Rigorous
Volume Two, Issue 2



Even though there were four potential witnesses and a street camera to contend with,

Frankie Metro


I briefly considered walking out the door with a chorded pair of hand clippers wrapped around my fist like it was a free form mace and circling back to find the motherfucker who threw a rock at me only minutes earlier.

Obviously, I’m still not completely over the trauma of the event. That day I kept hearing Tom Hardy saying “Yes brother. The fire rises,” with the voice of Bane in my head, over and over.

Ever since that day, I’m learning more about how testosterone and liver damage contributes to adult onset acne. I need to drink less, eat more Cliff bars, more fruits & vegetables, and less processed foods to clear out the excess sebum deposits in my t-zone. I don’t know why I’m so competitive. Lately, I’ve found myself hanging with my co-workers at a local bar-cade and I honestly loathe every second of it. But I love NBA Jam. Unfortunately, some of the crew do too.

One of my bosses was recently robbed at gunpoint outside the store after closing. He described the assailant as a dark skinned black man averaging 6’1, wearing a blue jacket with stripes on the sleeves. His face was mostly covered at the time of the assault, but Kaz was able to make out that there was a gun pointed to his chest. All in all, he lost 40$/a little pride that night, and luckily there was a camera outside the dumpster area that was functioning. Kaz hung up a screenshot from the footage of the guy as he was running away with the money and there was debate on his supposed ethnicity. When invariably approached with question to my own opinion, I examined the pixels as closely as I could and from what I could discern he was white and I said as much. That furthered the debate as I’m the only non-hispanic POC at my workplace.

Several weeks went by and Kaz stayed in touch with the police as they investigated a series of burglaries in the neighborhood that may or may not be connected to the perpetrator. The description of the attacker certainly matched that on Kaz’s police report. And needless to say, when he received a personal update from a detective assigned to the case, that the perp was caught red handed and the investigation was closed, he was relieved and adamant about telling everyone that he was right all along…

When I first moved here I wasn’t entirely familiar with the racially pensive landscape of this state, Denver in particular. I’d had my share of torrent interactions while visiting but always had another location to compare everyday standards with; after moving here and finding myself living with a sociopathic financial analyst/philosophy minor, I was quickly acclimated with the new terrain and soon moved out to a friend’s house on the outskirts of the city. He lives in a community under renovation, and in retrospect I should’ve been more aware of my appearance after dark on a street whose lights are all out around 10pm. One night after work, I was riding my bike along the sidewalk after stopping off for a burrito at the nearby taqueria. As I approached a light pole to lock it away for the evening, a squad car pulled up with its lights flashing and officer D.E. Hill charged out of the car without hesitancy. When I was questioned about my intentions in the neighborhood and I replied that I was staying with a friend, I was asked to hand over my identification.

I don’t react well to suspicion, authority, and improper procedure and I voiced my concerns with his reasoning to the point that backup was called in as I refused to comply. As the 2nd officer approached the house to check with my friend about my story, I was further harassed by officer Hill to the point he grew increasingly agitated, charged at me, gripped me by my shirt and tried to throw me to the ground. I say tried, because I’m somewhat versed in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and as such, I have reflex actions when physically threatened. I yelled I’m not resisting as officer Hill tried to ply my other arm behind my back, my face in the grass, with great difficulty. When I finally relaxed after the 2nd officer returned, he cuffed me, and the interrogation began.

Eventually I was released, but not before suffering through a tirade of accusations, threats, and personal questions that had no relevance to the matter at hand, such as:

“Where do you work again?”

Even though he won, the last time we played NBA Jam, Kaz only beat me by one point in a game that went into double overtime, and it was a one-handed granny pitch from full court! I will forever call bullshit on that.

But it was several weeks after Kaz’s bragging had ceased when another officer came by the shop and told our counter guy that there were still reports of burglaries perpetrated with a handgun by a man who matched the screen shot on our bulletin board. It’s still there in fact, with all sorts of dicks drawn on his face. Someone wrote Se Vusca below the shot, but our cook, who’s from Honduras originally, was quick to correct Mario’s spelling.

“He’s so fucking dumb! It’s se busca!”

As far as I know the man with a gun is still out there, looking for unsuspecting tip workers and ladies with purse straps too loose or pockets too big to care. And I haven’t the nerve to say anything else about the situation to my coworkers, especially Kaz, because I still need a paycheck and green’s the color that holds you up, garners subjugation, and traumatizes you beyond repair.

There’s already a lack of equal tip sharing at this place; that’s been established long before I started, and just to illustrate how thin my ice gets, on Jan. 15th, I lost it on a guy (whose teeth erosion is only slightly worse than my own,) over some comment he made about everyone’s sensitivity on MLK’s birthday to a group of cops that are regulars at our downtown location. I mean, I blew the fuck up in front of these pigs and I made sure they knew I was pissed and resented them, but I oversaw making their food so what’re they going to do?

I’ve said this too many times lately, but I can’t stand looking in the mirror. I can’t be there, personal, without antagonizing my reptilian reflexes and shadowboxing an invisible gang of potential threats. I’m looking to you now and maybe you leave this on the lookout for gangs of invisible people aiming for the throat or the head.

I got your back, but it’s best to watch your front, ‘cuz it’s niggas that front, that be pulling stunts! 1



1 Gza the Genius


Frankie Metro: "I am the chief editor/co-founder of Kleft Jaw Press. I have published 2 novellas, 2 poetry collections, and my work has been published in numerous online/print journals. I live in Denver, CO and am on the lookout for a home that will accommodate pets at a reasonable price. I have no pets. #ceromiedo"




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