And Some You Can’t Disguise

Well, it’s happened again: the New Brunswick Police shot and killed an unarmed Black man.

Investigators recovered a bullet from scene[sic] where New Brunswick police fatally shot a man last week, and relatives are cooperating in the investigation authorities said today.

In a statement released late today, Middlesex County Prosecutor Bruce Kaplan said two dozen investigators from his office have interviewed 37 people about the fatal shooting of 47-year-old city resident Barry Deloatch.

“Many of these witnesses who were identified and-or[sic] came forward did so because of the assistance and encouragement of community leaders, and because of some of Mr. Deloatch’s relatives, who are cooperating with law enforcement,” Kaplan said in the statement.

Relatives of Deloatch have participated in several rallies protesting the shooting and demanding an investigation by an agency outside Middlesex County.

Relatives have said a witness told them Deloatch was shot as he ran from police. Residents have said they will continue demonstrations.

Note the prosecutor’s emphasis on the word cooperation. In early accounts, the police would not talk to the family, leading to understandable and familiar community outrage.

“Let’s face it, New Brunswick has had a troubled police department for a very long time,” Deborah Jacobs, a local representative from the American Civil Liberties Union, said at the meeting. She asked people to sign a letter by ACLU urging the federal government to probe the shooting.

Jacobs also showed the crowd a “bust card,” detailing the rights a civilian has when stopped by police.

The New Brunswick-area branch of NAACP organized the meeting Wednesday. “NAACP has been involved with this from the outset and will continue to be involved until justice has been served for Barry Deloatch and processes are in place to stop these wanton killings in our community,” NAACP president Bruce Morgan said in an email announcing the meeting.

The call for an investigating agency outside Middlesex County is a smart one.

Twenty-Seven Years In This Factory

It’s been a week since All My Children rolled credits for the last time and thank Vishnu it’s over. As my cousin and hairdresser Carmello said, “That was on before I made my debut!” The soap opera, never closely connected to reality lost its grip entirely during the last four months, with the final two weeks veering into the unabashedly cartoony. If it had gone on much longer, I would have sworn off it completely. I rolled my eyes often during the last month of episodes. If nothing else, AMC’s bad dialog may pay off next time I see the optometrist. So there’s your silver lining.

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday

It’s Banned Book Week, which is practically a religious experience in the library. This morning, my co-worker read selections from Native Son and tomorrow, there will be more reading. Earlier in the week, Lupe read from Their Eyes Were Watching God, which I love. My boss Gianna read a selection from a book I can’t recall at the moment, but the whole idea is quite charming. When we speak to each other in work-related conversations, language in the library is ordinary and genteel. It’s nice we’re finally swearing at one another.

Yesterday was the 25th anniversary of my first day as a full-time employee of the unnamed university. Many times, it seemed like I wouldn’t last another day, but here we are. One of my co-workers has 50 years in, so 25 is nothing special and tomorrow is another day. Now that Susan Lucci can cut up her cocktail dresses and stay home nibble bonbons, it’s tempting to imagine going out in nothing but satin pajamas.

Coral That Lies Beneath the Waves

It’s a simple request.

Mary: Please save bottles with tops or lids. We’re having a Harry Potter party for my daughter’s birthday, including potion-making.
Tata: POTION-MAKING! Before high school?
Mary: Yeah. Wine bottles would be helpful.
Tata: I’ll get right on that.

Pete and I save bottles for special projects like infused oils, vinegars or vodkas. It took about a week of soaking and peeling to get the labels off and the aroma of adult libations past out. Yesterday, I told Mary I was ready to contribute to her container collection and I’d bring the bottles to work. I wrapped them in brown paper for adorable, scurrilous effect and stuffed them into one of my bicycle paniers. It weighed a ton. The ride to work this morning was more work than usual. Thank Ishtar I am strong as an ox and no one cares if I smell like one.

Tata: You sound glum. What gives?
Mary: Fighting with a vendor.
Tata: Need me to beat up someone for you?
Mary: No, but it’s so sweet of you to offer. I have to wait for a conference call. Can you send those bottles by campus mail?
Tata: As Queen of Bubble Wrap, I will!

I wrapped the bottles up in all sorts of packing materials, addressed the box and forgot about it. Half an hour ago, the mailman was slinging boxes from a table to the floor. I bolted across the room, but the box addressed to Mary was already gone. Then I made the most unpopular statement of the day.

Tata: Should I have mentioned that box was full of glass?

If We’re In A Garden Or On

Drusy's secret love: a feather pillow. They try to hide it but they only have eyes for each other.

In the Times Square Olive Garden, my sister Daria, Pete and I met two of our cousins from Guatemala. You may remember two years ago, my brilliant cousin swam around Manhattan, rendering me speechless. Thus, we were overjoyed to see our champion again, but this time she brought her mother.

More than thirty years ago, my grandfather Andy found her. She didn’t know she was missing. He was an only child of immigrant parents. Her grandfather Giovanni and my great-grandfather Carlo were brothers, and it meant everything to Andy that he had blood relatives besides his overly colorful children. He died a few years after he and my grandmother visited Guatemala, but his joy has remained impressed upon me all this time. When I saw her yesterday, she was tall, like he was. Her eyes were like his eyes. Her expressions were like his expressions. I can’t tell you how many times my heart skipped a beat because I’ve missed him so much. But she looked at me like she’d missed me, too, and maybe she did. She wants us to go to Guatemala.

It’s been awhile since I traveled. Plainly, I just heard the distant past describe a fantastic and once improbable future.

Meaning Not Where They Come From

Last Thursday afternoon, I was tooling around in my car and slapped the radio’s on button. The signal was inexplicably tuned to WDHA, which calls itself “the Rock Of New Jersey.” I didn’t even hear the beginning of the bumper, but the DJ asked, “Have you heard the new Theory of a Deadman single? It is sooooooooooo funny.” And this is what he played.

Then I was finished with WDHA forever. Further, it is my fond hope that women everywhere avoid the prime specimens of douchetastic doodhood that are Theory of a Deadman.