Cynthia Morningstar (Reprised)

by Margie Shaheed

"Ah ain't do it!"

He drew his gun and demanded money as before. She couldn't believe the bar was getting robbed again. It felt like a dress rehearsal, only this time she studied his face. He was a young man in his early 20's—handsome with a steady eye. His accomplice was tall and muscular. For some reason she wasn't scared like before. Deep down, she didn't believe he was going to shoot her probably because he didn't do it the first time. She only hoped he would stick to the script.

The Twin Visions man had better count his lucky stars. He had just delivered a stack of newspapers to the bar, and had left out of the door moments before the robbers appeared. Twin Visions is a monthly newspaper owned by identical twin brothers who are Black. It is distributed throughout the community free of charge. You can easily pick up a copy in the bodegas, in neighborhood bars, churches, and at other businesses in the community. Folks always looked forward to the next issue with its display of Black faces staring off of the pages, and its colorful advertisements and coupons. The community supports the paper by reading it regularly, often wishing, though, they would do a better job at editing because it's riddled with misspellings, and hoped they would stop publishing old news.

The cash register drawer sprang open with a loud squeal as she reached in and gave him all of the cash. This time, he didn't ask about the safe although his take was a mere fraction of what he had stolen in the previous heist. He seemed nervous. As quickly as the robbery had begun it was over with. The thieves dashed out of the door disappearing like the sun does at night.

The two customers who had been made to lie on the floor face down stood up and began counting their losses. While she went to call the owner to inform him of the robbery they made small talk between themselves about how they had come out for just a few minutes to escape the drab of home only to be robbed at gunpoint right across the street from where they both lived.

It had been three weeks since the first robbery. In that time she had spoken to the owners about their habit of leaving her in the bar alone. She was fearful for her life. Didn't they know the streets have eyes and ears? She noticed though, whenever one of the Dominican girls worked in the bar the Dominican men would stay behind and sit through that woman's entire shift. Not so when she worked. What was the difference she wondered? When the owner arrived she confronted him with why he insisted on leaving her alone. He had no good answer for her. "We don't do it on purpose mommy. It jus' works out dat way," he said and rolled his eyes to the back of his head.

In that moment she knew exactly what she had to do. When the police were done questioning her she gathered up her belongings. She worked for people who didn't have good business sense nor did they have her interest at heart. She could get killed! She quit on the spot.

A few days later she heard that the owner of the bar had put the word out on the street that she must've set the robberies up because she never got hurt, and the bar only got hit when she was working. She was not surprised to hear this but she did not feel compelled to defend herself against him for she knew the truth. And that's all that mattered.

Cynthia Morningstar (Reprised) by Margie Shaheed

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