Page 30 - Vol. VII #8
P. 30

The View From Senator Street (continued from preceding page)
white doors and three drawers, just like the one at home. I wanted to crawl inside and come out in my own upstairs hallway. I felt my soul fly up and up, so high that Lainey and I were two pinpoints of light, seen from space. The roof of the house extended out toward the sky, and below stretched Senator Street with its bright tunnel of trees masking the soot- stained two-story house and the evil uncoiling inside. And we were just two girls huddled in shadows, in a darkened hallway.
Lainey and I melted down the back stairs and around the corner of the house to the side, where Tammy and little Jenny were huddled with Jackson and Beto. Tammy was gripping Beto’s hand, leaning into him.
 “Holy Mary, pray for us sinners now,” I said to myself.
We all joined a crowd gathering, and stood together near the back, away from the house. “It’s fine,” I said. “Your mom’s okay.” Tammy relaxed a little and shifted Jenny to her other arm, dropping Beto’s hand.
I took two steps toward the closet, wrenched open the door and reached in for the iron. I knew it was go- ing to be there. I liked the heft and weight. I imagined smashing it into Raymond’s arm, making him drop his rifle.
“Man, you fucking White people are crazy,” said Beto.
“Can you hear Momma?” Lainey whispered. We waited for a long moment, straining to hear. We backed into the bathroom, shutting the door halfway.
“He’s not my Dad,” said Lainey. “I’m not crazy,” added Tammy.
At the front of the house, we heard a door smashed open, then heavy footsteps up the stairs into the liv- ing room. A commotion of shouts and barking came from the porch, but no more shots.
On the street, two cops shoved Raymond into the back seat of the squad car.
“Let’s go.” I held the iron above my head like a torch. If I had to I’d get him from the back, split his head in two.
“I guess I’m babysitting again,” said Tammy, looking down at Jenny, then over at their mom, cursing at the cops.
Then we heard scuffling and “Don’t touch me!”
“Motherfuckers! Where are you taking him!” She weaved behind the car as it pulled away, a cigarette dangling from her fat lip, and a black eye blooming, puffy and red. “Dammit!” She pulled off her cracked heel and threw it at the cop car. It landed in the middle of the street, red and glittering.
We peeked around the corner. We didn’t expect to see a paramedic sitting next to Lainey’s mom on the couch. A light-skinned Black woman with short, curly hair, held a compress to Dinah’s head.
I turned away so she wouldn’t see me; she’d prob- ably blame me for the ambulance and the police coming, but the number of neighbors who stood around smoking cigarettes and talking in little clumps shielded me from her evil eye. “Oh girl, you should have slapped him!” one thin woman wear- ing an Aerosmith tank top said to Lainey’s mom and everyone laughed.
Lainey’s mom was still wearing an apron from the bar, and she lifted it to wipe her mouth. “Fucking Christ. Who fucking called you people?” She winced in pain and twisted away from the paramedic. “The fuck.”
“Let go of me, you fucking pigs!” Raymond shouted in a coked frenzy, but three Detroit police officers had him pinned.
Tammy, still clutching at Beto, was replaying the entire scene to a rapt audience of other teens skipping school on a weekday afternoon, and I didn’t think anyone would notice if I disappeared. Maybe I could make it back to school for French class, or even swim practice. It all had happened so fast, like heat lightning that flared up and then went away just as quickly, but when I lit a cigarette, my hand was shaking.
Lainey and I backed down the hallway as if avoiding broken glass. The kitchen clock showed it was 1:35pm; I should have been in my tenth-grade honors English class, discussing the end of The Lord of the Flies.
I still had the iron in my hand. I set it on the yellow Formica table. “Your mom is fine, let’s get out of here,” I whispered to Lainey. At last real grownups were in the house. Let them handle it, I thought.
I headed to the bus stop on Springwells and looked down at my light blue student bus card—my escape ticket to downtown, to school, my passport home.
“Come on,” I said. “Let’s get away from the house.”
“Hombre, your Dad sure loves his shit!” added Jack- son.

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