"Surviving Tyson Country" | By: Jerry Vilhotti | | Category: Short Story - Adventure Bookmark and Share

"Surviving Tyson Country"

This night, when Johnny could have been killed by three guys who thought he had sideswiped them not realizing he had avoided a crash by going onto the sidewalk and around a pole to avoid hitting them - fooled by the guy signaling he was going right but instead decided to go left - in East New York and if Johnny had not maintained a speed of thirty-five miles an hour so getting only green lights to get through the very large neighborhood only to stop at King's Highway to say "let's talk" where four gas stations were situated to see and hear him and the three guys who had come after him crossing red lights and nearly getting crashed into a few times in this ten o'clock night that had only the biggest guy come at him at the urging of the little guy who always carried a knife to add ten inches to his small stature and was able to send the charger staggering back two times with his right fist. A few minutes later Johnny told the African-American sergeant, who arrived at the scene and wanted to arrest him for creating a disturbance, that though the American elite regarded teachers as stupid baby-sitters so not worthy of a decent pay - did he look so dumb as to go looking for a fight with guys in this area - and when the cop finally said at the urging of his partner who was a European-American that he was going to arrest the "niggers" Johnny said he would not press any charges as it was just a misunderstanding among four men and left them to continue on his way home after a long day of teaching and taking one of his night courses toward his master's in world literature at Shealane College in Manhattan .... After this night Johnny would have a recurring dream: he would be walking in a very deep darkness on a street pushing a gurney toward intersections watching for traffic lights to see if they remained green but instead of turning to red would fade into a blackness and yet he always managed to get over to the other side and just then an American-Black man, a father to his children, began walking to his side and just as suddenly on his left side appeared an African-American cop walking along a bank slightly above the sidewalk and coming toward him were two young American-Black boys smiling happily; similar to the youngsters he was teaching near Myrtle Avenue; telling all his students education was a possible door to getting out of their rat infested slums and behind them walking slowly with an angry face was another man coming toward him as the man who was Johnny in the dream continued to push forward crossing every intersection whose light would go from a green to a blinking darkness and when Johnny looked to his left lying in the burnt brown grass was the severed head of an African-American .... Johnny always awoke at this point of the dream and recalled vividly how that night returning to their apartment overlooking the Flatlands of Brooklyn he had gone to his four month old son's crib and placed his finger into his hand and only after the baby's tight squeeze and loving smile did he allow himself to cry .... END
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