Doity, A Short Story
He stood right in front of me at Zaxby's while I sat in one of three seats facing the counter and waited on my order. His bright brown eyes matched his skin tone and the fact that I was almost six decades older and white did not seem to concern him at all.
Uninvited, he sat down right beside me and repeated, "I'm Doity."
Over at the counter, his mother had a tiny baby in her arms and his younger sister in tow. She looked around for Doity, saw him sitting beside me and turned back to her business. I guess I looked trustworthy.
"What's happening, Bud?" I'm very clever when talking to children, it's a gift.
"Your name's Doity?" I asked.
He shook his head, said something I didn't catch that was probably his name. I let it go and just said "Cool".
"I been playing Tball," he said. "I'm Doity."
I used to be a trained investigator before I retired and became an old fart. I deduced that this kid's name was not Doity and that he was DIRTY from playing Tball. He was somewhat dirty, his shirt and his pants were dusty with that red South Carolina clay but his face was clean and earnest.
A big black guy walked by and I saw him notice us. He was about twenty with biceps about the size of Tom Brady's footballs-before they were deflated. I nodded, he nodded.
"I know about Tball," I said. "My granddaughter used to play. You any good?"
"Oh, I'm good," Doity beamed. "I'm real good!"
"Did your team win?" I asked.
"Yeah, we won." He seemed almost insulted that I'd ask that.
"Of course you won," I said. "Cause your real good."
Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a tiny smile flick across the young guys face before he turned to step up in line to order his chicken.
Doity and I talked a bit more then his Mother got their order and he jumped up to leave.
"See ya, Bud." I said when he walked by. He smiled, I gave him a thumbs up, and his mother ignored me.
On the way home I thought about Doity.
I also thought about Ferguson, I thought about Baltimore, and I thought about Charleston. It's complicated but it doesn't have to be. Not always.
"Can't we all just get along?"
Me and Doity can.