Black Lives Matter Less

He looked at the body. He looked some more at the body as if it were some expensive work of art. He stared at it from every conceivable angle in search of something. In search of a reason. In search of a real reason why that fourteen year old black child was sprawled out on the sidewalk bleeding out. Detective Nathan Chambers wondered who made the decision that the teenager there had to die. Who was the genius that decided that the poor soul needed to be murdered, or the fact that he provoked someone into shooting him three times in the chest and once in the neck. There was no way that the shooter fired in self defense, or his gun went off accidentally, four times. That dead teenager was no more than eighty pounds soaked and wet, he was very thin and couldn't have been a threat to anyone.

Upon arriving at the scene, Detective Laura Kimber and Peter O'Brien were sharp enough to grab anyone within sight and send them downtown with the uniforms for questioning.

Chambers acknowledged their thoroughness. He was proud to serve with them. Questioning was a big part of an investigation. He then realized that if the dead was an adult he could have used his street smarts at the people who discovered the body. Then he would find the people who knew him and ask the routine questions. For example, how did you know him, where did he work, where did he live, and who rented him that place, who hung out with him, fought with him, fucked him and did drugs with him? These questions would tell a detective a great deal about the dead. However, he wasn't an adult, and the questions would not have applied here.

A young teenage black boy from a drug plagued neighborhood would probably get lost in the shuffle. Chambers wanted to give that boy a voice. He was hoping something would turn up, or someone who gave a shit would point him in the right direction. If ballistics failed and the lab work came up empty, there would be little to no hope for the dead child, and Chambers knew that a piece of himself would die too.

A crowd started gathering around, but were kept away from the body by the uniforms. Chambers knew he wasn't gifted with the uncanny powers to solve a crime within seconds. He also realized that the detectives will always get to the crime scenes after the bodies fall.

Kimber walked around the edges of the crime scene looking for spent bullets, casings, and footprints. O'Brien started to canvass the houses and businesses nearby asking the questions that he knew the uniforms weren't train to ask. It was all part of the grind.

Chambers stood up and took a step back. He gazed at all the sea of black faces. There was confusion and anger in their eyes.

“Why don't you get that kid off the sidewalk?” Someone shouted from the forming crowd.

The uniforms moved forward slowly and with careful steps toward the gatherers. The crowd consisted of many young and a few old, mostly black, but there were a scattering of Latinos.

Chambers looked at the crowd and less recognizable faces lined both sides of the street. These were the people he was paid to serve and protect, but he didn't recognize anyone. That thought alone stained his mind.

He then looked at a rundown tenement and an old brick row house. There were a number of busted bricks jetting out, edges sharp enough to draw blood, and low enough to injure small children. It was a rough and dangerous neighborhood which included the buildings.

“At least cover him up,” shouted a heavy set black woman with red hair curlers and purple lipstick. “He's just another dead nigger to you, right?”

Chambers listened as the crowd started shouting out black lives matter too. He just couldn't come up with a reasonable reply. He knew arguing with that comment goes beyond academic degrees. He was standing over a dead black teenager in a poverty stricken neighborhood with a crowd that appeared to be getting larger by the minute.

“Riot control?” Kimber asked.

Chambers knew that in their eyes, he was one of many plagues that ravished their neighborhood, drugs, poverty, crime, lack of work, death and police.

“No,” he replied and Kimber nodded.

“What are you going to do with him?” someone else shouted from the crowd. “His mama is too poor to pay for a funeral. Hell, she couldn't even pay her electric bill. They shut the shit off four months ago. Death did her a favor, one less mouth to feed.”

Laura Kimber stopped and looked around the crowded street, the chants and the chatter blending together, and it was the first time that she felt the summer heat bringing in a chill.

Suddenly there was a face that Chambers recognized immediately. It was his old friend Deacon Mike Brandon. The deacon cut through the crowd like a shark through the ocean. He stopped in front of the detective and then stared at the dead teenager.

“Can you help me with the crowd?” Chambers asked.

“I would Nate, but please have someone cover the boy up.”

Chambers nodded.

“That chant, spooky huh?”

“Yeah, it is,” replied Chambers. “But to me all lives matter.”

“I believe you Nate,” said the deacon as a uniform covered the dead with a white blanket.”But tell me the truth. Deep in your heart I know you believe that all lives matter, but tell me you don't think black lives matter less.”

That was a question he had been anticipating for a few months now, only he expected it to come from someone he didn't know as well as he knew the deacon. Also not asked on a packed street

“I'm sorry you even feel the need to ask me such a question,” he said.

“And I hate having to ask,” the deacon replied with equal passion.

“I have no idea how to answer that question Mike,” Chambers said.

“I didn't think you could with a straight face.”

