I drove around the neighborhood looking for a cheaper place to rent. I hadn't brought in any money in weeks and was starting to get worried.
The neighborhood was an old one and had recently been invaded by yuppies who fixed up their old houses with a vengeance. It actually looked pretty nice but still had some fairly affordable rents if you took the time to look.
After copying down a few numbers within a block of my place, I turned up Opelousas and scanned around for signs. It was about 3:30 and school kids from the near-by parochial school filled the street.
The old fire station stood there, stoically watching the proceedings. Next door to the station was an antique shop with a few Victorian chairs in the cracked front window. At this window there were three little girls dressed in their catholic school clothes apparently admiring the old things in the window.
As I drove by I thought how picturesque that little scene had been. Before I had gone ten more feet, I heard one of the little girls yell, "FUCK YOU, WHITEY!" As soon as the first one did it, the other two joined in a chorus of profanities.
Going as slow as I was, it wasn't a problem to take the next U-turn. That scared them. I slowly drove up on the antique shop and they started screaming at the top of their lungs and falling over themselves to get through the doorway. I looked around and saw an old black man sitting on a lawn chair across the street. He observed the whole thing silently and without moving a muscle. With his watchful gaze upon us, I felt confident and stopped the car.
I got out and walked up to the shop. The screaming little girls had made it into the shop where they were screaming and pointing at me and imploring a confused looking older lady to do something about me.
"Hi, I'm Duane Carter and I was just driving by..." I extended a hand and began to explain.
"What have you done to these girls!?", she asked, stepping forward and shushing the girls behind her counter.
"Nothing, ma'am! I was just about to explain to you that they had been yelling obscenities in the street and..."
She sent the girls to the back of the shop and they went, sticking their tongues at me and one even lifted her skirt at me in an obscene gesture.
"Look, ma'am. I just thought I'd let someone in charge of these girls know about their behavior. Nevermind." I said as I turned to leave.
"Stop right there you mother fucker", the old lady growled from behind me. She was pointing an old pistol at me and dialing the telephone. I didn't think she'd use it, so I turned back toward the door and took a step.
She shot me right in the back, somewhere near the kidney area. The pain was excruciating. I fell to a knee with the floor spinning under me. My head wobbling on it's perch, I spotted two of the little girls poking out from behind the counter and grinning as if someone had just wheeled in a cake before I passed out.
I came to strapped face-down to a paramedic's board being lifted into an ambulance. Once they got me in and got the van moving, a nurse of some sort stuck me with a needleful of burning liquid and I passed out again.
"So you're up?" a police officer asked from a foot in front of my face.
"Yeah", I croaked.
"You've caused quite a bit of trouble, sir."
I just looked around the hospital room. It was a nice one. I wondered who was going to pay for it.
"You want to tell me why you were chasing those little girls?"
"Yes Mr. Carter. They have all stated that you chased them up the street and into the antique shop with your penis in your hand."
"My what?! What the hell are you talking about?" I nearly fell out of the bed.
"Calm down, the restraints are for your own good." he said, indicating the straps on my ankles and wrists. "The girls say that you got out of your car and came running at them with your penis in your hand. Do you disagree with this story?"
"You're damned right I do! I was just stopping to tell their mother that they were yelling obscenities at passing cars! They yelled 'FUCK YOU WHITEY' at me fergodsake!"
"You do understand, Mr. Carter, that these girls are all Caucasians themselves."
"I didn't say it made sense! I just thought their parents should know and then that old lady shot me!"
"The lady said that you were going for a weapon."
"I don't carry any weapons. I was leaving because she looked like she was going to believe her little darlings before me."
"Uh huh." he just nodded.
"What the fuck do you mean UH HUH!? I've been SHOT! Aren't you going to do something!?"
"I'll be right outside the door if you need me. In the meantime, I think you'd better calm down." he said as he walked out.
"Don't I get a lawyer?" I yelled at the closing door.
"Not until they arrest you, you don't." said a voice from the other side of a curtain that I hadn't noticed before.
"Huh?" I squinted at the curtain.
"You don't get a lawyer until they arrest you. Right now, you're not going anywhere, so they haven't arrested you. This way you don't get a lawyer until it's too late and you've said all manner of incriminating things."
"Oh. And who are you?" I tried to peer through the thin curtain to no avail.
"Just another prisoner."
"Where are we?""This is the police ward of Charity Hospital. They'll hold us here until we're well enough to be arrested. You might be here a while...