Stop and Frisk
by Tony Lindsay
Last night, when he came home after school and work, he was tired. Randy took his first midterm exam on the college level, and this morning he felt good about the unknown results. The English test had been difficult, but he studied hard the weeks prior and the night before. He was certain of a good grade. This confidence had him smiling while waiting for the bus. Most of his buddies and some of the people he worked with said he was wasting his time going to school.
His oldest friend Jacob told him, “Man the dice have already been rolled for black dudes like us. It is messenger, cabby, restaurants, janitor, or the streets. That is where dudes like us get our money.”
Those were the words Jacob told Randy when he went to the G.E.D. program offered through the library. When he finished the program and passed the test, Jacob told him, “Man you tripping, if you think the white man got anything for you but jail.”
What Randy saw around him agreed with Jacob, most of their friends, their brothers, and fathers had done time in jail, but Randy knew black men did live without jail. He saw them in the subway, on buses, he watched them going to work at jobs not on street corners. The first time he voted was to help one become president of the United States. Jacob was right and wrong, and last night’s test, like passing the G.E.D. exam, made Randy think Jacob was more wrong than right.
Today he had to work seven hours inside the golden arches before he went to school. The sun wasn’t up, but he and six other people at the bus stop were. He yawns and adjusts his book bag on his shoulder.
“Now cut that out young blood, you know those are contagious. I see you yawning then I’ma start, and the next you know I’ma think about going back up stairs, calling in, and getting back in my bed next to the Mrs.”
Randy laughs and shakes his head no, “Mr. Peters, who are you trying to fool? There are two things that are stopping that from happening. First, you haven’t missed a day of work in twenty three years as you have told me many times over these three months that I have been catching the bus with you, and second Mrs. Peters just finished her shift at the hospital, and she is not about to have you coming back in the bed disturbing her rest. So Sir, I am going to keep on yawning, and you can join me if you want, but that bus coming up the Avenue has a seat for you just like does everybody else out here.”
The two ladies standing behind them start laughing too, “Randy, it is too early for all that truth this morning, you should let Mr. Peters have his little fantasy. He can dream about going back upstairs if he wants too,” one of them snickers.
“I ain’t dreamin’. I am a grown man. I can go back upstrairs if I want to,” he huffs. The brakes on the bus squeal as it comes to a stop in front of the crowd. “But I don’t want to,” Mr. Peters climbs the bus’ stairs, “Mornin’ Malcolm,” he says to the driver.
“Good morning, Mr. Peters, when are you going to let the ladies on first?”
“When they get out here first,” Mr. Peters answers flashing his bus pass.
Randy who has stepped aside allowing the ladies to enter sees police squad car lights approaching the bus. His stomach tightens and flips, he wishes he would have got on the bus like Mr. Peters. The squad car blocks the bus and puts a spot light on those remaining outside of it.
“Hey, you with the book-bag, hold it right there!” comes from the speaker of the squad car. Randy takes a step toward the steps of the bus.
“I said hold it!”
He stops, and the others walk pass him boarding the bus. He would have done the same. No one wants a hassle with the police.
Both officers are out of the squad approaching him. One has drawn his pistol.
“Step away from the bus.”
“What is in the book bag?”
The officer with his pistol holstered asks.
“Books and my lunch.”
“Books? Drop it to the ground.”
Randy lets the book fall from his shoulder to the ground. When he does the officer with the holstered gun is upon him. He trips Randy to ground causing his chin to hit the sidewalk which forces his teeth into tongue. His mouth fills with blood. The officer handcuffs him while his partner goes through Randy’s book bag. The officer who cuffed him is going through his pockets. He has stripped off Randy’s shoes and socks and is going thorough both, finding nothing he puts on latex gloves and forces his hand down the back of Randy’s pants and around to his crotch area. Randy is still laying face-down on the sidewalk.
“Anything in the book bag?” He yells to his partner.
“Just books and a sandwich.”
The officer that searched him un-cuffs him. The other officer throws his book bag to him. They return to their squad car and pull off allowing the bus to leave.
Malcolm, the bus driver calls, “Randy”
He sits up, spit out blood and then stands.
Behind the bus, Jacob pulls up in his Chevy with the music blaring. Randy waves the bus on and walks to the Chevy.