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19. Bitches' Night Out
Jaison could kill them Bitches; they were always running late. Wasn't it supposed to be stereotypical to him and his? The first time he heard someone use "colored people time" he responded, "Fuck that ignorant shit!" and made it a point to get to places fifteen minutes early. Well except that one time. And that other time. And that one other time, at Spin. Whatever, the point was he was there at the corner of Halsted and Buckingham because he sure wasn't waiting for them late Bitches outside of Scarlet by himself. He sent a group text to Tristan, Braden, and Efrain: "Where the fuck you Bitches at?"

A stocky white guy in green approached him. "You're gonna have to move it along."

Jaison looked up from his phone. "Excuse me?"

"There's no loitering on the street. You have to either patronize one of the local businesses or go back to where you came from."

"Where I... ?" Jaison stood aghast. "And who are YOU, exactly?" Stocky white guy in green tapped at the security logo on his t-shirt. Jaison stood appalled, not moving. Stocky white guy in green pulled out a police badge.

"Listen, I may not have the official authority right now, but I'm a cop and... "

"I'm waiting for my friends!"

"Great, because that's exactly what this neighborhood needs, more of you and your friends." Jaison was about to get real loud and ignorant, when Tristan, Braden, and Efrain came up hooting and hollering from around the corner.

"That's where you is, Bitch!" screamed Tristan as Jaison came into sight. Seeing stocky white guy in green, he said, "Oh sorry boo. We didn't mean to... "

"Nah, that's cool. We're done here, right officer? Here go my friends, we're about to patronize that business right over there." Jaison flipped his imaginary hair as he pivoted away, Braden, Efrain, and Tristan gawking at the off-duty police officer.

"What was that about?" asked Tristan, as they showed their ID's to the door guy at Scarlet.

"Racist asshole," muttered Jaison. The whole incident left Jaison with a bad taste in his mouth and even the second round of drinks couldn't wash that taste out: he was salty.

"I know it sucks, babe, but I'm glad for the security," said Tristan. "Makes me feel a little safer."

"But I wasn't even doing anything!"

"You know them stupid pigs are always looking for some reason to fuck with us, mija," said Efrain.

"And it's not like you're like the other ones anyway," Braden pointed out. And if the drinks weren't so expensive, they would've been dropped.

"What the fuck is that supposed to mean?" Jaison demanded. Braden was taken aback by his tone.

"I just mean that you're not like them. You don't rob or steal or anything. You're not THAT black." Efrain and Tristan took a step back.

"Is that supposed to be a compliment?!"

"Look, security wasn't hired for people like us, alright? It's for people like them. And you're not like them."

"Yeah? Well tell that to your precious fucking security! Shit on this block was racist enough before they showed up!"

"Maybe if there'd been security all along, Tristan wouldn't have been robbed!"

"The fucker who robbed Tristan was white, STUPID! But you don't see THAT on the news, do ya?" Jaison slammed down some cash on the bar. "This one's on me, Bitches. I'm finna go. Not feelin' quite so sociable tonight." Braden scoffed indignantly as Jaison left, but Tristan hated it. He hated when his Bitches fought and he hated that this whole race thing or whatever was an actual issue with his friends. He wanted to chase after Jaison and talk it out but he knew that Jaison would need his space. And he knew that it would definitely take more than one night to talk it out.

The night played out per usz, just sans Jaison. Braden chased a boy for most of the night and Efrain danced his ass of off until he sweated the vodka out. Tristan tried to make time with some random, but his heart wasn't in it. After a couple more vodka cranberries, he slipped out quietly.

Shit like this didn't really affect Tristan so he never really thought about it. And besides a good kiki with the Bitches, Jaison never really mentioned it either. Sometimes, Tristan just flat out forgot that Jaison was black, it was just a part of him. He wished that Braden hadn't gotten so ignorant and that Jaison hadn't gotten so mad. Sure, it was a touchy subject, but they were friends: couldn't they just agree to disagree?

As Tristan walked south on Halsted, on the west side of the street, a group of black teens were walking towards him. Some were in various stages of gender transition. Some of the guys were wearing wife-beaters and sagging, baggy shorts. They were hooting loudly and crassly. Each step they took closer to Tristan made his heart beat faster. As if out of instinct, Tristan looked both ways, than ran across the street. He began walking the opposite direction from his place to excuse the sudden cross. Part of him felt that he did the right thing and felt safe. Most of him felt like shit about it.

###

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