Stereo Headphones

Two days ago, before my world was turned upside down, I was normal like everyone else. Who would’ve known that just one night could change my whole life? If I could’ve remembered that dream before I left out for work, I would’ve never walked out the door. I would’ve locked myself up in my apartment and prayed.

I have been through so much shit in the last 48 hours it’s hard to remember it all. At first I thought I was a little too high from that joint I smoked at the bus stop. Then the idea that somebody was playing a cruel trick on me ran across my mind. I just couldn’t get my mind around what was happening to me. It felt like I was trapped in a fucked up nightmare and couldn’t wake up.

That day was supposed to be a normal day. I woke, showered, had a cup of coffee and got ready myself for work, just as I did every morning. I knew that something had happened between me going to sleep last night and waking up that morning, but I couldn’t put my finger on it at that time.

As I walked around my apartment looking for my watch, I hit my big toe on the edge of the dining room table and almost broke my foot. My mom had given me this monstrous table when I moved back after school. It was big and took up way too much space. I need to get a bigger apartment or throw it away. This place was cool when I first moved in but as time moved on I found the place feeling smaller and smaller. And today for some reason the place seemed really cramped. I couldn’t wait to get outside into the fresh air.

The local weather forecaster had said that today would be full of sun and fun. Boy did she lie. There was a lot of sun out that day, but absolutely NO fucking fun. As I was leaving for work, I dropped my keys as I was trying to lock the door. While I was bending down to grab my keys I remembered little pieces of this crazy dream I had last night.

****

"Hello Lamont, so nice you could make it," he said.

The man speaking these words had a very odd sounding voice that sounded as if it were hooked up to a PA system. It was loud and business like. Lamont stood in the middle of the cornfield looking for the originator of the voice. He turned around completely and still saw no one. He was standing in the middle of a very large cornfield. This felt like more than a dream to Lamont. The wind was blowing slightly and the sky was the purest blue Lamont ever saw.

"Today or tonight, depending on how you look at it will be a moment you won't ever forget," he heard.

As he heard these words a cool breeze flew across his face and made him feel relaxed and in control. Something told Lamont to turn around and everything would be okay. That if he just turned around all the confusion and bewilderment of this place would fade away. Lamont slowly turned around to see a man that had to stand at least eight feet tall; he was wearing a black business suit with a red tie. The shirt was beginning to turn yellow from sweat. Mr. Too Tall had long brown hair tied in a ponytail and these gold rimmed wire glasses. There was an old rickety barn not too far from where they were standing. In his hand he was carrying a huge briefcase made of metal. The briefcase reminded him of the ones from those old eighties movies filled with drug dealers and gangsters.

Lamont stood amazed. He was standing in the middle of a cornfield talking with a giant man in a suit, who was holding a briefcase probably filled with drugs.

"Hey dude, what's in the briefcase? I bet you it's filled with drug money or huge hundred dollar bills." He said, slowly moving closer to the briefcase. The briefcase was glowing almost. Like a powerful flashlight was inside

"No. Never would I carry drugs or money in my special briefcase. I have another place I keep my drug money in," he chuckled.

Lamont lets out a laugh that echoes long and deep across the cornfield. Lamont likes this man sense of humor; it reminds him of his fathers' friend who happens to be sitting down not too far back smoking a joint. Lamont waves at him turn back around and focus his attention back on Mr. Too Tall and his huge briefcase.

****

After picking up the keys I locked the door, walked to the bus stop and waited for the bus. While waiting for the bus I tried to smoke a joint but the old lady standing a little ways down kept coughing so I put it out and turned up my iPod and listened to some music.

I stood at the curb thinking about that dream. Something had happened that was extraordinary but I just couldn't remember what. The bus arrived; I paid my fare and had a seat near the rear. It was funny how not too long ago this was where they said I had to sit and now it's the most comfortable for me. As a child when older black people got on the bus they took pride in those seats up front. Now the younger generation didn't give a fuck. These new kids took everything for granted. But not me, I like the seats near the rear because nobody bothered me as much.

As I was nodding my head, snatches of the dream began to come to me again.

****

"Choose anyone you want." Mr. Too Tall said as he held out the open briefcase in front me.

As Lamont stood there looking through the briefcase a strong wind blew and with it came the smell of fresh microwave popcorn. The man who was smoking weed looked up and shouted, "Don't trust this man. He's too tall; anybody that tall has to be working for the devil."

Inside the briefcase were all types of devices and gadgetry. One thing caught his eyes in particular; he noticed that they were some stereo headphones.

