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I made the drive to the carpool parking lot while listening to the morning news. The ever-wise pundits were lauding the president for his latest executive order which prohibited people from taking more than $200 cash from their bank accounts via ATM’s and no more than $1000 to be taken per week per customer.

The pundits said the presidents greatest stroke of genius had been not only in limiting cash withdrawals to stop a run on the banks, but adding a requirement that stated any attempts to withdraw large sums had to be in service of making a verifiable purchase like an appliance or a car.

I pulled a few dollars out of my pocket and laughed as I sorted the crumpled up bills. I could barely afford to take the bus into the city so I wasn’t too worried about taking out any money from my pitiful bank account.

The bus arrived a cool fifteen minutes late. The driver of the bus made it a point not to make eye contact with anyone attempting to board as he intoned “Please be aware that bus fare has been raised: the price is currently $5.00, exact change only. Thank you watch your step.” his announcement was met with groans and stifled protests reserved for those early morning indignities you’re not quite ready to waste your best efforts on swearing at them.

Another robot. I dug into my pocket and pulled out the wad of bills searching for a fiver. I had to settle for singles, counting out five ones and feeding them into the buses ticket dispenser.

I took a seat on the aisle of the crowded bus and stared at the floor praying that the trip would go quickly. I kept my eyes glued to the floor for most of the trip especially as we approached one of the neighborhoods where most of the clientele I served happened to live. The bus stopped at one of its multitudinous  locations in the neighborhood allowing several people to board.

Two of the new passengers were boisterous young black men, talking loudly and laughing amongst themselves as they moved toward the back of the bus. There were several conversations taking place on the bus but practically all of them were drowned out by the volume of the two young men. I kept my head down and tried to ignore them like the other passengers.

The bus trundled on, pulling away from its last stop before it would head out to the highway system that took us into D.C. proper. We had gone about a 1/2 mile when I noticed the bus had gone largely quiet due to the drone of the large diesel engine making conversation difficult. The only voices coming through clearly were those of the two young black men, though their patois made it almost impossible to discern what the nature of their conversation was.

I wanted to sleep more than anything right now. My day had gotten off to such a fantastic start all I could think about was sleeping, hopefully for the next few hours at work. Maybe my boss would have a meeting today and I could take a nap while she was out of the office.

I must have drifted off because the next thing I know someone or something hit the side of my head and jolted me awake.

“Can you hear motherfucker? I said we from the gov’ment! We here to help you contribute to the system! Now gimme yo fuckin’ wallet, bitch!” one of the young black men was standing in front of me holding open a small plastic bag of the kind you would get from a grocery store. I saw the bag already had several wallets and a some random pieces of jewelry inside.

This day just couldn’t get any better. If it wasn’t the government taking my money it was the people I was supposed to be trying to help.I fumbled around trying to get my wallet when it dawned on me that I must have forgotten it when I’d had my routine interrupted by the code officer this morning.

“Look, this is all I have” I said as reached into my pocket and produced the little bit of money I had on me. I held out the bills which amounted to thirteen dollars and stuffed it into the bag.

The robber turned to look at his friend who had been egging him on during most of the crime doing a sort of version of color commentary as I handed over my money.

“Broke-ass bitch, I oughta take the rest of my money out yo’ ass!”  he moved forward suddenly as if to hit me. I closed my eyes and flinched waiting for the impact. It never came. Instead the two of them just laughed at my reaction and the one with the bag moved on down the line.

“Hey G, watch out for dat mothafucka right dere.” said the robber cum color man. “He might get his homo on you, give you dat AIDS!”

The robber was stopped in front of a John Waters lookalike with his bag thrust into the man’s face. Mr.Waters apparently didn’t want any trouble either handing over his wallet without even looking.

The bag man turned to the next passenger and held out the bag. “Yo homes, give it up, I ain’t got all day be waitin’ on yo’ cracka-ass!”

“No, I think I’m going to pass.” Said Homes.

“What? Bitch this ain’t no multiple choice final-jeopardy shit! Gimme yo’ money or Imma bust out my 9!” said the Bag Man.

“Okay. Deal. Let’s see it.” Homes said uncrossing his legs and tilting his head slightly to look up at the Bag Man.

“Hey mothafucka this ain’t no game! Gimme your money or Imma . . .”

Bag Man didn’t get to complete his threat.

Homes’ hand moved forward with tremendous speed to connect with Bag Man’s testicles. The sickening wet smack sound the punch made was enough to drop Bag Man to his knees and make the rest of the men on the bus fight to keep their breakfasts down.

Homes stood up and delivered a kick to Bag Man’s face that must have knocked him unconscious. Seeing all this the other robber’s color commentary had stopped as he stood there frozen, watching Homes stand over the body of his friend.

Homes held out his hand waving to entice Color Man to come at him. Color Man’s mouth closed and he found his courage, straightening up and raising his hands as if to box with Homes.

Color Man took a step forward. Homes raised his leg and drove it down onto Bag Man–either on the head or neck I couldn’t see– with enough force to make the bus rock under the blow and producing a sound like someone cracking ice with a hammer.

“Whoops.” Homes said and smiled, twisting his foot on Bag Man seeming to enjoying the wet gushing sound that resulted.

I watched horrified at what happened next. Like something out of a movie Homes jumped over Bag Man and grabbed the other robber looking like he meant to box his ears. Instead he dug his thumbs into Color Mans eyes spraying himself, me and several other passengers with the kids blood.

The screams coming from Color Man hit a pitch I didn’t know a grown man could make.  Color Man had pissed himself at some point during this assault and was screaming for his mother and Lord Jesus so loud that he almost managed to drown out the panic sounds made by the other passengers.

Homes took out what appeared to be a hunting knife of some sort with a silver cap on one end and smacked Color Man in the side of the head with the knife until he too lost consciousness.

“That’s why you don’t bring a nothing to a me fight.” Homes said enjoying a laugh at what was apparently a joke.

Homes turned around and grabbed the bag off the floor and handed it to the John Waters lookalike. “You’ll make sure everyone gets back what’s theirs?”

The lookalike, tears streaming down his face and snot coalescing on his pencil thin mustache nodded mutely took the bag as he tried to stifle a sob. Homes smiled and pointed at me ” Yes, Tonto, I am… the Lone Ranger.” he said as he made for the door to exit the bus.

I nodded dumbly at his words and then vomited violently into the aisle.

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