The streets of Philly are not the most pleasant sight. They are filthy. There is trash everywhere–including people as far as I thought. My friend was right. Maybe I should have asked him to go with me–even though he was just joshing, at least I thought he was until I started walking. There is no way I would have let the “Man Image” down by asking another man to tag along because I was afraid, however.
Truth is, I was afraid. I had not ventured in a neighborhood like this one alone before. I noticed it when we came down from the train, but at night, everything looks so spooky. I started to imagine all those movies that I saw where the unsuspecting victim walks down the dark streets and was attacked by some mugger–some young thug trying to get a new video game or shoes.
seeing as how I was in a predominately Black neighborhood. My guard kept going up and down as I passed a person on the street. I walked near two groups of Black and Hispanic teens cursing and joshing around. It disarmed me to see them so carefree and kind towards each other.
“How are you,” I spoke before I realized it to the second group of teens, a gangly bunch too. Well, maybe a few of them. A few of them
were just too big to be teens, but their faces, even in the dark, were very young.
Too my surprise they all said hello back to me. I then thought of myself. I am not some small little person. I am six feet two inches. I am 195 pounds and actively athletic. I could probably outrun a group of people trying to jump me anyway! In fact I knew I could. I kept telling myself this to un-betray my manhood. I was a small kid the last time I was in a so called “hood.” Truthfully I did not know how to compose myself.
I let my guard down as I saw more teens and young adults walk by. I spoke to some who were taken aback but returned my salute. I grew up in the South, so I have it ingrained in me to speak–even it I am in an urban city where people shoot you for looking at them wrongly.
Once I arrived at the corner store I was a bit relieved to see the lighted area. There were a few gentleman, older than me, standing outside as if they were panhandling. They said nothing to me, but they did regard me conspicuously. I did not like it, but I just walked into the store minding my manners.
I looked away for a second seeing the donut rack.
The first thing I saw was a rack of packaged donuts!
GLAZED ONES, POWERED ONES GIVE ME SOME YUM!
THICK ONES, SQUARE ONES I CAN TASTE THE FUN!
YUM YUM, YUM YUM EAT THEM ON A BED!LIGHT ONES, DARK ONES DANCING IN MY HEAD!
GET IT GET IT, YUM YUM SNATCH ONE FOR YOUR GUMS
JELLY FILLED, CUSTARD FILLED! DONUTS TO ME COME!
DUNKIN DONUTS KRISPY CREME, ALL FIT TO MY TATESES
DONUTS, DONUTS, DONUTS, DONUTS RIGHT BEFORE YOUR FACE!
I forced my way past the delectable treats and made my way to the coolers with theV8’s in them. My mouth actually watered for the V8!
Check out line was confusing to me. There was a long counter with all sorts of things on it to buy with two Hispanic people standing behind them. I just popped in the line and waited, hoping I would figure out which person to go to–the man or the woman. The man stood by the lotto tickets, so I supposed him not to be the regular cashier–though he seemed to be taking customers.
A group of Black teens walked into the store and my senses went on alert for some reason. I did not recognize them from the groups I saw before. These kids were nice looking kids with apparel to boot. One really big kid came in shirtless drawing attention to himself while the other kids shopped and took places in line behind me. I felt no threat from them, but the shirtless kid came to stand near me. He was not shirtless anymore. He had on some type of worker vest.
From this kid I felt some intense feelings but still no threat. He was a very large kid. I could see why he went shirtless because he had an impressive physique. He was at least a few inches taller than I and had a deep booming voice.
The woman behind the counter glared at him and said “Tray, you know that you are not supposed to take clothing out of the clerks closet. Go put the vest back and I will say nothing.”
He started waving his long arms threateningly near me as he walked around to the counter entrance for employees to confront the
woman, who did not look the least afraid. The man behind the counter told him that he would call the police.
“Call the po-lice, I ain’t afraid to go to jail. That’s where I belong away! Call’em,” Tray yelled in that booming voice. It seemed like I as
Tray’s friends started yelling for him to stop being a troublemaker. The lady behind the counter held her hands out while looking up at this giant compared to her. I looked away for a second seeing the donut rack, yum. When I turned again Tray was gone and the vest was in the woman’s hands. the only one alarmed at this episode as the customers still purchased things.
“Does this happen often here,” I asked one of the friends
still waiting to purchase her items. She explained to me that every body knew each other in this part of town and Mrs. Gonzales knows that Tray just lost his father. Tray has been trying to cause problems ever since.
He apparently is a football player, tight end. That explained to me his size, well, his genetics explains his size. Football is the nice use of his size. I noticed that he did not use one swear word after the fact and he complied easily. I was impressed. If the only bad thing Tray could think to do was put on a vest at a store and make a lot of noise, then he was doing okay. I sure would not want to meet all
I purchased my V8 and prepared to walk out the store. I was happy that Mrs. Gonzales was so thoughtful as to not call the police on this distraught boy. This was a good neighborhood now. Not too many visitors came to this “hood” though and I stood out. Again, I had a strong feeling–this time a danger feeling. When I opened the doors to the store to walk back tp Sonia n’ems, my opinion changed about the good “hood.”that emotion in an alley mugging.
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