Lamont was too enthralled by the contents of the briefcase to pay too much attention to the guy who was shouting. These were the nicest headphones he'd ever seen. See Lamont loved music. Since a child he was a music head. His parents and their friends used to get drunk and listen to all types of music back in the day. Mostly Soul and R&B. Lamont used to sneak into a corner of the room sit under a table nobody was paying any attention too and listen to the conversation and music as it boomed through the massive sound system.

These headphones looked as if you could hear the guitar player fart during the recording session. His hands slowly started to drift toward the briefcase when Mr. Too Tall spoke. “Know that once you accept this gift its final. No exchanges, ever! This will be a binding agreement."

****

As I sit and wait for my stop so that I can transfer over. An old elderly white man sits down across the aisle from me. This man has to be least sixty with these enormous hands. He's got a jacket on even though it warm as hell.

I'm listening to this dude named He.llsent my boy told me to check out. I wasn't too impressed with the dude named He.llsent, his flow was cool but he doesn't rhyme like he's from hell. He was a little too cerebral for me. I look around the bus for a second when I hear. Look at his uppity nigger with his iPod. Probably stole it from somebody. I remove the headphones and ask the old man across from me did he say anything.

The old guy turns his head and say, "No, you must be hearing things."

He quickly turns back toward the front of the bus. I put the headphones back over my ears and switch to that new Young Greezy album. It must be the weed; I say to myself before I press play.

Young Greezy was cool to listen to in the morning; it made me feel like a gangster or something. After listening to YG I wish a nigga would try to pull it with me. While I was zoning out to my favorite song on the album this gorgeous woman gets on the bus pays her fare and sits upfront in the seats for the elderly. She looked about twenty, was 5 foot something and was draped in the latest designer clothes with an expensive purse to match. Her skin was dark and her weave expensive. I could smell her designer perfume from where I sat. She had on some tight fitting jeans and a pink blouse.

I guarantee that this nigger bitch ain't got $20 dollars to put in that $300 purse. I remove the headphones, again, clutch the rail in front of me and ask Mr. Old and Grumpy if he said anything again. I looked at him then, the woman I thought he'd said something about, and then back to him, like yeah I heard it.

He froze a minute and asked, "What are you talking 'bout?" He clutched his jacket as if it were cold, sat up in his chair a little straighter and continued with, "You should mind your own business."

I knew I had heard him but if he had of said that as loud as I heard him he would be in a gang of shit. But instead of making a scene I turned around and pulled the string and got off the bus. Walked across the street caught the same bus going in the opposite direction. I called the office from the bus and told them I was taking a sick day. When my stop I came I hopped and went to the grocery store near my apartment.

At the store I see one of my homies outside smoking a cigarette. "Hey dawg you want a short on this square?" His name is Carlos; we had gone to the same high school. Carlos was smart but dumb depending on how you looked at it. He thought he was militant but in reality he was just using it as an excuse to keep living how he living.

"Nope. I'm trying to stop smoking that shit." I say as I shake his hand. "What's up with that dude who said he was going to hook you up with that job?"

"Shut the fuck up with that working for the white man shit and buy one of these nickel bags nigga...and come to think of it I'm already at work" He says as he goes into his pocket and pulls out some green.

Just by looking at it I can tell it’s some huff. It has too many sticks and seeds for me, but I buy it because I support his cause.

We talk for a minute then I go inside to grab a lil salmon for tonight; my buddy Beth coming through later on to hang out with me. Her name is Bethany but everybody at work calls her Beth. We had been fucking around for a minute now. I'm trying to get that weird shit out of my head.

I let the headphones slip around my neck as I wait line behind a big backed dude. I put my groceries on the electronic conveyor belt. I decide to get a pack of gum for later on so that when I met Beth my breath game is straight. The cashier rings up the price in front of me and says next. I step to the register while my groceries slide toward the cute Hispanic woman working behind it. She grabs the groceries and scans them. BEEP BEEP BEEP.

I'm surprised he isn't buying any chicken. That's all those people seem to like. That's why KFC make so damn much money. Niggers and they chicken.

Now I'm looking at the woman in her eyes and her mouth didn't move when said that shit. I reach into my back pocket, grab my wallet and get a nifty fifty out of it. I mutter under my breath, "racist bitch." I get my change and my groceries and leave. She didn't even say have a nice day. She acting like she ain't a minority, like she can't be stereotyped either. I let out a laugh and thought to myself that either the world was going crazy or I was already fucked up in the head.

Back at the house, I put the food in the fridge and grab a beer. I sit down on the couch in front of my T.V. and play little Basketball. At half time I grab a swisher, split and empty the guts in the ashtray and break down the buds. I roll up the blunt, light it and take a long pull. I lean back on the couch and started to think about the weird shit that had been happening to me so far today.

