A work of fiction echoing real life where a veteran, weaponless yet at war at home, comes upon the quintessential partner in change…

by: Frederick Foote

She’s not my type. At all. She’s tiny, barely five feet tall, perfectly proportioned, and modestly endowed. Her face is forgettable and while she isn’t homely, she is not pretty, or even cute.

At a distance, she looks like a hyperactive third or fourth grader.

Up close, you notice four veteran scars scattered like landmarks across her left eyebrow, lower lip, right cheek, and forehead. Her small, brown, darting eyes hint of age in her forties, fifties, or beyond. She has dirty blonde hair, cut short and ragged.

She wears expensive running shoes, but jeans and t-shirts from the children’s section of Walmart.

There is a live-wire intensity about her. She is the opposite of a calming influence.

Her few friends and associates call her Kat. Others call her Alley Cat, Wee Bit, or Dixie Cunt.

I met Kat at a peaceful George Floyd rally in my hometown of San Juan, California. It was our third night of marching in a social distancing manner with face masks. The air was alive with energy and hope. We had a city-issued permit to march and experienced leadership.

On this Wednesday evening, there are about two hundred Black, Brown, White, and Asian protestors marching from Southside Park to the courthouse.

I’m Cole Jennings, a twenty-six-year-old Black veteran of our endless war in Afghanistan. I’m marching with friends from San Juan Community College.

I’m back home, still fighting our unending struggle against the state terrorism of Black people.

“Cole, where are the cops? Last night there were more cops than marchers. So, where are they tonight?”

“I don’t know, Yale. Man, this doesn’t feel right.”

We gather at the bottom of the courthouse steps. Jessica Brown, our local Black Lives Matter leader, is addressing the crowd. It’s a police ambush.

Cops burst out of the courthouse. They announce that this is an illegal assembly. Instantly we are surrounded by law enforcement from the Highway Patrol, and the San Juan, Sacramento, and Stockton police departments — and some enforcers with no uniform patches or badges.

There is no exit for us as the uniformed gangsters wade into us with enthusiasm, swinging clubs, spraying mace, and battering us with their shields and boots.

I’m back at the front lines — weaponless at war at home.

Why? Why are they doing this? What’s the point? I’ll never understand this shit. 

An older woman, holding up her frail hands, is clubbed to the ground. The cop raises his baton to hit her again. I rush him. Kat jumps out of the crowd and goes down on all fours behind the thug.

The goon flies over Kat. His helmet hits the concrete with a cracking sound. He drops his club. Kat snatches it up, smashes his facemask three times with blood flying every which way.

I scoop up the older woman, bleeding from a head wound, and move toward the street. Kat clears a path for me with her truncheon and her screamed threats. People are running in every direction amid shouts and — the sounds of wood and boots on flesh and bone echo off the courthouse. I step into the street.

A car stops, a young white couple jumps out. They help me load the wounded woman into the backseat. As their car pulls away, a cop chases a thin, teenage black girl past us. Kat trips the cop with her club. The cop goes down hard and bounces up with his gun pointed at Kat.

I’m yelling, “No!” as he adjusts his helmet.

The skinny girl the officer was chasing, jumps on his back, arm around his throat.

Kat knocks the gun out of his hand with her club. I kick him in the knee and he crashes to the ground.

Three other cops are racing to their comrade’s aid.

I tell the girl to run. She sprints across the street, dodging cars. Kat and I back into the traffic. A truck squeals to a stop, inches from me.

The three cops threatening us stop, gather up their partner, and hurriedly retreat.

I look behind us and see a wave of young men racing across the street toward the cops. It’s a busload of football players from San Juan State College.

Kat and I join their charge.

Hours later, at Kat’s downtown studio apartment, we are naked in her shower, washing tear gas from our eyes and skin. We have cuts, bumps, scrapes, bruises, and my right eye is swollen shut.

We fuck.

We don’t talk much. I do suggest we award the slender Black girl our Protesters’ Medal of Honor if we ever see her again. Kat agrees as she strokes my dick.

In Kat’s bed, we watch the coverage of the “riot” on television and social media. One station describes the event as “a violent, sadistic, malevolent, attack on trapped peaceful protesters and reporters.” There is hope.

The Fox station was at a different event, “Police injured in a confrontation with Black Lives Matter mob.” Hope fades.

Social media shows too many violent details to stomach. One protester is confirmed dead, six others are in the hospital, one critical. Ten cops were injured, two are in the hospital. Over seventy demonstrators were arrested.

We’re too angry and frustrated to fuck again.

We introduce ourselves at last.

We eat and drink too much. We talk about the coronavirus and joke about safe sex.

I have a girlfriend.

She has a significant other.

“Cole, Sugar, we may be stuck with each other for a minute. Are you good with that?”

“Kat, I need to go home. I have school.”

“Sugar, you are at home. School days are over. And look,” she says as she shows me her phone, “hundreds of us are back at the courthouse.”

“Oh, shit, Kat, is that the National Guard? Let’s go.”

We fuck first — one for the road.

We rush back to the protest. Kat, just my type. My instant lover and my war mate — into the breach again, for as long as it takes.

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