Checking Out a Scared, Black Woman

Now, I was gonna share a different story today, but I found myself compelled to share this story. I don’t know why, but I really felt like I needed to share this story. It’s a sad but necessary story about honestly being at the wrong place at the wrong time. At the same time, this is a story about being at the right place at the right time. This is “Checking Out a Scared, Black Woman.”

Last week, I was working my usual 6am-2pm shift on Friday. I was extremely tired because I had about two hours of sleep. I was up till midnight writing a story, and I ended up watching Pulp Fiction after I was done writing. Now, I usually watch The Twilight Zone or some horror movie before going to bed, but I wanted to watch Pulp Fiction that night. I’ve seen it a lot, and it’s one of my favorite movies behind The Matrix, my all-time favorite. However, I really wanted to see Pulp Fiction again because I had just watched Once Upon a Time in Hollywood in theatres and wanted to get my “Quentin Tarantino” on. It was necessary, and sleeping isn’t that important, right?

Anyways, I was struggling to stay awake. Even with coffee in my system, I was a literal zombie. My coworker Marie is used to me being all sleepy and tired, but she said, “I can’t believe you do this to yourself. How are you functioning? You need to get at least five hours of sleep. Minimum.”

I laughed and said, “Marie, you know me. I can’t help that I’m a late-night writer, and I enjoy a good scary movie before going to bed. I’m only human, Marie.”

We both start laughing, and Marie just calls me silly. It’s around 7 am, and my manager, Michael, sends out a new person to me and Marie to train. Her name is Jenn, and she was really nice and cool to work with. Marie explained to Jenn that me and her were extremely tired, but we promised to perk up at around 9 or 10 am. An hour passes, and I’m slowly but surely starting to wake up. Plus, Marie and I are training Jenn, but for the most part she was doing pretty good on her own. Also, it was kind of slow in the store. Everything was alright. Then, everything changes when I’m stocking cigarettes, and I hear, “Excuse me, sir.”

I turn around and see a black woman in front of my register. She’s pretty, and she’s about few years older than me. However, I could tell that she was a little scared. Not knowing what’s going on, I said, “Yes mam.”

“Can I talk to you really quick?,” she asked.

She was a little quiet asking me, so I leaned in and whispered, “Yeah that’s fine.”

Then, she asked me if we could actually talk in private. I told her that it was perfectly fine and suggested that we talk in the dining room. She started walking to the dining room, while I followed after her. Luckily, we weren’t busy, and Marie had Jenn helping her up front. So, it was fine for me to talk to this black woman.

Anyways, I’m in the dining room with the black woman, and I asked her if everything was alright. She started crying a little and explained that she was drunk and far from home. She lived at North Side, and she somehow ended up in Jefferson Hills. She apologized to me for smelling drunk, and I assured that she was fine. Then, she continued, “Yeah, I ended up going to a party I shouldn’t have gone to. I was drinking too much. I don’t remember much of what happened, but I know these white guys…they…you…know did things to me.”

She was having a hard time breathing, and I just told her to just sit down and take a deep breathe. She quickly sat down and tried to catch her breathe. I sat down as well, and I was assuring her that it was alright. Then, she added, “I’m so scared because my kids are home alone, and I just can’t believe that I was so irresponsible and go to that stupid party.”

She was really beating herself up, so I looked at her and said, “Look, you’re fine now. You did the responsible thing by coming here and seeking some help. It’s better that you’re in here than out there. You’re being responsible now.”

She thanked me for my encouragement and explained that she didn’t have any money. Also, her phone was dying, and she was having a hard time reaching a friend. So, she had no way of getting home. Then, I asked her if she maybe wanted to call the police about the incident. She responded, “No, no, no cops. I just want to forget about last night and go home to my kids.”

I understood that she just wanted to go home, but I still wished that she reported what happened to her to the authorities. Even though I don’t know all the details about her assault, her trembling and crying illustrated to me that she had been through some serious trauma. I wish that she wanted justice for herself, but I understood that she was drunk, tired and ready to forget and be home with her kids. She saw the whole situation as her fault for getting drunk, and she just wanted to forget the mistake she made. Yes, she was drunk, but that doesn’t give men the right to do whatever they wanted to her. Her behavior and drunkenness is not a free pass for men to do with her as they please. She kept saying to me that she should’ve known better, but in reality it’s the white men that hurt her that should’ve known better. They’re the ones that hurt her . They’re the ones that assaulted her. They’re the ones that took advantage of her. How could she not see that? How could she place more blame on herself than on the white men that hurt her? Then, I remembered that it’s the society that we live in. It’s a toxic society that has infected both men and women. It’s a society that places more blame on women for their “mistakes” rather than help them seek justice from the tyranny of evil men.

Anyways, I told her that I understood that she didn’t want the cops involved and asked if she wanted something to drink like coffee or water. She said that water would be fine, so I went and got her a cup of water. When I came back with the water, I was still trying to figure out how she could get home. I was suggesting to maybe take the bus, but she didn’t want to take the bus. Then, I said, “Well, I’m not sure what we can do. I can maybe talk to my manager and see if he has a solution.”