First it was the old man on the bus, I wasn't really looking at him when I thought I had heard his voice. But the Hispanic lady at the store was a different matter entirely. I just couldn't figure it out. How was it that I was hearing people's thoughts? Could it be that dream from last night? By now the blunt is halfway gone, I'm high and confused. I close my eyes and drift off.

****

He's in the cornfield again. But now he isn't standing in the middle of it but sitting on his couch. He has these raw as headphones around his head. Lying next to him is a note written in red letters.

I hope you enjoy the gift that keeps on giving. I'm sorry if things didn't work

out like you expected Lamont. But sometimes things that happen in dreams

are way more realer than your waking world. I told you my gift was final, and

it is. Just in case you haven't figured it out yet, every time someone makes

a racial slur or epitaph you'll be able to hear it. You should use it to your

advantage or let it destroy you, the choice is yours my little lost black sheep.

Life and Suffering,

Lucien Lockheart

When I lifted my eyes from the note, I am no longer in the cornfield, but in my living room sitting on the couch. When I look back at the note it's gone. What the fuck was that? Am I still dreaming? Where's my lighter? I grab the lighter from the table in front of and light it. I hold my hand over it until I feel pain to make sure I'm not dreaming. I slam the light down on the table, get up and walk into the bathroom.

In the bathroom I run the water and wash my face. I dry my face then go into the bedroom and sit on the bed. I can't believe this shit. What is happening? I look at the clock, it say's five o'clock. I know I wasn't asleep for that long. The dream only felt like it was ten minutes. In a couple minutes Beth will be here. I think about calling her and tell her not to come over but I can use some pussy right now so I tell her to come over and bring something to drink. She told me she would be here by seven or so.

I push the weird shit to the back of my mind as I season then put the fish in the oven. I wash the dishes from the night before, hop in the shower and put on my clothes for the night. I walk in the kitchen and take fish out of the oven. Boil some rice and smoke my other half a blunt. I grab a cigarette from under the table in the living room and play the rest of my game. I feel complete and relaxed. I beat the shit out of the computer.

BITCH GET YOUR MIND RIGHT

BITCH GET YOUR MIND RIGHT

YA MIND RIGHT, YA MIND RIGHT

BITCH GET YOUR MIND RIGHT

It's my cell phone and its Beth saying she'll be here in about twenty. I tell her to call when she's downstairs. Beth is this cute white girl I work with. I used to fuck her friend named Tanisha but Tanisha was too ghetto for me. She said the right thing at the wrong time all the time. Here we are making all this good money and she wouldn't let go of her past. She accused me of cheating and forgetting where I came from. I wasn't mad when we stopped seeing each other.

People often accuse me of acting white but how can you act like a color? What it was this. They were jealous because I went to college and educated myself and saw how life was outside the hood. After I got my degree I moved back to the hood. I didn't move into a mixed community or anything. I did dress different though, I refuse to shop with the foreigners in my hood. I liked designer shit. Upscale for real. I could afford it why not? And plus none of the clothing stores were black owned. They were all ran by other ethnicities even the restaurants. I wasn't with a lot of the bullshit I saw happening in black communities. What Carlos said he was on the outside I was on the inside.

I wasn't racist either. I kick it with people from all walks of life. I think I'm diverse but whatever. Beth would be arriving any minute now. I went to the fridge and grabbed a beer. Just as I cracked it open my door buzzes. I told her to call when she was downstairs but she never does. She thinks she's going to catch me doing something. I open the door and kiss her as she enters.

"Hey," she says as I take her coat and bags she carrying. I tell her the food in the kitchen as I hang up her coat. She sets the table in the dining room table and asks me to pack a bowl with some of the herb she left over here last night. I pack it and take a toke and tell her to come hit it.

She tells me to bring it to the dining room. “Why you hit it without me?"

"Is it really that big a deal? Here it is, hit it and let's eat." We sit down and enjoyed a wonderful meal. We talked about our days. Hers was normal as hell as always. I told her about all the crazy shit that had been happening and she told me to stop smoking weed early in the morning. I was just being paranoid she said. I laughed at her nervously, got up and cleared the table.

She got up and went into the living room and started looking thru my DVD's. I pour another glass of wine, walk where she's standing and put my arms around her.

"You want to watch a movie or something?" I say while looking at what's in her hand. It's Boyz in the Hood, my favorite. "Let's watch that. I love this movie."

Not this nigger shit again, he always wants to watch this crap. Why can't we watch the Sopranos season 3 or something?

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