270 Words

November 19, 2013 

I was driving east on Alton’s beltway

headed for the mall library?

when a ginormous white teen boy and his tiny black girlfriend

calmly held hands and stepped onto the highway

and crossed not looking left or right?

Cars didn’t crash?

They skidded tight, swerved and honked?

I was one of the honk-ees?

Cool Boy, backward-sideways-baseball capped,

after they had reached the other side,

circle-flipped us off?

“Rapscallions,” I muttered to myself.


I drove to the mall and got some books?

I exited into the walkway,

and here came skip-school Cool Boy and Impassive Girl?

CB was six foot, weighed about three-ten,

his baggy pants belted to his ample pale thighs (plaid boxers)?

IG wore casual clothes under a hoodie;

she was short, about ninety pounds, listless:


I calmly pointed out they were, uh, jackass teens—

could have been dead teens?

The dumb asses hadn’t counted on Oldboy from the highway

coming to the same place they were headed for?

Cool Boy gallantly shoved Sweetie Pie behind him,

hard enough that she stumbled?


I can’t quote word for word

Cool Boy’s (remember, he was white) tirade?

Here’s a Whitman’s Sampler:

“I am gonna f–k you up, you old man, you b—h?

You talk to mah lady dat way, b–ch?

I will f–k you ten different ways

and den you will suck mah dick—dig?

Fear me. Fear me, m—-rf—er?

Are you scared, b–ch? You niggah!”

Impassive Girl looked at the floor.

I, “niggah,” (“Recklass,” actually)

broke out in laughter,

CB and his evil-eye baby girl IG,

doubtless indignant at my effrontery, huffed off?


The above, minus the title, is 270 words long, in honor of Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, a mere 270 words, 150 years ago today. We have learned so much, come so far—too far, right?

God bless Abraham Lincoln and God bless the Un-united States of America.



About Eugene Jones Baldwin

I am a writer: non-fiction, fiction, journalism (Alton Telegraph), essays (The Genehouse Chronicles) and have a website: eugenebaldwin.com. I've published a couple dozen short stories and had eleven plays produced. Current projects: "Brother of the Stones" (available on Kindle), a book of short stories; "The Faithful Husband of the Rain, short stories"; "A Black Soldier's Letters Home, WWII,;" "There is No Color in Justice," a commentary on racism; "Ratkillers," a new play. I am an avocational archaeologist and I take parts of my collection of several thousand Indian artifacts (personal finds) to schools, nature centers, libraries etc. and talk about the 20,000 year history of The First people in Illinois. (See link to website) I'm also a playwright (eleven plays produced), musician, historian (authority on the Underground Railroad in Illinois, the Tuskegee Airmen) and teacher.
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