by Tony Wayne Brown
We go to the public park off Madison Street in order to safely hold hands because I am Muslim, she is not. It takes so very long to walk all the way to Madison Street that it becomes dark by the time we manage to travel that far. We hope a policeman is checking out the bums and perverts who are sprawled on the benches and tables. Sadly, there is not a policeman around, only lots of vagrants and twisted, ugly faces. Where else can we go, we ask, but there is no other place we can go now. A patrol car appears far away down Madison Street, slowly moving in our direction. We cheer and say how lucky we are tonight that it will be safe to hold hands in the park off Madison Street because a policeman is patrolling the area. Our heads hang low now as it comes closer and we can see the face of the policeman. We turn and start walking quickly back to where we came from without holding hands. We know who the policeman is. We both know who the policeman is. The policeman is her father.
Greenville, NC writer Tony Brown won the 2011 Union County Writers’ Creative Nonfiction Contest and earlier Art Forum’s fiction competition. His work has appeared in/been accepted by Short-Story Me, Blink Ink, Down in the Dirt, Midwest Literary Review, One Forty Fiction, The Storyteller, and elsewhere, as well as three anthologies. He has also received honorable mentions from both Writer’s Digest and Writer’s Journal.