The Anthology 
Root





IT WAS LIKE TWILIGHT ZONE 

By Kim Hines




KC is a 40-60 year old African American woman.


KC:

It was like Twilight Zone

I was trying to explain this dream to friends and family. I saw the National Guard, five hundred strong marching down Lake Street…near my house…in my neighborhood—on the TV…passing by the old buildings that once held Ferris Alexander’s porn empire, but now transformed into medium sized bodegas…

They marched onward, passing a bunch of small businesses by Somalis and then a Taco Bell that the protesters were wise enough not to harm, because so many of them just love them tacos, burritos and, of course, those gorditos…passing a Mickey-Ds with plastic straws and napkins littering the parking lot and the street; the windows, spanked until they were shattered, because it was one of those places that makes you pay for your extra ketchup on them fries…and at rush hour, when so many cars are trying to get onto 35W, they won’t let you out of the order line onto Lake Street to go home, so you’re held hostage…

Those soldiers passed by all of the road and freeway construction, showing that our tax dollars really are at work…

Fires everywhere, like we’re taking a tour of Dante’s Inferno or is it the scene where Atlanta is burning from Gone with the Wind? A restaurant, a temp agency, my bank, my post office…

The 5th precinct surrounded by barbed wire and cement fencing with its police officers on the roof, watching and talking smack…’cause you know the cops, they’re always talking smack…

Yeah, it was like Twilight Zone…

And the whole time, they’re showing everything on TV…like a reality show on cable….I’m looking at my neighborhood through someone else’s lens: they are picking up on all of the blemishes, crow’s feet, wrinkles, age spots and thinning gray hair of my neighborhood. I’m wishing they had one of those Instagram filters to show everyone that we are of value, that we are worthy, that we are beautiful, just like the white folks…

And that’s when the young white kids set more fires and smash more windows, ‘cause they don’t have to live here in this neighborhood after they are done. They can all go home happy and tired, like all in a night’s work, right?

And the young Black kids are looting those diapers for auntie; the pots & pans and refrigerator dishes for mama; the laptop for daddy, ‘cause there’s no Geek Squad money to fix the old one; the smart phone for brother Ray-Ray, ‘cause the old one dropped in the toilet and so it’s forever droppin’ calls; video games for Bo-Bo ‘cause—just because; snack cakes, Slim Jims, chips and a case of orange pop ‘cause there has been no money for joy, like junk food, ‘cause everybody in the house has been laid off ‘cause of ‘Rona…and the pièce de résistance— the 40’’ flat screen TV to replace the one that fell off the wall and hit the floor, like rain on cement ‘cause Jamal didn’t attach it right.

All sorts of people running into the post office amid the blazes committing federal crimes that they are absolutely ignorant of; like game show contestants, destroying post office boxes and raiding their contents before they are licked by the flames and overcome by the smoke. I immediately think of the mail I am expecting and will not receive. Glad I got my stimulus check last week…

Two ATMs stolen from the bank; one from the drive thru and the other from the lobby. With nothing else to take, the lobby of the bank is set on fire. Tools stolen from Office Depot from across the street help the crowd of young people take turns trying to pry open the money machine. All I can think of is my safety deposit box and its precious contents, and I wonder if this is the Universe’s way of telling me to find another bank, as I really didn’t like this one, anyway. When they get the ATMs open, the crowd boos and hisses as someone reads the greeting card inside that says: “Congratulations! Psych!! We took the money out, ‘cause we knew you were coming!!”

No one questions how or what it is that the bank knew….or who told them when…

The fire department is MIA. Fire Station #17, a block and a half away from my house, is dead quiet, and nary a siren is heard days before or days afterward. It’s like they all took their vacation at the same time and went off to Disney World…oh no, that can’t be right…not in the age of Coronavirus! Ohhh, but wait, there are always exceptions for white folks; that’s what society says, so that’s probably where they all are…communing with Mickey, Minnie, and Pluto.

But Minneapolis’s  finest is still standing on the roof of their precinct, pointing, laughing and probably having a bruski or two, donuts…pizza, anyone?

I’m trying to take it all in and wondering how much more of this can I continue dreaming…and then all of a sudden, Rod Serling appears and tells me that this ain’t his show…

He tells me that his shows have more finesse and style and this must be realism, because he doesn’t remember writing this script.

And that’s when I wake up and realize—I haven’t even gone to sleep yet…