“Mike, I have no idea where this day will lead me and how violent it will get. But I am honestly telling you that I never expected to see a teenage boy shot to death for no apparent reason. That's not an image I will ever be able to erase, and that's a fact,” Chambers said. “And if you don't believe me, get the fuck out of my face!”

The deacon smiled and turned to the crowd. “Okay everybody, lets let the police do their job and break this up. Anybody don't hear me and listen, Jesus Christ and I would kick your ass!”

The crowd started breaking up and Chambers smiled.

© 2016 Frank Atanacio

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Comments 42 comments

clivewilliams profile image

clivewilliams 7 months ago from Nibiru

i feel the words of this one. Black lives matter and then they say all lives matter. Many trying to discredit the black lives matter movement. They have no idea what it means and many do not want to know. A good piece in a time where the American Government is using Black people to install Marshall law.

FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 7 months ago from USA

You write with such passion and conviction, truly felt. Brilliant work, my friend. As realistic a write as I've read.

Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 7 months ago from Shelton Author

thanks Clive and Flourish for checking out my life matters :)

billybuc profile image

billybuc 7 months ago from Olympia, WA

Timely, suspenseful and a bit skin-crawling in style....great your voice.

Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 7 months ago from Shelton Author

thanks Billybuc for stopping by :)

always exploring profile image

always exploring 7 months ago from Southern Illinois

This one cut like a knife, and is so timely. Where is it all going? Will it get better? Will there be a time when no lives matter? Your description of the boy was so vivid, I saw him on the pavement and even saw the crowd. Thumbs up Frank...

Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 7 months ago from Shelton Author

Always thank you for taking the time out and reading my short story

Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 7 months ago from Shelton Author

thank you Billybuc for stopping by.. have a good week :)

Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 7 months ago from Georgia

Your usual incisive, vivid writing. You have a gift.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 7 months ago from Shelton Author

thanks Cyndi.. good to see you

Dana Tate profile image

Dana Tate 7 months ago from LOS ANGELES

One of your best ones Frank, "Does Black Lives Matter Less" Well, I guess that's a question each individual must answer for themselves. And, know the answer they give for the hearing and the answer that lies in their heart may be two different answers.

Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 7 months ago from Shelton Author

thank you Dana for checking out my short story.. bless you

johnmariow profile image

johnmariow 7 months ago from Connecticut

An excellent hard hitting story.

Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 7 months ago from southern USA

Dear Frank,

What can I say ...except that your writing is brilliant! This piece is relevant, and takes the reader right into the crime scene and then some. Your words certainly paint a visual here. Now, that is what I call an ending!

Don't you forget about all of your faithful readers here when you hit the big time, ya' here : )

Your voice is being heard loud and clear through your stellar writing.

God bless

Kiss andTales profile image

Kiss andTales 7 months ago

This is a realistic scene ! But what does God see , evil doing its Job of what it loves to do.

God allow this life to exist like any other race. He knew he was black from his mother wond. He gave him the same breath of the white child, indian, asain , and so on. The world is field with all status of life , God allowed it , Who will say you don't belong in any race and take it? Anyone ?

While people look at a victim of death it's sad rather they had a good reputation or bad. Rich man poor man, woman and child death is everyone's enemy . Death can touch anyone even if you just go to sleep not to wake up another day.

I see a human , a child in your story, A mother lost her baby regardless of the status some people lose them just by accident no drugs, no guns , no vengeance, no violence.

Life is precious to our creator he share a power from himself to us.

Are we to despise it and say you do not know what you are doing.

The wise would say give me more time and life !

Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 7 months ago from Shelton Author

thank you John.. I see you are from Connecticut too? I'll be over to your page and return the favor..:) cheers

Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 7 months ago from Shelton Author

Faith you are just too good to my writing,,, and don't think I don't appreciate it..because I do.. so you like the visuals.... Thanks so much for always being here God Bless you BIG time..:)

Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 7 months ago from Shelton Author

Kiss and Tales.. thank you so much for sharing your thoughts.. I feel the passion in your words so I thank you for that too.. I'll be over today to visit your page and return the favor..:) Frank

Ericdierker profile image

Ericdierker 7 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

I just love your Detective characters. That battle between doing the job and feeling the pain. I asked my wife about this issue staring us right in the face. She has never spent one minute "over there" in the battlefield. I wonder just how people form their opinions without ever experiencing such places.

The exchange with the man of the cloth was brilliant.

Shyron E Shenko profile image

Shyron E Shenko 7 months ago

Frank, this is right on. "To me "life" matters, and we all bleed the same color and we are all susceptible to dying from the same speeding bullet, no matter who is holding the gun__ Shyron Shenko

I really like the dialog between Chambers and the Deacon.

Blessings and hugs my friend

Kiss andTales profile image

Kiss andTales 7 months ago

Thank you Frank .You are a very good expressive writer , you have the ability to put people at the scene with their minds .this in turn gets our hearts to see and feel the situation.

