by L. Vocem
I am chocolate man looking at blue man flashing his lights as he stops milk chocolate woman and light cafecito man.
I wear a neon green vest and orange shirt with the name of the city. I hold a sign that says stop on one side, slow down on the other. A crew of chocolate men like me works the dirt with a shovel, getting ready for the asphalt men to pour their black tar onto the ground.
Blue lights flash as blue man comes toward the driver’s side and asks for ID. I wave to traffic to turn, to go around the flashing lights. Another car with blue lights arrives. He blocks where my chocolate men have to work. I wave at him to move forward. I point with my finger where he can park. Blue man looks at me with suspicion. He sees my neon yellow and orange vest. He sees my construction white helmet. He sees the name of the city. He moves his car forward to where I pointed. He gets out and stands behind the car with milk chocolate woman and light cafecito man in it, holding his hand on top of his gun.
My crew looks up for a second, but they have no time to waste. Black tar will be arriving soon. Covered in sweat, they look down at the dirt they have to move. I tell the cars to go around the blue lights.
They tell light cafecito man to get out of the car. He seems confused but gets out of the car. They scream at him. He stops. He is afraid. They push him toward the end of the car. Second blue man smacks him to the ground. Light cafecito man moves his hands. Blue man puts his boot on light cafecito man’s face.
I want to take my phone out and record. I want to show the world what is going on. Why were they stopped? I don’t know. Are they being deported? I don’t know. Are they criminals? I don’t know. I feel my phone in my pocket. She is milk chocolate, he is light cafecito. I am chocolate man. I don’t take it out. I wave to traffic to move.
The first blue man tells milk chocolate woman to get out. She opens the door and starts talking to him. She waves her hands like mi tía Juana does when she talks. Blah, blah, blah, blah, she usually goes. Blue man smacks her into the ground and puts her hands behind her back.
Milk chocolate woman and light cafecito man are on the hot ground with handcuffs on their wrists. Blue man goes inside his car. Second blue man walks towards me. I want to run. Maybe he is now coming for me. I will take it from here, he tells me, and begins to direct traffic.
I move back to where my crew is with my sign. I tell the cars to stop or to slow down. Another blue car arrives. They lift milk chocolate woman and light cafecito man from the ground and place them in the car. Their faces are burning red with pebbles stuck to them. They are taken away. Only one blue man is left behind, until a tow truck with the sign of the cross comes over and takes the milk chocolate woman and the light cafecito man’s car away.
I wave to my traffic to stop, to slow down, until the tar truck arrives and we cover the road in black.
L. Vocem’s stories have appeared in The Americas Review, Magic Realism, Well Versed, storySouth, and Zoetrope All-Story Extra. He was the featured writer for the Paumanok Review and won Best Fiction second prize in AIM Quarterly.
His story, “Speaking in Spanglish,“ is coming out in the Spring 2018 issue of Azahares Literary Magazine, and one of his photographs was published in the December 2017 issue of Blue Mesa Review. He has a BFA from the Atlanta College of Art (now Savannah College of Art &
Design SCAD), and attended the Iowa Summer Writers’ Workshop. He lives in Alpharetta, Georgia. To read L. Vocem’s published stories, go to lvocem.com.
Featured image courtesy of Dixon Hamby.