The Minstrel

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There had been a news brief. It was traumatic in and of itself, as Days of our Lives, Another World and Pacific Palisades were hacked in the prime of their hour long lives. But then, reality hit. Black faces were shown, and all eyes were riveted to the TV as never before. The blacks. They were starting up again. Many delicate female hearts in the walls behind the fortress almost came to a start. Why couldn’t the Negroes shut up? came the angry growls of their male protectors as they sat at their three-martini lunch. Couldn’t they leave us white folk alone and just go back to killing themselves off like they were so good at doing ?

The walls of their fortress was breaking.

Several stores in the White Plains area had been ransacked. They were part of a strip mall of a particular person. This person, Randall Capriani, was the father of one such David Capriani, the arresting officer of Tony Jesus Velda. Mr. Velda, 32, an African American mixed with two parts Puerto Rican and one part Italian, was charged with one count of second degree murder. His arrest came after the stabbing of Benedict, 57, a Presbyterian who had been a respected member of his community for years. The hotel manager saw a man of his description leaving the building at the alleged time of death of Reverend Whitman. However, there were at least twenty people who could vouch for Mr. Velda’s whereabouts at the time of Reverend Whitman’s killing. They said that he was working at Jimmy’s pizza all night the day of the alleged attack. HE worked there as a cook. Did he ever make a delivery for someone else, Capriani had asked the owner. Occasionally, Jimmy admitted. But not that night. He was sure of it. How many employees do you have. Jimmy said, forty, give or take. So Capriani arrested Velda anyway, because he thought Jimmy meant well but was too confused to remember the exact detail of that night. Velda’s neighbors said Capriani arrested Velda because the hotel manager was white and Jimmy was black. So were the rest of the people who could vouch for Velda’s alibi. And the whites, they always stuck together. If you were black, the hell with what you wanted t say. Well they were going to listen now..

The fortress was at war. The minstrel stood by and watched. Black faces were everywhere, screaming and yelling, running and throwing things. Many were taking things from the stores as they fled. It was like the end of the world.

He jogged unnoticed to a ransacked grocery store, seemingly abandoned in the noise. Taking a loaf of bread from the shelf, he searched for someone so he could pay. If there really was no one here, he would go to the church and make a donation. He almost gave up when he saw a man cowering in the corner, a black man. The minstrel was reaching into his pocket for money when he was startled by a scream coming form the man.

He was speaking in Spanish. The minstrel saw that his mouth was forming different words than he was saying, so he knew that the Holy Spirit was interpreting for him. The man was saying not to come any closer, or else he would shout. IT was then that the minstrel saw the gun in the figure’s hand, and the minstrel was filled with sudden deep rage.

Snarling, the minstrel lunged forward in a frenzy, knocking the piece from the startled man’s hand. The minstrel was fast. God was on his side, he knew that. With the venom that Christ possessed when He knocked over the temple, the minstrel grabbed the weapon, dumped the contents of the magazine on the floor, and with his bare hand, smashed the gun on the ground until it broke while its owner watched helplessly in paralyzed fear.

Afterwards, they faced each other. The minstrel held out his hand to help the man to his feet. The storekeeper flinched, but slowly seemed to accept the minstrel’s hand. They stood eye to eye. Black and white, deceptively white. The minstrel could feel that the man was only seeing skin. But he saw more. The fight was not against flesh but spirit. God’s spirit united all. Still holding the man’s hand, he said a prayer for both of them. He heard the man praising Jesus. God’s spirit united all

He gave the storekeeper the money. Finally, the man accepted it. The minstrel looked outside. The streets were quiet, so he decided to leave. He bade farewell to his friend, who gave him God’s blessings in return.


Christmas lights. There were Christmas lights in the store windows, as well as menacing Jack-o’-lanterns with their empty features. The minstrel stared at the windows, the violence of the day drifting further and further from his ears. He praised God for His Almighty protection and prayed for the souls who acted out tonight. He also prayed for his new friend.

He caught his reflection in a storefront window. Lines in his face which he had not noticed before, lines which signified that in worldly terms his journey to the Lord’s home was half over. White skin, paleness which had both hidden him and cursed him amongst his people. He touched the image; the image touched him back, each trying to discover the other’s identity, yet united. He knew he was God’s child, yet there was a stranger before him. He was going to be called to God sooner than what the world expected, he knew that he had lived many more years than he had left. He looked forward to that day when the Lord called him back home. The emptiness within him would be gone forever. He would see Lupe and little Pablo again, and one day Raulita would join them. He wanted to see Raulita before then, at least before he died. It was the only wish he had for his life.

His reflection seemed as a demon, Satan had much power and could manifest in many ways, even though his power was only a fraction of that of the Lord’s. The Evil One was eating at this sinner’s soul. A tear fell from the minstrel’s eye, and he wiped it away in the mirror image, watching it elude his touch. The Holy Spirit rescued him then, letting him fall to the ground to experience a world where all he saw was light and the smile of a child that he had always loved.

He did not even feel the pain that had caused him to fall.

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