Whether Jimmy had intended or not, Rex sensed the older man had opened a conversational door and was determined to go through it. “Does that happen a lot?” He felt like he often did when fencing, thrusting at a position his opponent left unguarded.
JImmy grunted, looked off to the left as he continued driving. “Seems like every time they get a rookie cop in town, he’s pulling me over within a month. Always a reason — taillight out, rolling stop. You know, the stuff everyone does.” He snorted as he turned right at the third street. “One time this lady cop, said she thought my tires were low. I was like, Don’t be telling me you stopping everyone about their PSI. That time I decided to go to the station, tell them I was tired of this shit, the harassment for driving while black. Sarge said he’d tell his folks to leave me alone, but then he ask for my plate, and I was like, I ain’t giving you NOTHING, all you gotta tell your folks is — ”
“Sorry.” Rex saw Jimmy’s body stiffen at the interruption. “My family’s trailer — ” the slender teen pointed out and to the left — “it’s coming up.”
Jimmy relaxed, nodded, pulled the van into the small field of muddy dirt, barren save for random articles of trash (newspapers, plastic jugs, a small doll without a head), in front of the trailer. The van’s headlights illuminated a sheet of cloudy plastic that had begun to peel away from a window, Rex making a mental note to borrow duct tape from a neighbor this evening to repair the damage.
“Damn.” Jimmy could not keep the shock out of his voice.
The van came to a stop, but Rex wasn’t willing to close the door just yet. “So — what are you gonna do? Talk to that sarge again?”
For a moment, Jimmy looked surprised, and then broke into a gentle, dismissive smile. “That sarge ain’t there no more. Read it in the Beacon, got a job in the city. Happens a lot here — people come to Bark Bay to start a career, then they get bored, move on.”
“You could talk to somebody else there.”
“What for?” Contempt swept over Jimmy’s face like a virus. “What they gonna say, that I ain’t heard before? Another promise I know they ain’t gonna keep?”