That is a gift. Thanks I had many hubs but I decided to start over

My latest I did some days ago.

Thank you for stopping by.

manatita44 profile image

manatita44 7 months ago from london

Yes, timely all right, and you put the questions in the way that the black American seems to be trying to convey. We all know All Lives Matter; we all know injustice when we see it.

Back to your Hub. Current and written with courage, wisdom and panache. Much Love, Bro.

Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 7 months ago from Shelton Author

Eric thanks for stopping by...Bless you

Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 7 months ago from Shelton Author

Shyron thanks for commenting on my short story..

Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 7 months ago from Shelton Author

thank you manatita.. thanks for visiting my page :)

mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 7 months ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

Well, that drives the nail home. Poignant and heart breaking. Like I say, "We should stop shooting each other."

Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 7 months ago from Shelton Author

thanks mckbirdbks for stopping by bless you

Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 7 months ago from Shelton Author

thanks again Kiss and Tales

Missy Smith profile image

Missy Smith 7 months ago from Florida

Hey Frank, I think this is a perfect story to tell in this day and time of war between races, and the police. I mean, lots to think about here.

You've painted a great picture of the good cops fighting against a race that has seen too many bad ones to trust any. Nevertheless, the message here is important; there still are decent cops out there. Everyone needs to realize one bad apple does not spoil the whole bunch; or in our world, a few bad apples don't spoil a whole bunch, but you get the meaning, right? lol. This should be taken into account in all situations. I think media needs to report more on the good for a while now and keep the dreadful under wraps until we can all come together and admit that one side is no better than the other in the long run; there is bad and good in all aspects of life and authority.

We need to start weeding the black-hearted out from the valid and taking authority and guns away from them. It does need to start with the police departments though, if we can't get most of the corrupt ones off the streets, then how can we make a mends to stop the murders? How can the good ones do their job in a fashion that would take out the thugs in the correct manner without all the killing? I know there will still be killing between cops and bad guys, but the good cops will not just kill and ask questions later. How do you do that anyway? No, they will at least be able to tell and show a valid attempt at a peaceful arrest even if, for some reason, they should have to shoot.

At the end, you wrap your story up well by bringing Chambers and the Deacon together. Chambers and the Deacon are examples here. A respected and trusted person in a certain community that shows trust with a law official should show that all are not bad. It could help in today's society if the ones who know there are good ones as well would speak out for that during protest against the bad ones. It should be a focus in all protest. If violence is to stop, a point should be made that all are not uniformed after another. Again, there is bad and good everywhere.

This is a very good fictional story that can send a message to the real world, as it is truth about our world today. That's what I love about your stories, they are fake in a story sense, but true to life.

I'm sorry about the long comment. I just don't know how to write short sweet ones. Your stories move me too much. :)

Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 7 months ago from Shelton Author

long comment, yeah I see LOL... but I do really want to thank you Missy for reading.. bless you

Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

Gypsy Rose Lee 7 months ago from Riga, Latvia

Great story. All lives matter and often purposefully or without real thought people choose to forget that we are all part of one huge group - the human race.

Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 7 months ago from Shelton Author

Thank you so much and welcome Gypsy Rose Lee.. I'll stop over and return the favor..Frank

MsDora profile image

MsDora 7 months ago from The Caribbean

Black lives matter just as much as others; and I pray that we find positive ways to prove it (if we feel the need to). Mentioning the question in a story such as yours is one good way to make readers deal with it.

Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 7 months ago from Shelton Author

thanks MsDora for visiting again.. bless you

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 7 months ago from England

Black and white lives matter, along with everybody else too. its so sad that young people are getting killed like this. great story Frank, and really made me think.

Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 7 months ago from Shelton Author

thank you Nell Rose

aviannovice profile image

aviannovice 6 months ago from Stillwater, OK

The sad thing is, that poor black lives don't matter a lot in the South, just like women's lives are second to their male counterparts. This is a good story that raises a lot of awareness, but nobody will really understand until they live it themselves. Children in the South are brainwashed, women included, so they don't see a lot of what is happening. I know this, because I asked one that I work with, yet she could not give me a direct answer. She was too close to the source.

Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 6 months ago from Shelton Author

very interesting comment aviannovice.. :) thanks for checking this out

AudreyHowitt profile image

AudreyHowitt 6 months ago from California

This just makes me want to cry Frank--so much really ugly truth here

Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 6 months ago from Shelton Author

thank you for checking this out Audrey

cam8510 profile image

cam8510 6 months ago from Colorado Springs, CO until the end of March

Frank, way to tackle a tough, cutting edge topic. I like how you didn't bail Chambers out at the end with an easy answer to the deacon's question and a simple solution to possible unrest and violence. Stories that explore the minds and behavior of people add depth and keep us from exploiting situations like you have presented here. Well done.

Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 5 months ago from Shelton Author

Thank you Cam for checking out my Black Lives matter less...:)

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