This Post is Rated 'R'
It's a beautiful day to wait in line outside the court house. The sky is infinite blue. A breeze blows just after I exhale my sigh. The fresh wind tells me to breathe and have patience. I am going to the traffic department. I earned myself a fix it ticket for a broken brake light. I fixed it, but all is not well until I pay the administrative fee. I wait with about 50 people to pass through metal detector after lunch hour. Most of the crowd wears juror badges.
Twenty minutes pass without a step forward. I realize I have curled my $10 bill into a tight tube. As I'm busy uncurling my bill, the man in front of me shifts his weight. He is very tall with broad shoulders and a thick neck that creases in the back. His head is shaved and beads of sweat sparkle atop his black scalp. He wears a Chicago Bulls jersey and long shorts with feet twice mine encased in black running shoes with a red stripe.
People fan themselves with papers. Eyes peer forward at the entry door. Kids scattered about whine or just plop onto the cement. The line undulates a little but does not advance yet. A small boy sits on the ground two people ahead of me. The white man behind him moves backward suddenly to avoid the boy's back and steps on the black man's foot. The white man glances back and smiles, then looks forward again.
Male Black: You gonna say something?
Male White: Huh?
MB: ARE YOU GONNA APOLOGIZE?
MW: Oh. Sorry.
MB: Dumb motherfucker.
MW: What? Okay now I'm not sorry.
MB: Watchoo say?
MW: I said I'm not sorry.
MB: Let's take it to the side you little bitch. Do not disrespect me muthafucker.
MW: Step over here with me sir.
MB: (laughs) Oh now it's sir, huh? You scared now, ain't you?
The MW produces a badge in a holder from his rear pocket.
MW: I'm a police officer. Are you threatening me?
MB: Bullshit! That's a fake ass badge.
MW: I am a Los Angeles police officer and I am telling you to step away from me. Go to the end of the line, sir.
MB: FUCK YOU!
After a long moment, the black man turns abruptly and walks away with clenched fists. He looks back several times, eyes wide, lips tightly pursed. The people near me stare at both men. Some have backed clear away from the line. Someone asks if she should get help. The white man says, "Sorry folks. Everyone take it easy."
The black man does not go to the end of the line. Instead he begins crossing the street at the intersection. Midway, he throws a bunch of little paper pieces into the air. The white squares float peacefully down to the pavement. Moments later the light turns green and cars run over them.