowded; ah ignorant man drinkin beer orn de bus an ah take out-order of Pineapple Fried Rice. Oh yeah, an since I was dey, me.
De openin shout came from de ignorant man who happen tuh be sittin right behind me orn de bus.
De bus-driver, knowin how cold it was outside an how long till de next bus, was stoppin at every bus stop an tryin tuh pick everybody up. Buh he had tuh keep beggin who standin in de bus tuh move back, move back. Is like once people get orn ah bus dey doesn’t care about how tryin tuh get orn at udder stops. Dat yell from dis fella at de bus-driver prove mih point.
Now I smart enough tuh know when people yellin shit against de grain, de larse ting yuh want tuh do is spin yuh head arong an look at dem. De, “what yuh arse lookin at,” yuh go get mean dey just re-directed dey anger at you an anyting could happen after.
In de reluctant shufflin ah feet de bus-driver plea get, somebody siddong next tuh de man. Ah wasn’t expecting tuh hear dem exchange pleasantries but dey did.
Dat noise de tab of ah can does make when yuh pull it back does be real loud when it happen in ah place yuh doh expect it, like ah bus. Ah smell beer, cheap beer. What I does call canal-water beer. Trinis know what ah mean.
“I’m a nigger.”
The admission come from right behind me.
“Excuse me,” was de startled response.
Mih ears open wide.
“I’m a nigger, a real nigger. I’m not African American. I am a nigger.”
An proud too, ah tort.
I did done know who was what in dat seat. Ah just hadn’t considered all de subtle variations.
“What are you”, came de rhetorical question from Mr. Ignorant.
De bus keep orn goin, stoppin, lettin orn more passengers, more pleas from de driver. My head lookin straight ahead an tuh de sides lil bit. Behind me? Never.
“What the fuck! You want to sit here?” You want me to move my shit?”
Ah hear plastic bags rufflin. Grumblin wid endless references to “shit”, or tuh be precise, “sheet”.
De person answer. Dey accent tell mih is not de same person from before buh ah cyar make out what dey sayin.
I want tuh macco so bard.
“Shut to fuck up, nobody could understand the sheet your ass saying.”
“Don’t touch me.”
De words was measured. Ah figure eef de drunk did pull ah knife, dis fella would ah go Crocodile Dundee orn he baxide.
White guy holdin his own, ah say tuh mihself.
“You want some of this? You want some of this! I’ll pop your ass right here!”
Dis eh no movie, ah trapped, ah tell mihself.
What eef dis drunk fool have a gun?
What eef he aim bard . . . Ah mean, look where ah sittin . . . de back ah mih head right dey wid de rest ah mih body attach.
Ah tryin hard tuh look like everybody else — unconcerned buh in mih mind ah practicin how tuh duck farse farse eef any shootin start.
Ah nudge mih bag wid mih take-out food closer tuh mih.
“All I have to do is I make a call and your ass will get popped.”
“Don’t touch me,” said Crocodile Dundee.
Pretendin was wukkin fuh mih no more. Ah gorn straight tuh de top.
Lord? Why me, ah start whisperin.
Dis is eggs-zactly why I doh pick ah seat in de back ah de bus. What ah do rong dis time? I just want tuh reach home in peace, take orf all dese damn clothes ah does have tuh wear tuh stay warm den cock up in mih chair an eat mih Pineapple Fried Rice an wash it dong wid mih two larse Apple J. Ah pay dem Chinee crooks extra tuh get shrimps too. Look at dis shit. I could end up being dat innocent passenger de newspaper go tork about. De one hit wid ah stray bullet some drunk ignorant fool behind him fire in ah argument over ah bus seat. Ah bus seat! Why de arse dey eh get orn de bus at de terminal like me? De damn bus was empty, each ah dem could ah pick ah different seat. Please make sure dey spell mih name right in de papers eef de worse happen.
Since mih ears was still orn duty, dey hear de voice of mih possible murderer orn he cell phone.
Shit, he makin de call?
Bus driver, Bus driver, ah whisper as loud as ah good in mih mind before pickin up de conversation.
“. . . yeah man, I’m on the bus and this old white ass comes and wants to sit next to me. Had to move my sheet. I am going to kick his ass . . . What? Yeah I’m on the bus! What? Okay, I’ll call you when I get off.”
I was ecstatic.
He doh have ah gun tuh bounce bullet at nobody an he too drunk tuh say what number bus he orn or where it reach. Yes ah safe!
Mih panic start tuh ease buh ah leave mih ears orn alert, just in case.
Ah did never know beer does make people belch.
Ah did never know beer does give people hiccoughs.
Wait, what just happen?
De bus eh movin an de bus-driver in de aisle sayin someting.
De bus break dong or what?
Chance fuh mih tuh look behind mih.
De loud mouth look so young an average, even I could ah take he.
But what happen fuh de bus tuh start emptyin so?
“I need these seats up front for a wheel-chair passenger.”
Or ho, dat is why. People cyar wait five minutes fuh ah wheel-chair passenger tuh get loaded an buckled in.
De cussin in de seat behind me now directed at dis new situation. Me eh takin he orn no more.
Minutes later de bus movin again wid it grateful new passenger.
Ah so relaxed ah tinkin about all kind ah ting.
“It better have at least four, no six, shrimp in mih Pineapple Fried Rice oui,” ah hear mihself say.
Mih head jerk tuhwards where de warnin was directed. De bus back door was open. Ah figure was completin ah wide swing, fightin tuh keep it balance. De lurch of ah drunk. Den de figure was gorn.
Freed tuh macco all ah want, ah tun rong an examine de now empty seat behind mih: Ah hat an ah plastic bag wid two crushed beer cans — big cans.
Later dat evening, ah count de shrimp in mih Pineapple Fried Rice: Two.
Ah whole dollar extra per shrimp?
Ah vex oui.
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