“Wait, is your manager white?”

I told her that he was, and I could tell that made her uneasy. So, I assured her that my manager Michael was nice, and he would do his best to help her. I added that she could trust me, and he wasn’t going to call the cops. She said okay, and I went to my manager’s office.

I told Michael everything that was going on with the black woman, and he handled everything with compassion and respect. Michael talked to her a little, gave her a sausage burrito and a breakfast sandwich and assured that everything was going to be alright. He pulled me to the side and explained how he offered to give her money for the bus, but she didn’t want to do that. Also, he could tell that something serious had happened to her, but she didn’t want to tell him. I explained to Michael that she talked to me about it, and he was relieved with that. Then, he told me to just do inside trash, but also to keep an eye on her. Make sure she doesn’t fall asleep and just check on her and make sure she’s doing alright.

I was thankful and glad that Michael was there as the manager that day. He’s one of the most compassionate managers I ever worked for, and I just couldn’t imagine another Sheetz manager dealing with the scared, black woman as Michael did. He kept it quiet, and he showed her so much kindness and respect to her. Michael was honestly the right manager at the right time.

Anyways, I was checking on the woman like Michael instructed. Making sure that she was doing alright. She told me that Michael was nice to her, and someone was coming to pick her up. They ended up coming at around 9 am to pick her up and taking her home to her kids.

Despite being at the wrong place at the wrong time at the party, I was so glad that the woman ended up being at the right place at the right time at Sheetz.

This is the end of “Checking Out a Scared, Black Woman.”

Be sure to like, share and comment your thoughts on this short story.

 

 

 

 

The Importance of Tipping

A couple of weeks ago, I was scrolling on Facebook, and I came across a post by a waitress. She posted a $184.14 bill for a table that she waited, and she got tipped $15.86. So, the grand total of the bill was $200. Also, the customer put a note on the bill that read, “Thank you for a wonderful experience, Erica.” Then, the caption from the waitress stated that the 8% tip wasn’t enough, and a compliment wasn’t going to help her pay her tuition. After that, I went to the comments.

There were like 15,000 comments, and I got a little excited. I just love going through comments in social media and seeing different perspectives on a post/video that I watched as well. Anyways, I saw that a majority of people were siding against the waitress, while a few were on her side. I found it interesting because my mom taught me that it was important to tip at least 15-25%, depending on the service. I thought this was a universal rule, but the comments showed that this wasn’t a universal rule. I didn’t see any mention of the customary 15% tip, and it was interesting to me. As I was reading through the comments, I recalled a time where I was with some people that didn’t want to tip.

Last year, I was eating at Eat n’ Park with my friends Kevin, Mark and Anthony. They all really wanted to go to Eat n’ Park for one reason and one reason only. To get a free cookie. Those Eat n’ Park cookies were extremely important to them, and they wanted a free cookie. Now, despite having a sweet tooth, it wasn’t that important for me to get a free cookie from the restaurant. Yeah they were good, but they weren’t all that. Plus, I would rather have some really good food than mediocre food and a free cookie. I really don’t like Eat n’ Park. Their food is okay to me, but there are way more better options than Eat n’ Park. I low-key feel like the restaurant knows that their food is somewhat okay, and they pretty much reward people for eating and paying for it with a cookie. Eat n’ Park is like, “Thank you so much for eating our food, we know it’s not the best. It’s just okay. Have a cookie” Why are so many people blinded by a cookie? I wonder.

Anyways, they all wanted to go to Eat n’ Park, and I reluctantly agreed to have some okay food. We came in, and it was packed. It took a few minutes, but we ended up getting a booth. We sat down at our booth, and our waitress was this girl named Denise. She was around the same age as us, and it was actually her first time being a waitress. She told us that this was her first day being a waitress, and how it’s been interesting, crazy day for her. We shared a few laughs with her, and we assured that she was gonna be alright. For the most part, she did well. She was really nice, sweet and helpful to us throughout our dinner. Denise seemed like she knew what she was doing as a waitress.

After we were all done with our somewhat decent food, Denise gave us our bills. I looked at my bill, and I was in pain because I had spent $15 on some mediocre food. I just shook my head and said in my head, “Alright, I’ll take the cookie to ease the pain.”

As I was in agony, my friends were asking about the cookies to Denise. She informed them that the cookies were only for children. My mouth dropped, and they were stunned. I was thinking to myself, “You mean to tell me that we had some mediocre food for nothing. That cookie was supposed to ease the pain I’m feeling right now.”

I ended up shaking my head and laughing that we weren’t getting any cookies. However, my friends were begging for them. I was confused because she had just told us that the cookies were for just kids, but they were still persistent on the cookies. I was laughing and saying, “Denise, they’re fine. They honestly don’t need any cookies.”

Anthony quickly said, “Nah, we need them cookies. We ain’t joking.”

They continued to pester Denise about the cookies, when she finally gave up and said that she might be able to get them one cookie. They were satisfied with that, and Denise proceeded to get them a cookie. Then, I said, “Are y’all serious right now? Y’all are really trying to get a cookie like that?”

Anthony responded, “Yeah man, I want a cookie. That’s the only reason we came here.”

Mark added, “True that.”

Kevin said, “I don’t know anymore.”

We started laughing, and Denise ended up coming back to us with one cookie. Anthony was asking where are the other cookies, and she said all she could get was one cookie. Anthony was still telling her that he still wanted a cookie for himself. Kevin decided to be an adult, and he said that Anthony and Mark could split the cookie amongst themselves. Anthony and Mark were still arguing with Denise about having another cookie, and I looked at them and said, “Children, just split the cookie. I am so sorry about them, Denise. You don’t have to get us another cookie.”

They eventually decided to split the cookie, but the damage had already been done. Denise was over this foolishness and walked away from us in anger. I understood her anger all too well, and I was sorry that my friends were being difficult with her.

As we were preparing to pay for our foods, I hear that Anthony and Mark are not giving Denise a tip. I went a little off on them. I said, “Are y’all serious right now? Are y’all really not about to give her a tip? Oh my gosh, I’m feeling some type of way.  I can’t believe y’all.”

Then, I looked at Kevin and said, “Kevin, please tell me you’re giving her a tip? You better be giving her a tip.”

Kevin was looking a little scared, but he laughed and said that he was going to tip. We all laughed that I was feeling some type of way, but I was still mad. I ended up giving Denise a $6 tip, and I believe Kevin gave her a 20% tip.

Then, we ended up driving to see a movie, and I was still talking about how mad I was that Anthony and Mark didn’t tip. They were laughing because they couldn’t believe how mad I was. I said, “Y’all are something else. She literally went to hell and back to get y’all a cookie, and y’all don’t tip her? That’s just messed up.”

Anthony said, “She didn’t get us the cookies. Plus, she was rude and stormed off on us. No tip for you.”

Then, I said, “Yeah, cause y’all were acting like children for no reason.”

They all started laughing, and I couldn’t help but laugh with them. Needless to say, I haven’t gone to dinner with them since that day.

In the end, I think tipping is important because I view it as a form of respect and compassion. I understand why some people feel like they’re not obligated to tip, but I think it’s kind of rude. I tip because I was taught to tip by my parents, and I understand that waiters/waitresses/servers rely heavily on tips. In Pennsylvania, there are servers that get paid $2.83/hour. Tax takes some of that as well, so their main source of income literally comes from tips. Sadly, servers are in an industry that is essentially stacked against them. A change definitely needs to happen in the food industry and more people have to understand the importance of tipping.

This is the end of “The Importance of Tipping.”

Be sure to like, share and comment your thoughts on this short story.

This weekend, I will be sharing and posting some poetry.

 

 

 

 

A Petty-ish Moment at Pizza Hut

It was Valentine’s Day, and I had just finished writing and posting “A Love Story at Walmart: Part Two.” I was in the library at my school, Point Park University, and I was just happy that I had got it done at around 8:00 because the bus to my house would be coming at 8:07. If I missed the bus that time, then I would have to go on an 8:30 bus. So, I rushed out of the library and waited for my bus to come my way. It came in right on time, and I was able to take my seat on the bus.

While I was on the bus, I found myself reading this book called Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson. A friend of mine from work had recommended this book to me, and she had a copy that she could lend to me. Anyways, I was reading Mistborn on the bus, and I ended up being interrupted by a text message from my friend Rosa. It read, “Happy Valentine’s Day.”

I replied, “Aww thanks, happy Valentine’s Day to you too.”

Then, she asked me if I had any special plans for Valentine’s Day. I texted, “Nah, I’m just probably gonna chill by my lonesome self haha. What about you?”

Rosa ended up telling me that she was actually going on a date, and I was excited for her. I ended up putting my book away and calling her on the phone. I said, “Tell me everything, girl.”

She laughed and explained how they had a class together, and he was just real smooth with her. They had been talking for a week or two, and he ended up asking her out on a date on Valentine’s Day. I was being extra talking about how he was “the one,” and I just couldn’t believe that she found her soulmate. She was laughing and telling me to be quiet, but I just kept going and going with my extra comments about the two lovebirds destined to be together forever and ever. We ended up talking for a few more minutes, and Rosa ended up asking me about this one girl that I was talking to at the time. I was telling Rosa that I wasn’t sure about her, and I was leaning on us just being friends. Rosa understood and told me that she had to go and get ready for her date. I said goodbye to her and told her to let me know how it goes.

Anyways, I looked outside and saw that I was ten minutes away from the Century III Mall, where my car is parked. It’s 8:30, and I realize that I’m kind of hungry. I hadn’t eaten since 10:00 am, so I knew that I had to seriously eat something. I was thinking about stopping at McDonald’s, maybe Chipotle, but then I remembered that I was due for a free pizza at Pizza Hut. So, I went on my Pizza Hut app and saw that I had enough points to redeem and get a free pizza. I ordered my free pizza and saw that I only had to pay $1.07 for it. The thought of a free pizza had me salivating.

When I was a few minutes away from my car, I was trying to decide what horror movie I was going to watch when I got home. You honestly have to watch horror movies on Valentine’s Day, there are clearly no other movies to watch. I was considering a demon-possession type movie, but I low-key wanted to see people getting stabbed and killed. The movies I was considering were Saw, Scream, Friday the 13th, Hush and Halloween. There were a couple other movies I was considering on Netflix, but I wasn’t sure.

My bus made it to the bus stop at Century III Mall at 8:45. I got off the bus and went to my car. I started it, and I drove it to Pizza Hut. It was literally two minutes away from the mall, and it wasn’t hassle to get to the store. So, I parked my car, turned it off and went inside Pizza Hut. When I went inside, I saw that they were extremely busy making orders, and I looked to the side and saw my order would be ready in five minutes. So, I went back to my car and waited seven minutes before going back inside. I got back inside and saw that the status of my free pizza was set to “ready.” There were two people in front of me, and I just patiently waited till my turn. When it was my turn, I saw that the cashier was a 40-year-old white man. Anyways, I tell him that my name is Isaiah, and I’m here to pick up my pizza order. He grabs my pizza and tells me that it’s a $1.07. I say alright and pull out my debit card. Before I can put my card in the card reader, the cashier stops me and says, “Oh, I can’t accept that.”

I was confused and asked, “Oh, are you guys no longer accepting cards or something?”

He responded, “We are, but I’m just not trying to use our card reader for $1.07. I need cash from you.”

I was confused because I had always been able to use my debit card for $1.07 or even less at the Pizza Hut store that I was at. It didn’t make sense to me that I had to use cash all of a sudden. So, I asked, “So wait, are you not allowed to use cards for small transactions, then?”

He replied, “We can, but I just don’t want to right now.”

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing from this guy. What do you mean you don’t want to right now? That makes no sense to me. I looked over at the crew and even they were confused with the cashier. I wondered if they were going to do anything, but they just were working and acting like they didn’t hear anything. In my mind, I was just telling myself to calm down and take a deep breathe. Then, I said, “Ok, so I don’t have any cash in my wallet. All I have is my card. So, am I not able to pay for my pizza, then?”

He sighed and said, “Again, I’m not trying to use the card reader because I just don’t want to use it for a dollar transaction. There’s no reason for that.”

I asked him if there was something wrong with the machine, and he tells me that the machine is fine and works really well. Then, I said, “So, you’re telling me that even though you can use your card reader for a $1.07 transaction, you just won’t because you don’t want to?”

He looked at me and said, “Again, I just don’t want to use the card reader for a $1.07 transaction. You have to pay with cash, otherwise you’re not getting your pizza.”

I was furious, and I was so close to really saying some interesting things to this 40-year-old cashier that was being difficult with me. However, I contained myself and said, “Ok, let me check my car real quick and see if I have any money in there.”

I went to my car, got inside and started screaming. I couldn’t believe this man was trying to really push my buttons. I was just letting out all my frustrations and punching the air like crazy. After that, I calmed down and went in my backpack hoping that I had enough money. I rejoiced as I found five quarters in my backpack. Before I went back inside, and I stopped myself. I was saying to myself that there was no reason to give this man what he easily wanted. Make it harder and difficult on him.

I ended up putting a dollar’s worth of pennies and nickels in a plastic bag. I was so glad that I had plenty to be petty back to the cashier. So, I had my bag full of change and carried it into the Pizza Hut store. Then, I poured all the change on the counter and told him $1.07 in change.

He asked me if I was serious, and I said I was very serious. He sighed and started counting them. I looked over him and saw that they were crazy busy in their kitchen, and it sounded like they needed his help. He hurried up and counted all the pennies and nickels I had, put them in his register and handed me my pizza. I thanked him and showed him my quarters. I said, “Yeah, I did have quarters, but I just didn’t want to use them. I much rather pay with pennies and nickels.”

He looked at me all mad and walked back into the kitchen. I yelled, “Have a good day, and also happy Valentine’s Day!”

I had my free pizza in my hands, and I headed back to my car. Thankfully, it was still extremely hot. I went home, and I ended up watching Saw 2 on Valentine’s Day. Ever since that day, I have refused to eat or order Pizza Hut thanks to the petty-ish moment that I had at Pizza Hut on Valentine’s Day.

This is the end of “A Petty-ish Moment at Pizza Hut.”

Be sure to like, share and comment your thoughts on this story.

On Thursday, I will be posting and sharing the short story “The Importance of Tipping.”

 

 

 

Preferences

A couple of years ago, I was attending Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP), and I had just finished my last class for the day. As I was walking home, I get a text from my friend Howard asking if I wanted to meet up with him and his friend Tasha at Crimson Cafe. I was thinking about declining because I was tired and just wanted to lay in bed in my room, but then I remember it was Wing Night at Crimson Café. Wings are my weakness, so I naturally texted Howard that I would meet up with them. Then, I saw that it was 7:00 and knew that it was gonna be packed. Also, I saw that I was kind of far away from Crimson Café, and I was contemplating if I really wanted to make the journey to the wings. My room and bed were within grasp, but I decided to walk to Crimson Café to get some wings because I was hungry. The last thing I needed to be was hungry and tired, so I might as well not be hungry. I had to mentally prepare myself for a long, grueling five-minute walk, and I hope that I had the will to make it to Crimson Café.

I miraculously made it to Crimson Café. I walked inside and saw Burger Studio completely empty. Then, I immediately saw a long line into Fire Place, where they serve the wings. I rolled my eyes and went to the back of the line. As I waiting, I looked to my left and saw Howard sitting with this pretty, black girl. I waved at them, and they saw me and waved back. After a few minutes, I eventually got some hot wings and a fountain drink. Then, I made my way to Howard and Tasha.

I sat down with them, and Howard made sure to introduce me to Tasha. We started eating our wings, talking and joking around. While we were talking, I noticed something interesting with Tasha. She was laughing hard at Howard’s jokes, giving him googly eyes and touching him a lot. I was asking myself, “Does she like him or something?”

It was around 8:00, and I was ready to leave and go back to my room. My room was at Suites at Maple East. As I was getting ready to leave, Howard got up and said that he would join me as well. He had lived at Stephenson Hall, so he was relatively close to my hall. Tasha lived at Wallwork, it was further away from Suites on Maple East and Stephenson Hall. Since it was kind of dark and late, I asked Tasha if she needed one of us to walk her home. She kind of looked at Howard, but he was looking at his phone. Tasha said that she would be fine and thanked me for offering to walk her home. Howard and I walked together, and Tasha walked home alone.

As I was walking with Howard, I found myself thinking about Tasha. It seemed like she wanted something more with Howard, but he wasn’t feeling her like that. I needed to know why. So, I said, “You know, Tasha seems nice.”

Howard responded, “Yeah, she’s cool, man.”

“You ever think about dating her or something,” I asked.

Howard replied, “Nah, man, she’s just the homie. I don’t like her like that. Also, I only date white girls.”

Howard’s reply took me by surprise. Howard and I had been friends for a couple of weeks, so we really didn’t know that much about each other. However, it quickly all made sense to me. He always talked about how beautiful white girls were to him, and I never heard him talk about black girls. I just couldn’t believe he only preferred to date white girls. How could he not see the attraction and beauty of not only black girls, but other races as well?

I asked him, “How come?”

He said, “Well, they’re just more attractive to me than black girls, man. I like what I like.”

I could tell that he thought that I was judging him, so I quickly said, “Hey man, I’m not judging you or anything, I just find it interesting and just a little curious.”

“Yeah, and I don’t hate black girls, man. I don’t want you thinking that at all. I just prefer to be with a white girl,” he said.

I told him that I didn’t think that of him, but I wasn’t sure. I still found myself confused with my friend’s preference for just white girls. Maybe Howard was just going through a phase. We were both young, and maybe Howard would see the beauty in all women in a few years.

A few years passed, and I found myself talking to my friend Howard last year on the phone. We talked for a little bit, and he told me that he was talking to this white girl. He talked about how she was really cute, and he had a date with her that he was really excited about. He said, “I think this could be the one, Isaiah. I’m finally about to have my white girl.”

I joked, “Man, if you weren’t obsessed with her being white, you’d probably would’ve been having someone right now.”

We both laughed, and he asked me what my excuse was for being alone. I just shrugged and said, “I’m trying to be single. I don’t have time to be with anybody right now. I only have time for God.”

We started laughing again, and we talked for a few more minutes. Then, he had to hang up and prepare for his date. I still found myself confused with Howard, and I needed some answers. I ended up talking to my mom about Howard, and she said something interesting to me. My mom told me that Howard’s preference for white girls wasn’t wrong, but it was limiting. He had a right to prefer white girls, but it puts a limitation on him to potentially find someone that’s perfect for him.

Then, I asked her if it was wrong to have preferences, but she quickly said not necessarily. Certain preferences are necessary to make sure that you find the right person for you. If you don’t have preferences, then you’ll end up with anybody, not that special somebody.

In the end, I learned that everyone has a right to their own preferences. If you want to base your preferences on how somebody looks, then it’s perfectly fine but limiting. For me, my preferences are not about somebody’s look, race or ethnicity. My preferences for somebody is based on what’s in their heart, mind and spirit. My preferences will not limit me in finding the one for me.

This is the end of “Preferences.”

 

 

The Green Mask: Part Three

Just to recap, Matthew is surprised to see himself confronted by a boy his age named Goldie. They talk for a little bit, and Matthew quickly notices that Goldie is a more enthusiastic, positive kid than him. In addition, Matthew learns that Goldie knows about Bryan and his troubled time at his new school. Goldie assures Matthew that he’s only trying to help him, and Matthew finds himself trusting and believing in Goldie. He can’t explain why he trusts Goldie, but there was just this calming, comfortable feeling that Matthew had with Goldie. Anyways, Goldie leads Matthew to this treehouse filled with masks and a large mirror. Matthew sees a white mask with evil eyes, sharp teeth and a sinister smile. He tries to touch it, but Goldie quickly stops him and tells him to not touch it. Matthew asks why and Goldie explains that it’s for someone else with sinister intentions. Instead, Goldie presents Matthew with a green mask with a face and a big smile on it. Then, Goldie says, “This is the green mask, Matthew. This mask will help you in unimaginable ways, bro. All you have to do is give me your red sunglasses, for this green mask.”

Now, it’s time to get into “The Green Mask: Part Three.”

Matthew touches his red sunglasses and asks Goldie why he wants his sunglasses. Goldie responds, “Because they look so cool and amazing. I could rock those sunglasses with some of my masks.”

Matthew shakes his head, but Goldie continues, “I also know that those sunglasses come with a lot baggage and hurt. Those sunglasses are a curse to you, bro. Am I right?”

The sunglasses were a curse to Matthew, but he didn’t want to admit that Goldie. He just shrugs his shoulder and makes Goldie chuckle. Goldie adds, “I’ll admit that this green mask is a little bit of a curse, but it’s mostly a gift.”

“How can something be a gift and a curse?” Matthew asks.

Goldie laughs and says, “Wow, I forget how young you are, bro. My bad. But this mask is a gift for you. This mask was designed especially for you to help you, but it all depends on you if this mask is a curse.”

Matthew is confused with the “young” part because they were practically the same age. He looks at Goldie and asks him who he is. Goldie replies, “I’m just someone that just wants to help you, bro. I guess I just like helping people in a way.”

Matthew asks what Goldie means, and he replies, “Well, it depends on people really. I give people the opportunity to save or doom themselves depending on their choices with me.”

“Why not just save them?” Matthew asks.

Goldie tilts his head to the right and says, “Because some people don’t want to be saved, they just want to survive. What do you want, Matthew?”

“I’m not sure what I want really. I guess I just want to be happy,” Matthew says.

Goldie tilts his head to the left and replies, “Of course, you want to be happy. I can honestly help you with that, if you just hear me out, bro.”

Matthew wants to leave the treehouse because he’s getting a weird feeling with Goldie, but he reluctantly agrees to hear Goldie out.

Goldie is happy to hear this and says, “Great, so let me tell you about this green mask.”

Goldie goes on to explain how the green mask will provide Matthew with peace and tranquility. It’s a mask that will help Matthew be comfortable being alone, but never lonely. He will smile and laugh with ease thanks to the green mask. It will help him forget his worries and welcome a new, fulfilling perspective of life. It will mask his true feelings and create the illusion of positive feelings. The green mask will ultimately help Matthew find his happiness. It all sounded good to Matthew, but he didn’t like the idea of wearing a mask. It felt wrong and deceitful to hide his emotions. Goldie quickly says, “It’s not deceitful or wrong in any way. Everyone wears a mask, I promise you. It’s just that some don’t have the right mask, bro.”

Matthew still wasn’t sure about having to wear a mask on his face. Goldie tilts his head to the right and says, “Oh, it’s not gonna be visible at all in the public eye. You’re simply putting it on your soul.”

Matthew wonders how that’s possible, and Goldie tilts his head to the left and turns it to the mirror. He walks up in front of the mirror and looks at it. Then, he says, “All you have to do is look into the mirror. Look into it and allow yourself to be lost in your reflection. Then, you will see your soul in the mirror, and that is when you will put the green mask on.”

Matthew looks at Goldie and asks him why does he wear the yellow, tiger mask. Goldie straightens up and walks over to Matthew. He looks Matthew in the eyes, and he touches his mask. Goldie thinks about taking his mask off but he doesn’t. Instead, he laughs and says, “Like I said, everyone wears a mask. I wear this mask for a reason that I cannot explain to you. It hides what it needs to hide.”

Matthew understands, but he longs to know who the kid in the yellow tiger mask really is. Is Goldie truly trying to save him?

Goldie moves away from Matthew and faces the mirror. He says, “So, will you give me your red sunglasses for this green mask that will help you achieve happiness?”

“Why do I have to give up my glasses for the green mask? I thought you were trying to save me,” Matthew says.

“I am trying to save you. You have to give up something in order to gain something, you know. In order to be better, you have to change. There’s no middle ground, bro. You can either keep the red sunglasses or give them up for something better. Something that will change your life. Something that will give you hope. The green mask will do that for you. It will give you back what you have lost and forgotten. Please, take the green mask and let go of the red aviator sunglasses,” Goldie begs.

This is the end of “The Green Mask: Part Three.”

I will be posting the fourth and final part of “The Green Mask” on Thursday.

 

 

The Green Mask: Part Two

Just to recap, it’s the summertime for Matthew, and he’s having a hard time adjusting to his new school. It was the sixth grade for Matthew, and he struggled to adjust to his new school and make new friends. In addition, Matthew finds himself tormented by his troubled past with his old school, more specifically with Bryan. Matthew recalls seeking vengeance against Bryan, but it would come with a cost. Matthew would lose his innocence, condemn Bryan to a terrible fate and bear the red aviator sunglasses. Now, Matthew walks alone in his neighborhood, gets an ice cream cone from Sal’s Ice Cream shop and finds himself alone at the park. As the sun starts to set, Matthew takes off his sunglasses and begins to cry. Matthew prays to God to help him stop crying, but he’s quickly soothed by a kid around his age. Matthew realizes the kid is wearing a tiger mask covered in yellow. He thanks the kid for calming him down, and the kid tells him it’s no problem. Then, the kid says, “By the way, my name’s Goldie, but a lot of people just call me the kid in the yellow mask.”

Now, it’s time to get into “The Green Mask: Part Two.”

Matthew quickly puts on his red sunglasses and tells Goldie that it’s nice to meet him. Goldie tilts his head to the right and this confuses Matthew. Matthew asks Goldie what’s wrong, and Goldie responds, “Oh nothing, it’s just that you’re so interesting to me, Matthew, and I honestly want the best for you.”

There was a concerned look on Matthew’s face because Goldie knew his name. Also, why did he want the best for him? Before Matthew could respond, Goldie excitedly asks, “So, how was the ice cream from Sal’s? Was it good? Was it the best ice cream you ever had? Did you have sprinkles on it? Please, please, please, I have to know.”

Goldie got close to Matthew waiting for an answer. Matthew told him that Sal’s ice cream was great, but he didn’t get any sprinkles on his ice cream. Goldie says, “Oh, that’s so awesome. Now, I definitely have to give them a whirl. I just love ice cream, especially ice cream with sprinkles. I have a feeling you will too, eventually.”

After Goldie says that, he proceeds to laugh and starts running around. He talks about how beautiful and amazing the park and summer is for him. Matthew couldn’t help but chuckle at Goldie’s excitement. Matthew could tell that Goldie was a very enthusiastic, positive kid. It seemed like the world was all sunshine and rainbows for Goldie, but it was a red, dark world for Matthew thanks to his red sunglasses.

Goldie stops running around and rushes back to Matthew. He sits back on the swing next to Matthew, tilts his head to the left and asks Matthew why he was crying. Matthew responds that it was for no reason. Goldie tilts his head to the right and says, “It doesn’t look like it was for no reason. Were you bothered by Bryan and your new school?”

Matthew is shocked and asks Goldie how he knows about Bryan and his struggles at his new school. Goldie shrugs his shoulders, tilts his head to the left and responds, “I just do. I’m very, very, smart kid, bro. So, were you thinking about Bryan, school or something else?”

Matthew quickly replies that it’s nothing, and he thinks about running away because Goldie was starting to freak him out. Matthew starts to get up from his swing, but Goldie stops him. He says, “Please, don’t be scared, Matthew. I just want to help. Please, just give me a chance.”

Goldie’s touch calms Matthew down. Matthew thinks to himself that he could trust Goldie, and it’s a weird feeling. Matthew believes in Goldie. Matthew responds, “Alright, I’ll give you a chance. Tell me what have to do.”

Goldie tilts his head to right and says, “I know you can’t see it, but I’m actually smiling. I’m glad you’re letting me help you out, bro. Just follow me.”

They both get up from the swings, and they start walking with Goldie leading the way. As they’re walking, Matthew finds himself getting a little tired and wear, and he sees just a clear path in front of him. Goldie yells that they’re almost there, and Matthew ends up closing his eyes for few seconds. He opens them up and finds himself in front of tree. How did a tree suddenly appear out of nowhere? He looks around for Goldie, but he’s nowhere to be found. Where could Goldie have gone? Matthew continues to look around, but the area is unfamiliar to him. Matthew’s heart is racing as confusion and terror run rapid in his mind. Did Goldie abandon him somehow? Matthew doesn’t know what to do. He begins to pray, but there’s a yell from above. He looks up at the tree and notices a treehouse on top. Then, Goldie pokes his head out of the treehouse and says, “Hey bro, there’s no need for that. I got you, just come on up man.”

Goldie motions for Matthew to go around the tree and climb the ladder that was waiting for him. Matthew starts climbing and makes it to the treehouse. Goldie opens the door and helps Matthew get inside. When Matthew gets inside, he notices that the treehouse is covered with masks. Then, Matthew sees a big mirror in front of him, but there was nothing else in the treehouse. Just a bunch of masks and a mirror. Matthew looks around at all the masks in the treehouse, and he finds himself intrigued by a white mask. The mask had evil eyes, sharp teeth and a sinister smile. Matthew reaches to touch it, but Goldie quickly stops him. Goldie looks him in the eyes and says, “Don’t touch that mask. Ever.”

Matthew asks why and Goldie explains that it’s for someone else with sinister intentions. “Trust me, that mask is not for you,” says Goldie.

Matthew gets away from the mask, and Goldie tells him to just stand in front of the mirror. Matthew listens to Goldie and just looks at all of the masks in the treehouse. Why did Goldie have so many masks? Before Matthew could think more about the masks, Goldie presents a mask to Matthew. It’s green, and it was just a face with a big smile on it. Matthew didn’t understand. Then, Goldie says, “This is the green mask, Matthew. This mask will help you in unimaginable ways, bro. All you have to do is give me your red sunglasses, for this green mask.”

This is the end of “The Green Mask: Part Two.”

This weekend, I will be sharing poetry. Also, I will be posting part three and four of “The Green Mask” next week.

The Green Mask: Part One

It’s the summertime for Matthew, but it is hard for him to enjoy the summer. He had moved from another state last year, and he had a rough year at his new school. It was the sixth grade for Matthew. He had a hard time making new friends and adapting to his new school. Although Matthew wasn’t bullied or rejected by others at his new school, he found himself tormented by his past at his old school.

At his old school, Matthew was bullied because he was different from others. The kids there would hurt him physically and verbally, and teachers could not or rather would not do anything about it. One kid in particular that pushed Matthew to the edge was Bryan. Bryan was like most of the kids at Matthew’s old school, but he had red aviator sunglasses that made him stood out from the rest. These red aviator sunglasses with a silver lining made Bryan royalty among his peers, and he was adored by them. Bryan would eventually cross paths with Matthew, and he would hurt him in ways that pushed Matthew towards vengeance. Matthew would eventually have his revenge, but it would come at a cost. Matthew would lose his innocence, condemn Bryan to a terrible fate and bear the red aviator sunglasses.

Now, Matthew is walking alone in his nice neighborhood. He sees nothing but a red world around him thanks to the red aviator sunglasses. For Matthew, it’s a blessing and a curse having these sunglasses. He constantly sees the true, dark colors of his world, and he can ever forget the truth. Even when he doesn’t wear the glasses, he still remembers the truth. It’s imprinted in his mind, and he longs for the red world to be out of his mind. Sadly, it’s impossible for Matthew. He can never escape the red world because of his experience at his old school. Matthew can only hope for a miracle to change his perspective of the world.

As Matthew is walking, he can’t help but think about Bryan, the reason he had these red sunglasses. Matthew recalls how Bryan was scared of getting suspended and being home. He cried that his father was going to kill him, and he was begging for forgiveness. Matthew didn’t care about his tears because he wanted his revenge. Now, Matthew worries about Bryan because he realized that Bryan had a genuine fear of his dad. Matthew didn’t know all the details, but he knew that Bryan’s father wasn’t a good man. He was a father that would hurt his son in unimaginable ways.

Matthew continues his walk, but he quickly notices that he’s about to pass Sal’s Ice Cream Shop. He loved the ice cream there, and he knew that he had to get a large, vanilla cone. He walked towards the ice cream shop and noticed there was a long line. Matthew went to the back of the line and excitedly waited for some of Sal’s ice cream. A few minutes later, it was finally his turn to order a vanilla ice cream cone. Matthew ordered a vanilla ice cream cone, paid for it and received it in seconds. Matthew took his ice cream cone and decided that he wanted to go to the park. He was considering to eat his ice cream at Sal’s, but he saw that he was making some people at the ice cream shop uncomfortable. So, he just decided that it would be best to eat his ice cream somewhere else.

Matthew walks to the park and notices right away that no one was there. He was thrilled. He was excited to have the park all to himself and to be alone with his thoughts. Then, Matthew goes towards the swings and decides to sit down on a swing. He starts swinging a little back and forth and continues to enjoy his ice cream. As he finishes it, Matthew hears the laughter of other kids having fun together. Matthew thinks to himself, “It must be nice to have friends.”

As the sun starts to set, Matthew takes off his red sunglasses and begins to cry. He tries to stop himself, but he can’t. His tears are uncontrollable. Matthew can’t understand why he’s crying all of a sudden, and he hates it. He despises the tears that are coming down his face, and he wants them to desperately stop. Matthew starts to have a hard time breathing. He can hear his heart pounding rapidly in his body, and he doesn’t know how to stop it. Matthew closes his eyes and prays to God. He prays for God to calm him down and help him pull himself together. Before he can finish, a hand touches Matthew’s shoulder and says, “Whoa, whoa, whoa. There’s no need for that, I promise you. I got you, bro. Just relax and take a deep breath.”

Matthew listens to the child-like voice behind him, and he starts to relax. Suddenly, a wave of relaxation and comfort flows through Matthew in ways he couldn’t imagine. Matthew decides to take a look behind him, and he sees a little kid. The little kid is around the same age as Matthew. The little kid is wearing some yellow tennis shoes, blue shorts and a yellow T-shirt. However, the little kid was wearing a tiger mask that was covered in yellow. It was weird and bizarre to Matthew, and he gathered in his head that this kid’s favorite color was yellow.

After Matthew takes in all the yellow the kid was wearing, he thanks to the kid for his advice and for helping him calm down. The kid responds, “Oh, it was no problem, bro. I’m happy to help. Do you mind if I sit next to you on the swing.”

Matthew tells him that it’s fine, and the kid proceeds to sit next to him. Then, he says, “By the way, my name’s Goldie, but a lot of people just call me the kid in the yellow mask.”

This is the end of “The Green Mask: Part One.”

Also, be sure to check out the short story “Red Aviator Sunglasses: Parts One and Two” on the Dark Colors series, if you haven’t already. That short story will provide great context for this short story, and each part can be found in the Table of Contents page on the Warfield Zone.

I will be posting part two of “The Green Mask” on Thursday.