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'Upside Down'
Thirty Seconds with Arvin
I just returned from the ghetto mart with discount humus and avocado meant for the food service industry and club retailers that Ghetto Ed gets ahold of via an overrun contract with a food wholesaler. If they make too much, Ed get's to make a bid.
On the way out the door, just before lifting my bag from the register back, I noticed Arvin, who I have not spoken with since his fellow security guard, who worked across the street until a few weeks ago, was murdered by masked hoodlums. Arvin is a young black fellow with shaven head, a good build for a middleweight boxer and a polite smile that is none too easy. His carriage is a mixture of vigilance and fright, grace and despair as he stands with his back to the ice machine looking around, his head on a swivel, armed only with a badge.
I stepped up to Arvin and asked, "Do you need me to go get Ed?" figuring this was a "bigass shoplifter" situation in the mid-stages of development.
He looked at me and said, "No, nothin' he can do that he ain't did. The world's upside down. Last week we had this brother in here saying we had too many whites working here and he was going to blow the place up, burn it down, kill everybody. Ed called the cops. The cops talked to the dude. The dude left spouting hate and dead promises. The cops apologized, said that they can't arrest on threats anymore, that they got ta talk that shit out, that if they ain't no gun, ain't no knife, ain't no body, that it's all good."
I looked at him and nodded, tipped my hat to him and said, "Keep your back to the ice machine," and walked out into the suffocating July heat.
It's not "all good" in the hood.
Thriving in Bad Places
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