You Used to Be a Slave

Published in Acentos Review, August 2017

“¿Y a tí, que te importa, negra de mierdaaaa? Si tú ante’ era e’clava y ahora te la quiere da’ de gente!” And what the fuck is it to you, shitty negress you? You used to be a slave and you now wanna pretend you’re somebody.

His words, flying eastward–through the half-closed windows of his car and my aptly-named Cielito Lindo Beetle Bug–sliced the dry June air as the sun showed signs of exhaustion for another shift of hustle, one of the two-hundred and fifteen days it appeared each year in South Florida.  Robbed of any possible retort, I sat on ice for an eternal minute and slowly revealed a dignified cinnamon stick of a middle finger. It didn’t occur to me that he could have pulled out a .45-caliber handgun in return, a common gesture in road rage incidents in these parts. Instead, he sped off as soon as he could, with eyes bulging in horror.  My silent expression a warning and a threat.

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