Holding two bags from the Salvation
Army thrift store, an engraved 100% lead crystal
vase that I planned to give my sister
for her birthday (she's 29 again),
and other fine hand-made glass vases
that I got for much less than they were worth.
I planned to give them all as gifts--nice
guy crap, I thought - a thug punking me out
in Spanglish, giving me a history lesson
about Aztec sacrifices and Provincias Perdidas.
then in plain government talk English:
"Got it, jellybean?" "No, but I'm trying."
He asked about the stuff in my bags, how much
did it all cost? "20 bucks," I guessed.
"What bus you waitin' for?" he interrogated.
"The 12," I said, still not thinking
honesty dangerous. "Where do you live?"
was the last question he asked.
Because I didn't answer, he got kiss-close,
and advised me, "You really need
a haircut, homeboy." "I know, lots of people
tell me this," I replied in a friendly tone.
Then he strutted over to the curb, looked across
the street, and whistled, a cellphone-less
gang communique. So I took my cumbersome
bric-a-brac and hustled into a Carl's Jr.,
figuring that at least there might be cameras,
But just as the RTA was due,
I ventured back out, and he was gone, and I caught
the 12 east home to my doorstep.