Short Story: They Tried to Kill Me

It felt like that scene from Life. The one where Ray and Claude walk into the all-white establishment and everything stops. But this wasn’t a movie. This was real life and my friends and I ventured into a seedy little bar in search of a quick bite. We were met with piercing stares from patrons clad in cowboy hats and leather vests. They had heart tattoos with mom etched in the middle of their forearms. Many of them also sported mullets and had toothpicks hanging off the tip of their lips.

Ten minutes into our wait to be seated, my patience was, at what I thought, an end. “We should leave. They haven’t even acknowledged us,” I said, throwing my hands up in the universal sign of exasperation. But hunger has a way of clouding judgment and the munchies don’t help. I could smack my lips and roll my eyes all I wanted, which I did, but I didn’t drive. So we waited.

And the longer we stood huddled at the entrance, the harder I tried to ignore my growling stomach. I started talking myself into just getting a glass of water. My pro-black nationalist was showing her colors. I’d decided that nobody in the establishment was going to get any of my money. That sounds good, doesn’t it?

After 13 1/2 minutes of being the only people waiting, Sally Joe or whatever her name was finally sat us. In a booth that had been open 13 1/2 minutes ago, might I add. We settled in as best we could, happy that we were closer to food. But not really because the waitress failed to give us menus and water. So we waited some more.

There was an older Black lady sitting off to the side, on her break I presumed. When I say older, I mean Big Momma older. She had lived some life older. She could give you the best hugs or a cuss out that would have your head spinning older. Her expression said to us, “If yal don’t get yal Black asses outta here. Can’t you see they don’t want you here” (I tried to tell them Big Momma).

The waitress finally came back with menus and water. She was nice enough and even threw us a half-assed apology about the wait. I was holding true to my previous statement but all of that “I’m not giving them any of my money” talk went right out the door when my eyes landed on grilled cheese sandwich (munchies, remember?).

The typical restaurant things happened next. Get our food. Eat our food. Got my friend to pay for my food (see what I did there). Leave. Go on about our business like we didn’t just tolerate blatant racism.

But then…

The next morning came and I was awakened by a terrible volcanic-like eruption. I hopped out of bed, petrified because I didn’t know which end was going to blow. I scooped up a trash can and ran to the bathroom just in time. Everything exploded simultaneously and continued to explode for hours.

If you’ve never had food poisoning let me be the first to tell you… it feels like death, you look like death. I actually took a break from writing this to google “dying from food poisoning” and it turns out that 351,000 people die of food poisoning every year. So it is, in fact, possible that it could have been death.

Between the poops and shoots I was able to call my mother, who was about 500 miles away, to let her know I was dying. The conversation went something like this:

Me: (between sobs and laying in a fetal position on my bathroom floor) Ma, I’m dying.

Momma: Nesha, what are you talking about?

Me: (sobs growing louder) My stomach.

Momma: Well, are you sure it’s not trapped gas? You know how you get about trapped gas.

Sidenote: Why is it that mothers always have to remember every little thing you did? Just because I may or may not have once been balled up on her bedroom floor claiming death over trapped gas didn’t mean she could use my pathetic actions against me.

Me: No! (I’m bawling at this point yal) The white people tried to kill me.

Momma: Girl, what the hell are you saying?

Me: I have food poisoning or something from a grilled cheese. I keep pooping and throwing up and I think I’m green.

Momma: You’re not green. (proceeds to give me some Southern remedies that undoubtedly had cod liver oil or apple cider vinegar involved.)

Of course, I didn’t have any of what she suggested but my room-mate called a friend to bring over Gatorade. Dehydration was real. Upon his arrival, he tells me that I look horrible (thanks Mike) and my skin has a greenish tone to it (told you Momma). I tell him that I’m potentially being assassinated and he should mourn me now.

Ok, so my mother was right. I am slightly melodramatic when sick. But I’m alive now, obviously.

The moral of this story kids is if you walk into an establishment and the service is shitty from jump, just leave. Or they might try to kill you.

Originally published at

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