South of Haunted Dreams

South of Haunted Dreams by Eddy L. Harris Read Free Book Online

Book: South of Haunted Dreams by Eddy L. Harris Read Free Book Online
Authors: Eddy L. Harris
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    As a seventeen-year-old kid, just beginning my wandering ways, traveling the country by bus, I sprinted across a busy street in downtown Houston. A motorcycle cop spotted the crime, hurried up behind me, screeched to a sudden stop.
    â€œBoy!” he shouted at me. (I was young, yes, but why do they always have to call you “boy”?)
    â€œBoy,” he said. “You better have some ID.”
    I handed over my driver’s license.
    â€œYou ain’t up north, boy,” he said. “And down here we take jaywalking serious.” He kept calling me “boy” and my heart was beginning to pound. I didn’t know why.
    â€œNow there’s two ways for a boy like you to end up,” he said. “In jail. Or in the morgue.” He waited. “Now what’s it going to be?”
    â€œPardon me?”
    â€œPardon me, sir, ” he corrected, but I didn’t oblige. Looking back on it now, I suppose he wanted me to lower my eyes, bow my head, and apologize. I looked him in the eye instead and frowned seriously. I wondered what jail would be like. He stared back.
    Eventually he let me go.
    â€œYou be careful, boy,” he said finally. “And from now on cross the street like you’re supposed to—at the light.”
    I had forgotten about the entire incident until now, repressed it, the psychologists would say.
    Five years later, another situation that I did not so easily forget. The Los Angeles police were not so easygoing.
    Once more I was traveling by bus, in the station and trying to buy a ticket to San Francisco. Twelve people stood in line ahead of me and my bus’s departure had just been announced over the PA. In a panic I asked each person in front of me if I could skip ahead. But even with their permission the ticket agent refused to sell me a ticket.
    â€œWhy not?”
    â€œBecause you jumped in line,” he said. But no, that couldn’t have been it.
    â€œI asked first. You saw me. And everybody agreed.”
    I turned to them all for confirmation. They still agreed.
    â€œDoesn’t matter,” he said. “Now get back at the end of the line or I’ll call security.”
    â€œGo ahead and call security, you jerk. I’m not moving until I get my ticket.”
    Security came, but what could they do? I still wouldn’t budge. But then the police were called. One tough cop kept fiddling, as tough cops like to do, with the pistol in his holster. I thought it might be a good idea to get back in line, but not before I told them all, cops included, what jerks they were.
    The line moved quickly—of course. Without the panic and without the fuss I would have had my ticket by now, been on the bus and gone. And that made the entire incident all the more frustrating.
    The cops stayed right beside me. They gloated now about how easy it could have all been if I had just stayed in line in the first place.
    â€œThat didn’t take long,” one cop said. “Now did it?”
    But I was still angry.
    â€œYou see?” he said. “We’re not such jerks, are we? We’re just doing our jobs.”
    I saw red.
    â€œCalling it your job doesn’t make it right,” I said. “But no, you’re not a jerk. You’re very little more than a pea-brained penis-head.”
    Now he was the one who saw red. Before I could finish insulting his mother, he grabbed me by the wrist and yanked my arm hard behind my back. He twisted my wrist until the skin burned. I struggled. Together the two cops slammed me to the floor and while one of them held my head against the filthy tile, the other cop handcuffed me. Then they dragged me off and threw me into a little holding room with a couple of drunken vagrants trying to sleep off their DT’s. The room reeked of vomit and urine, the odor of stale alcohol and sweat. The two cops pushed me in and bounced me off the walls a couple of times. They punched me and one of

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