Guilt Trip

by Anthony Lindsay

The hammer is real. I know that because I cocked it. The accusers fade in and out. I don't think they're real but I know them. I seen them all before. I know them, but they keep fading in and out. They won't stay at the table, but I know them.

I know the sister best. I ain't never seen her smiling like this before, but I know her. Her smile is the last thing to fade and the first thing to appear when she comes back. I know her. I had hundreds just like her, I can spot them.

I know the look on their faces; that wanting look, that needy look. I know the look. But she don't have the look now. Now she's smiling. A hard smile, not inviting like the look. No wanting, she looks satisfied.

She said I hurt her. I told her she had me wrong. I love my Black sisters. She called me a liar and said I wanted her to stay a whore. She told me to deny that I didn't want her on the streets serving my wants. I couldn't deny it.

Guilty!, she screamed and all that remained was her satisfied smile.

With the young brother it was his eyes. They hung at half mask, heavy with marijuana. He wasn't smiling, but I knew hundreds like him as well. Young brothers with drugs for sale.

He said nothing, he merely appeared smoking a blunt. I asked him what he wanted, he continued to inhale the blunt. I took the pistol from my own temple and pointed it at him. And again asked him what he wanted. He blew smoke rings. I fired through the rings, but he remained.

I cocked the hammer again and put the pistol back to my head. I told him to leave, I owed him nothing. Then he laughed; a slow, deep, hate filled laugh. He told me I owed for the blotter of acid I brought this morning. He was right, I hadn't paid for the acid. I told him I'd pay later, he said I wouldn't be around later.

He said men like me were never around later. Men like me were only around for the moment, so he had to get what he could from me when he could; because there was never a later with men like me. We were temporary figures, not to be counted on or looked to for single thing. If he had the drugs we wanted, when we wanted them, we saw him, after that, we were gone. Men like me meant nothing to him.

He said I owed him for the blotter of acid. He inhaled the blunt and blew out more smoke. He said, guilty! And all that remained was his laden eyes.

It was a group of them, three kids and they were looking around. Each head turned looking. The little girl in the middle of the two boys asked me had I seen her. I asked her who. She said her mama. The boy on the left said he saw his mama in the car with me. The one on the right said his mama told him I was going to take her to the store and come right back. Each wanted to know where their mama was.

They were hungry. They were tired. They were dirty. Tear tracks and snot trails marked their faces. They wanted their mamas. Where was she they all yelled!

Guilty! I say, , , and banged the hammer down.

Guilt Trip by Anthony Lindsay

© Copyright 1999. All rights reserved. No portion of this work may be duplicated or copied without the expressed written consent of the author.

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