Yesterday I had a dream I was in New York City carrying a flat screen TV past the Flat Iron Building when a cop, a flatfoot named Johnson, stopped me in my tracks.
"Where you going with that?" he bellowed.
"I bought it, and I'm taking it home."
He looked at me for a long moment, his chubby face inches from mine. "I don't believe you, I think you're a terrorist. I can tell by the way you look. You got that glint in your eye. You got that pigment to your skin and a crooked step to your walk. I betcha you got a grandmother with a funny middle name."
I was taken aback because I never knew a terrorist. Like most people I hate terrorists, and if their were any justice in the world they would pay seriously for what they do.
"Yeah," he said, "We're going to rough you up, pour water over you, get you to talk."
"Bu..but you can't waterboard me. Barack Obama is president now. Besides I'm innocent"
Officer Johnson rubbed his name tag and thought a long time. "We got other ways. We'll get the fattest a$$ed women in New York City and make 'em real hungry and mean and stuff 'em in your jail cell."
Whew. I wasn't too keen on the idea of having famished, ravenous women with fat a$$es smothering and biting me, their teeth well sharpened, their layers of fat sagging in my face. I had better think of something to save myself from being torn apart like a human gazelle.
I saw he had a bit of a gut himself, so desperately I appealed to what I believed to be the darkest angel of his nature.
"Officer, I said. Why don't I donate this TV to the Policeman's Benevolent Fund. Also, I got a backpack full of chocolates and boardwalk fudge. Maybe you can share it with your wife."
Johnson took the bait. I left him the TV and goodies and made my way once more along the Flat Iron Building. Then I heard again the bellowing of his voice: "Hey!"
I turned and listened to him. His voice was quieter: "You know when I was a boy, I had a friend. We were like brothers. I was white, he was black. One day they tried to kill my friend. He was riding his bike when a convertible car drove up beside him and a man screamed that N word and knocked him off his bike with a powerful fist. Luckily he fell on a patch of grass or his life would have been lost. Now Barack Obama is our president, every one's president. I never thought anyone could change me so fast, but he has."
"Bu..but what about that torture cell with the fat a$$ed women?"
"I made that up. Besides, tall, short, skinny, fat, black, white, or what ever your religion, it doesn't matter. Most people are good."
I took what he said as the truth, and decided to ridicule others no more.
"I guess hate gets in the way of making things better."
"Yeah. You look at what's happening to this globe--war, disease, terror, famine, financial markets tumbling. You look at Bush and Cheney. And now you see Barack Obama is President. So maybe it took eight years, or maybe it took two hundred years, but in the end Lincoln was right: America is the last best hope on earth."
"Is that why so much of the world cheered when they said: Barack Obama, President of the United States of America?"
"I think so," he said.
He put down the TV and backpack and walked a few steps towards me and stopped. The cop never aked my name. But he addressed me no matter, as if I had been away for a long time. "Welcome home, America" he said. "And ready your hands. We got a job to do."
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