Nobody Remembers My Name

bus

 

Nobody remembers my name.  They probably never knew it. Oh, the papers made a meal of the incident and some people got their pictures taken and were interviewed by the reporters. But not me. In fact the cops didn’t even take a statement and I was never called to give evidence in any of the court cases.

It could have been anyone who set the whole thing off but in the end it was yours truly and I would have thought that there should have been some recognition of this.

It wasn’t totally an accident that I caught that particular bus heading for Cleveland Avenue that evening. I had let one go by a few minutes earlier because I wanted a word with my friend Jimmy Blake who I knew to be driving on that route and his bus usually stopped outside the Empire just about then. He owed me some money and I needed it. Five bucks ain’t chickenfeed.

Then bang on 6 o’clock, a minute or two later than usual, old Jimmy stops to let some passengers off and me and a few others on. The bus is quite full as usual and as usual Jimmy has to ask some of the Negroes to go stand in the back so I can sit down.

Things then got a bit confusing. These people just ignored Jimmy at first but when he got out of his seat and walked back down towards them, all but one shifted themselves.  One woman stayed. A tiny little thing she was or maybe it just seemed so because Jimmy is such a huge bastard. Jimmy was naturally quite angry at having to leave his cab and told the woman to move or else. He wasn’t smiling. Surprisingly she just sat there. At first I thought maybe she was deaf or drunk or something, but then I realized she was just being uppity. She said a few words to Jimmy, but spoke too softly for me to make out what she was saying. Anyway, Jimmy threatened to call the cops and at that point I decided to leave the bus as there was no way that it would be moving for a while and I wasn’t going to be late for my dinner. So I jumped off and caught the next one going my way.

Well, I didn’t give any of that a thought again until I bumped into Jimmy at the Montgomery All Nite Eatery a few weeks later and he tells me that that woman has been found guilty of convening the City Code for not obeying his instructions and fined ten dollars or so plus expenses but is refusing to pay and is appealing to a higher court. None of this bothers Jimmy because, despite a bit of fuss from the higher-ups, his supervisor said he had handled the situation by the book and that he was just following orders, so no problem there.

What happened next is history. But I seem not to ever have been written into it, let alone written out of it. Nobody knows my name. I had hoped Jimmy would have told people who I was, but he didn’t. Apparently nobody ever asked.

But apart from that, things weren’t too bad. Jimmy got to keep driving the bus and I got back what he owed me.

The Negro woman was fired from her job shortly afterwards and had to leave town. We don’t tolerate that sort of behaviour around here.

 

 

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3 Responses to Nobody Remembers My Name

  1. Pingback: We Will Overcome | patrickprinsloo

  2. I loved, loved, loved this story! (I teach the Civil Rights era during my winter session to my 8th Graders, viewing history through literature. I also give reflection pieces, photo prompts, story starters and response-writing assignments during this unit. Your piece inspired me!)

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