Short Stories


He stared at me, hidden and protected by all the dropped heads looking at their phones in the crowd. He looked like an officer, but most white men do to me. He had a gun snuggling against his hip though. But he didn’t have a uniform on, just a faded shirt that said FBI: Female Body Inspector accompanied with cargo pants with thirteen pockets and scuffed combat boots. Who was he? He scanned my body like an x-ray. He started at my hour-old haircut, then my father’s dog tags around my neck, then my t-shirt with the college I got into residing on it, then my ripped jeans, then my Jordans. His eyes kept going back up to my pants, staring. Staring. What was he looking at?

He thought I had a gun in my pocket. But when I pulled the gun out of my pocket it turned out to just be my large mocha hand clutching my cellphone with quiet and soft tunes belching out of it. All I had on me was my phone and my graduation cap and gown wrapped in thick, sealed plastic in the seat next to me. He thought he caught me red-handed. But what it really was, was black-handed. I was a criminal for the un-cracked black skin painted onto my hands and the rest of my body. This skin, this weapon, gave everyone the freedom to inject bullets into it. Which is why as I raised my phone to show him it wasn’t a gun, a bullet was already flying towards me.

The sound of the gun devoured the trap rap, turning the train completely silent. It split the crowd on the train apart and mingled with the confined oxygen in the vicinity as it made its way to me with suspense. I had a stare down with the bullet–my watery, brown eyes stared at its hungry, red ones. It was running towards the small space between my two eyes.

I closed my eyes and strolled back in time through the biggest moments of my eighteen years: the first steps I took when I was a baby when my legs felt like overcooked noodles, squealing my mom’s name and making her cry, starting preschool which was comprised of unwanted naps and boogers for snack time, the little cap and gown I kept stumbling across as I got my certificate for graduating kindergarten, my first kiss with Dorinda Barnes in the sixth grade when she ran laughing to her friends because my lips were so chapped it scratched her, the sit-in we had in the cafeteria in seventh grade to get chocolate milk back on the menu, moonwalking across the stage as my dad did the same in the audience when I graduated eighth grade, joining the basketball team freshman year of high school and becoming one of the cool guys, falling in love with my now girlfriend sophomore year because of a common hate for our health education class and the lady who taught it who had a large mole on her neck like a witch cult tattoo, my girlfriend’s miscarriage the year after with my baby and probably because we always sent memes to each other in health instead of paying attention, making it to the end of senior year, getting accepted into Stanford, going to the barbershop to get a haircut, picking up my cap and gown for next week, getting on the train, dying.


This is a short-story I was inspired to write after reading “Bullet in the Brain” by Tobias Wolff, but I decided to write it from a perspective of a young black boy. Hope you enjoyed it! Be sure to comment your thoughts below! Happy hump day!

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3 thoughts on “Black-handed”

  1. What an intense story, wow! In the light of the current events even more touching. May I use this story in my EFL lessons (I am a German high school teacher), as a basis to discuss the current situation ?


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