For One Brief Shining Moment

I get the feeling that God gave me the day off on New Year’s Eve and said ‘here you are Dave, kick back and enjoy’. A two day back and forth jaunt to downtown Denver led me through the best of life and the worst. The day before New Year’s Eve I received a call from my passionate Latino monster, Eduardo, who said he was stranded on the west side and needed me down there to help him. I hopped on the bus toward town, not really sure which bus to transfer and meet up with him but on my way nonetheless. It was somewhat dark and the bustle on Colfax Avenue was alive and stomping in my part of town…the heart of a Latino/African American subculture that mutated from being victims of society and their own failure to rise above personal mental obstacles; A generation or more of hard working vatos and crack dealing pipe thumpers mixed in with some Korean wangsters (gangster wanna-be’s) and street crazy winos. Neighborhoods filled with pawn shops and marijuana dispensary clinics, bad hookers and callused skin everyday people just trying to get home. Cracked neon lit marquess announcing FIESTA A FIN DE ANO and CARNICERIA on every other block heading toward the west side.

The bus  slowed down to let an elderly black woman board. Up the street I see portable floodlights and four Denver officers surveying an area outside someone’s house. The lady boarding announces to anyone and everyone listening to her that there had just been a shooting recently. “-Took out the whole fam’bly” . That quieted everyone down. “Yeah took out the whole fam’bly. It was some of the Somalians and their gang war shit. Terrible.” The lady takes a seat and the bus pulls away leaving everyone to reflect on the horror we had just passed.

After finding Eduardo and dealing with his situation (helping him clear his mind so we could find where he stashed his car) I headed back to my side of town but not before a brief stop off to peer in on the Occupy protestors. The support for the cause had dwindled to a mere circle of individuals, not more than twenty at best, who had been broken by weather, cops and dissention amongst themselves. Some guy who appeared to be in his mid twenties expressed his apathy to the group and felt the bi-daily/weekly protests they participated in were doing nothing to arouse public awareness. Other people there in the Ring of Discomfort snapped back at him and ordered the others to pay no attention to his crass analysis. The Leaders and followers of  the political zombie clan are a constant changing crowd, none of the original protesters (or even those from one week ago) remain here, all new faces to learn through osmosis that their efforts are for naught.

I gave the political satire another ten minutes before leaving to grab the bus back to my familiar neck of the hood. I board the bus and a few stops down some huge Somalian gets on and sits next to me. I’ve discovered the best way to travel by bus in the shady parts of town involve jumping right in and engaging people. Those who sit quiet and dart their eyes around are more subject to problems should they arise. I lean over to this big purple-black skinned dude and ask him if he heard about the family that got killed earlier this evening just off Colfax. The gruff look on his face immediately connects with me and engages the conversation. “Yeah I heard about that hostage shooting this afternoon.” Hostage? The old black woman never said anything about hostages so we began trading stories and come to find out there were two shootings on Colfax that day, one in the afternoon and one in the evening (when I passed by). Apparently someone had broken into a home and taken a hostage, the negotiations didn’t go well and the hostage was killed. Two fatal incidents off Colfax in one day. The black man smiles at me and says “must be some people’s way to say Merry Christmas.” He starts laughing at this and the bus drives on to my destination. I have little desire at this point to go downtown for New year’s celebration tomorrow but went forth anyway, the next day.


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