Maybe it was the vicious slap he'd just given me on the head with his nightstick. Or perhaps it was the fact that he'd punctured the left headlight on the '56 Chevy I'd worked so hard to buy. Mostly it was the way the sheriff looked at me, that glare he'd give an insect on his shoe, that told me for sure he was about to kill me.

'Don't be a hero, Loraine' I whispered in my mind, praying to God that she wouldn't sacrifice everything for me- and be caught with a Negro boy alone in a dark car. It wouldn't look good- and no one would ever understand why- why we had risked everything for our relationship. How hard we'd tried to forget each other, but that we just couldn't do it. It was too late. We were madly in love. I quickly made a nervous glance at the blanket spread out in the back seat, and hoped that Loraine would stay hidden until it was all over.

"Boy, what you doin' with this here car? You steal this car, boy?" His voice raised progressively louder, and I could feel the burning tears fighting their way through the windows of my eyes.

Why did I have to be born this color? I could feel the pure hatred the sheriff emitted from his body. He pushed back his dark aviator's glasses and narrowed his beady steel eyes at me. He had a wide face and a full beard, which minimally disguised his generous double chin. His furry mouth sneered with arrogance. A cruel face.

I slowly opened the car door, careful to show him the palms of my hands; and I emerged quietly from the driver's seat, barely breathing for fear it would set him off. On his hip rested a .45, the cold black handle staring at me menacingly. My joints and limbs were stiff with apprehension, but I willed myself to assume a submissive position. I said nothing to him. 'Speaking sets them off- they want us to be completely silent' I acknowledged to myself.

Spinning blue lights assaulted my eyes. The officer again raised the club- I could make out its silhouette in the azure strobe. I clenched my jaw in anticipation of the blow. A blinding pain in the back of my skull. Tiny white stars danced in front of the darkness, dizziness overwhelmed me. I fell to my knees. He struck again, this time on the back of my neck. I heard a billowing crack. I couldn't breathe, or feel anything anymore. In those moments before the blackness came, I thought of Loraine, and the child that now grew inside of her.