I’m one lucky son-of-a-gun. I’m not boasting or complaining. I didn’t create my good luck. It was something that just dropped on me. I’m not talking about that fool’s gold good luck of winning the lottery or a bet on the Kentucky Derby. I’m talking about the real meal deal like when you bend down to pick up a dime, and there’s a hail of bullets hitting the wall where your head was seconds ago. My kind of good fortune steers me out of harm’s way, and when I do enter the danger zone, I leave pretty much intact.
I got that – just before the bar closes – good luck that leaves me with the one that’s the best fit for us and a thing that might last for more than the moment.
I’ve been working twelve, fourteen, and fifteen hour days on our procurement effort for the State Department of Health Program Management. I have not had a Friday evening free in weeks. However, today there was a bomb threat, and we were forced to leave our building.
At 3:30 p.m. I’m looking for the closest bar where I can celebrate my Freedom Friday good luck. That bar happens to be a new little boutique bar just two blocks from my office. These tiny little three and four table bars have been popping up all over downtown. Safe Harbor is one of those bars that I have never visited.
As I step through the door, my attention’s immediately drawn to the four women state workers ranging from about their late twenties to mid-forties getting a jump on happy hour at one of the small tables. I’ve worked for the State for so long I can recognize a state worker on sight.
The two white, one black and one Japanese employee are in a light and joyous mood, and this seems like the ideal spot to start my Friday celebrations.
Something snaps my attention away from the four women to the only other customer in the bar. Good God of mighty! She’s a yellow-brown, golden skinned woman with hair so black it’s blue up in a bun exposing her eloquent neck. Her toned arms and legs contrast with her tight black dress. She’s not Chinese or Japanese or Southeast Asian. She looks, maybe, Malaysian with full lips, broad nose and stunning black eyes. She’s striking, appealing, enticing, mysterious and absolutely drop-dead gorgeous.
I only have eyes for her as I cross to her and introduce myself, “My name’s, Wilbur Byrd, and I’m here to tell you that you have just won the Most Delightful Woman in the World Award. I’m going to tell you about your fabulous prizes.”
She looks up from the newspaper that has captured her attention with a look of mild annoyance.
“Your first prize’s dinner this evening at Morton’s Steakhouse followed by a moonlight stroll along the Riverfront Promenade and—“
She interrupts in a husky voice, “And, you are part of my prize?”
“Of course. Absolutely.”
“I’m not at all interested.” She returns to her paper.
“Oh, you will be interested because this prize pays interest and regular dividends and will delight you and excite you beyond your wildest dreams.”
She ignores me and concentrates on her newspaper. I sense the bartender moving to shoo me away. I feel the eyes and the interest of the other women on and in our little drama. However, I’ll not be shooed away or embarrassed. This is my lucky day. I’ll not be denied.
I glance at the article that holds the attention of the Most Delightful Woman in the World.
Oh, shit it’s a story about an unlucky nigger nothing like me. This nigger was in the wrong place at the wrong time and moved too fast or too slow or spoke too loudly or too softly or reached for something or failed to reach for something. This poor unlucky son-of-a-bitch was shot full of holes.
Mr. Unlucky was unarmed. However, he had a checkered history of past arrests or misdemeanor offenses or bad checks or unpaid child support or was behind on his taxes. His executioner was a veteran law enforcement officer, a proud product of military service, a father and a husband, a true community asset.
The law enforcement organizations promise they will conduct a transparent, quick, and fair inquiry into their own murderous behavior.
The pastors, priests, and politician’s plea for patience and a peaceful resolution of this matter.
The heroic law enforcement officer’s put on paid administrative leave.
Everyone, everyone in the universe knows the results will be that the killing was justified. Justified even sanctified and the murderer will be promoted and will promote the endless cycle of justified homicides.
My community will be outraged. There’ll be smashed windows, burnt police cars, more justified shootings. And things will calm down to wait for the next cycle of justified murder.
I feel for the poor unlucky bastard found in the wrong place at the wrong time.
My good feeling’s gone. My mojo has dissipated. I feel like a gutted fish.
“Bartender, a round for my fellow state workers over there and this Wonder Woman here and a drink for yourself. I put money on the bar.
I’m almost out the door when she speaks. “Wait.” The husky voice’s commanding. I turn as she crosses to the door and we walk out together. Three steps later we stop at the corner and wait for the traffic light. “What do you want?” She makes the question sound like an invitation.
“You. I want you.”
She takes my hand in hers and gives it a gentle squeeze. We are five blocks from my apartment and two blocks from the downtown Holiday Inn.
We walk to and register at the Holiday Inn without any further conversation between us. It feels right.
Alone in the elevator to the third floor, I grab her, pull her close, kiss her passionately, fondle her ass and feel her breasts against my chest.
Two steps into the room she kicks off her heels and for some reason is just as tall without the heels. She turns her back to me, and I kiss her enticing neck before I start to unzip her dress. As the zipper glides down, exposing a vision of pure delight, her hair drops over me like a waterfall. Only it’s not hair at all. Each strand is a live tentacle seeking and searching for an opening. A handful of living hair slips down my throat, invading hair penetrates my ears and surges up my nose. Hair slides into my pants and my anus and penis. The tentacles bind my hands, circle my throat. And at that moment I know that my luck has run out. She has something far worse than death in store for me. I know that my life as I have known it is measured in seconds.
Suddenly, the progress of the incursion stops, retreats, vacates me. I’m free. My last vision is of her standing over me and her tentacles a twisting, turning corona around her head.
The motel maid finds me. I have voided my stomach, bowel, and bladder. There’s blood in my eyes and ears, nose and throat, penis and anus.
The emergency room doctor has the answer. “Mr. Byrd, I regret to inform you that you have lymph node cancer that has metastasized to the lungs, liver, and kidneys. Sir, I don’t understand why you aren’t incapacitated by your disease.”
“Shit and spit! How much time do I have left?”
The doctor shrugs, “You should have been dead weeks ago.”
I think my good luck held. I believe that she released me because I was too close to death to be of use to her. Now, you can see how lucky I am. My bad luck cancer saved me from a fate worse than death. I was so lucky. I’m far luckier than the unlucky nigger in the newspaper killed by the forces pledged to protect him.
She, on the other hand, was hunting without bias, prejudice or excuse. She was doing what she had to do to live. I believe that. I do.
Now, I hope my luck holds for just a little longer. More than her, I fear the blue uniform wearing monsters that stalk our streets and present the vivid possibility of my violent death at their hands as a commendable homicide.
Today I’m going to turn my good and lucky survival into somebody else’s good luck. I think my actions will be as fair and just as the system I’m forced to live and die under. I might save one person from being a victim of a justified, state-sanctioned homicide. I’ll be a little like her. I’ll kill to allow others to live. It truly is my lucky day.
N.B. – This story was written at the Art Farm in Marquette, NE in October 2016.
Banner Image:By Minnesota Historical Society (Flickr: “Police Line” Tape) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons