Judgements & Misconceptions
It’s about 6:15 in the morning. You’re drunk and you’re high. And you’re in Chicago. You’ve just stumbled out of some club. Somewhere. You can’t really remember. And you wobble on down to the corner, scanning the streets around you.
You reach out your slumbering arm to hail the first cab you see. He pretends not to see you. But you don’t think anything of it. Again, you reach out. Again, another cab passes and again and again and again.
And you know your neon red jacket is glowing majestic sparkles off the rising sun, so it’s impossible for them not to have noticed you standing there all shiny and shit; your shades silvery cool like mirrors reflecting Jim Morrison before he became fat and sloppy.
When a cab pulls up across the street to pick up a tall, blond-haired, manicured and well-dressed Harvard looking motherfucker, you begin to think racism and conspiracy. The dude is holding his drunken girlfriend in one arm; who vomits a little apple martini on his loafers before he rolls her into the cab. He’s just spent $1,236 for three bottles of Grey Goose and a shit load of ecstasy and blow for his friends, and only yesterday was smashing his girl’s roommate in the alley behind her building.
Of course, you wouldn’t know this. But it doesn’t matter anyway.
You’re pissed off and your anger almost sobers you up when a cab reluctantly screeches at your feet. He’s a white, mid-western flannel shirt wearing kinda guy; who’s not well shaven and is thin at the cheeks; who’s missing the weekend buffets he once devoured as a chubby child in Omaha, usually right after Sunday church, where, on occasion, little Amy with the freckles let him and his cow-tipping buddy Smithy, peak up her skirt. She never wore underwear on Sundays. Those were his best years. And now he drives a cab, late nights through the streets of Chicago, trying to avoid a fair toward the South-side.
Relieved, you quickly jump in. “Hyatt Regency please.” And he looks at you like you’re crazy. “Where? Downtown?” And you say, “Yeah.”
The whole trip down to the Hyatt, he keeps looking at you through the rearview mirror with this real suspicious stare. You try to ignore him, cause a brother like you is just interested in the beautiful Chicago skyline, the way it looks, all sparkly and clean in the sunrise.
It transcends you back to the first time you visited London and spontaneously found yourself in the middle of a legalize pot rally in Trafalgar Square, where potheads carried signs reading, “Tony Blair and Jack Straw. Legalize it!”
You recall meeting that group of Spaniards who were nice enough to share their hashish with you. And after smoking the sticky icky with these hippies all day long, this hot petit brunette sporting tight cut-off corduroys with her two smooth cheeks hanging out the back, a sliver of red thong occasionally peering out, wearing an oversized tank-top that reveals milky b-cups, hands you a small flyer with directions to an afterhours near Brixton later that night. “Quieres ir para un after?” she asks. Oh how vividly you remember those details.
But before you delve into the perversities of that glorious evening, you quickly snap out of your fluffy cloud, rudely awakened by the glistening city lights on Lake Michigan. You smile. The cabby won’t stop looking back at you. “What the fuck?” you think, and slouch against the door panel as you unwittingly bop to a four on the floor, because the umf umf umf umf still lingers in your head from a long night of beat throbbing and bass thumping. You recognize the Sears Tower. You know you’re close.
As the cab pulls up the luxurious hotel driveway, you notice the doorman, tall, creased and starched; his hat is rimmed with gold trimming; he watches as you exit the cab.
The cabby hands you a receipt for $12.58. With a curious grin, he asks, “Where you goin? To work?” Annoyed, you hand him a pile of singles and stare him in the eyes. “Work? Brotha. I’m going to sleep.” You grab your bag of records, your headphones, your bottle of water and head inside.
The shamed cabby sorts his $2.42 tip.
The doorman, like the cab driver, is suspicious. He doesn’t open your door as his job description requires and insists on seeing your room key. “These fucking assholes,” you think to yourself. But you don’t say anything cause you’ve seen this all before.
Because this guy is black, you’re convinced that they simply just can’t handle your fabulousness. So you pull out your wallet to show your room key, when an unused Magnum accidently fumbles to the floor. You casually retrieve it, so he can see who the bigger man here really is. Unfortunately, you won’t be using it this morning. Back in your pocket it goes.
You sift through your wallet and under a pack of ez-wider is the room key. You flash it; then keep it moving. “Asshole,” you think as you enter the elevator.
Your room is 2834. Inside, it feels fresh and chilly like November sunsets in New York City. You toss your bag of records on the couch, fling your boots across the room, slip out of your neon red jacket and black leather pants and stand at the window in a wife-beater and heart patterned boxers, looking down at the splendor of this Chicago morning, trying to forget the judgments and misconceptions you’ve just experienced.
You drop back unto the plush king-sized bed and watch as the swirling twinkles begin to chase each other across the ceiling, until eventually, you succumb to your sleeping beauty and the deep house tempo still playing deep in your mind.
Copyright © Wilson Santos 2011
Posted on July 2, 2012, in Fiction and tagged after hour, black, brixton, chicago, clubs, DJ, dominican, drums, drunk, Fiction, high, hyatt regency, judgements, latino, life, london, misconceptions, music, New York City, original, parties, race, racism, short story, skyline, society, stereotypes, taxi, Wilson Santos, words. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.