Need a Light

"Need a light nigga," the police officer asks.

"What," the young man asks confused.

"I said do you need a light, nigga," the officer laughs, tapping his gun against his leg.

"No, I just quit," the young man says.

The young man puts the cigarette back in his pocket as the cop continues to laugh. He starts to walk to the next bus stop. He knew he wasn't welcomed in this part of town. Still, it was the only place he could find work. The officer followed him. He walked quicker.

"Where you running to? You steal something," the cop keeps calling.

He takes off running hoping to make it to the bus stop in time before the bus gets there. He arrives out of breath, officer still following. Luckily the bus arrives there before the officer. He hops on, pays his fare and takes a seat at the back of the bus. Some of the eyes stare at him. He knows he's in the clear now. He's already made up his mind. He won't be going back to work there anymore. He'll find a new job. It might pay less, but he won't have to deal with any of this.

"Are you okay boy," an older lady with salt and pepper hair takes a seat next to him.

He jumps, startled by someone else being there "yeah, I'm fine."

"You don't look fine, you look worried," she said digging in her purse.

"I just, I'm not from around here and it's kind of crazy," he confesses to the only face like his on the bus.

"Oh you mean the white folks? Most of them ain't gonna do you no harm," she hands him a peppermint. "I've been working out here for six years now. Once they see you a few times, they leave you alone. Some are even friendly to you."

"I'm not so sure about that."

"I wasn't either, but if you run away, they'll know they won. Don't let them win. Don't let them have that victory."

"Then what do I do?"

"Show up tomorrow, smile, do your job and come home."