Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Mural
Wally Gobetz/Flickr

PREVIOUSLY: An elderly woman passing Black Fields in a crowded place clutched her handbag tightly, making three things very clear to Fields: she saw him as someone without morals, he was stupid and his very existence bothered her… 

Then he recalled the Frantz Fanon passages he had read a few days prior. Fanon wrote, “Hate demands existence and he who hates has to show his hate in appropriate actions and behavior.” The woman’s ‘actions and behavior’ definitely demonstrated this theory.  

Fanon also mentioned, “The oppressed enslaved by his inferiority, the oppressor enslaved by his superiority, behave in accordance to his neurotic condition.” This woman was definitely acting “in accordance to her “neurotic condition.” Fields contemplated whether repeated scenarios such as this could do damage to a man’s psyche, spirit, and soul. “Maybe I got a neurotic condition too?” 

He reflected on his childhood. About how he was considered bad at home, disruptive in school, and always received a frown from the store owner when he shopped for his candy, soda, and chips. He wondered why his babysitters pinched, beat, and mistreated him when no one was watching. Why was he bullied and teased by his classmates without any adult intervention? Why didn’t his mother communicate with him? Why was work, telephone, and television, more important than him to her? Why had the world turned against him at such an early age? 

“F*** it!” Fields spat. Then he growled under his breath, “I gotta get me a dipper.” 

Then he heard a car engine fire up and he looked to his right. One of the police cruisers was beginning to exit the parking lot. Again he thought of Emmett Till and began to smolder. 

“They still capable…” he thought, as the image of young Emmett in his casket marinated on his mind. The handsome young man resembled the “Elephant man” by the time the lynching was completed. 

Then Fields slammed his fist on the trash can beside him and said to himself, “How could any of ‘em be scared? I should run 90 miles per hour in the opposite direction any time I see one of ‘em.” 

“She is much, much more of a threat to me than I can ever be to her,” he hissed through gritted teeth. Then in a flash he thought of Yousef Hawkins, Amadou Diallo, and Travon Martin. 

Fields just shook his head, “Our lives don’t matter.” 

The woman had moved on past and was now making her way up the stoop of the Chipotle. He watched astutely as the distance between her and the vicious looking animal decreased. Once she approached the door, the animal rushed her.  

“Oh boy!” she gleamed and smiled from ear to ear. Her face had changed from being stone like to kind and bubbly. 

“Down boy!…good dawgy…Down now!” Finally, the dog settled and she smiled as she bent down and kissed him square on the mouth. Then she raised up to reach for the door handle and opened. Before she entered, she looked across the way at Fields. He could see her expression immediately change from merriment and endearment, back to disdain and abhorrence. 

“W-T-F!” he murmured. ”No such thing as humility anymore.” 

Once again, Fields became overcome by that familiar feeling. He needed twenty dollars in the worst way. The cravings was more than he wanted to endure at times. But there was no turning back. He had to satisfy that burning hunger. He felt as if he could break down and go to crying but he couldn’t get it out. 

In the back of his mind he could still hear his mother chastising him, “You must change…” He also heard his homeboy’s voice, “You need to read your Bible…” He felt lost, depressed, and didn’t know what to do. 

Out of nowhere Fields felt a gust of strength and stamina. His inner voice told him to pray and these words rolled off of his tongue, “Lord please grant me peace of mind; please forgive me for my sins — my misguided thoughts, ways, actions and words; please help me to improve and become a better person; and please continue to protect me and bless me until you call me home…Amen.”  

Fields paused, then thought, “Oh yeah Lord, I don’t know if anyone else is asking, and it can’t be that difficult. Can we please have world peace? Please?” 

To be continued. This is an excerpt of Duane Foster’s manuscript “The Black Fields Chronicles: THE HOBO.”