Die Trying But We’ve Got to Try
Max felt Lorenzo’s hair. Imagine, an Afro in the 21st century. Max had shaved his head after losing some hair.
“Oh my God,” he said. “I thought your hair would feel like wires.”
“Nope. I am a human too.”
The black young man spit in Max’s face. Max’s wrinkled old white face glistened.
“No need for that,” he said. “I was just curious.”
Lorenzo put out his hand. “Sorry about the spit. I’m just tired of this shit.”
“Sorry too. I learned something, “ Max said.
Max walked to his drum kit. He knocked out a 2/4.
Lorenzo picked up his guitar. He joined in.
“Don’t sing though. You sound like an old white man with a cold,” Lorenzo said.
The bass player, whose name he had forgotten, whacked a few strings. Charlie on the trump tooted.
“Let’s make up something,” Charlie said.
“I got soft hair. / kinda like a bear.”—Lorenzo.
“Feel it good / so it’s understood.”—Max.
“Skin’s like skin / Eyes like eyes.”—bass player.
“I want some fries / and maybe some pies.”—Charlie.
Max started a shuffle. “Sweet home, Chicago,” he said.
“What do you know about Chicago?” Lorenzo asked.
“Never been there. You?” Max stood up. “I’m tired of this shit. Either we play together, black, white, yellow, red, whatever, or I’m going home.”
“What rhymes with segregation? Chill everybody.”—bass player.
Max started the shuffle again.
“You Lorenzo’s white boy?” Charlie asked.
“I’m just playing my drums. Have a nice day, gentlemen.”—Max.
The bass player laid down a line. Trumpet player tooted. Lorenzo added a lick or two.
“Gotta get along,” he sang. “Or Die Trying.”
That’s the title, bass player said. “Die Trying.”
“Damn,” Lorenzo said. “I’m sorry Max. Just some kid got killed by the white cops in Dallas last night, and we’re a little on edge.”
“Not my doing,” Max said. “Let’s just play. Let’s just disappear into the music.”
“Damn,” Charlie said. “World’s too complicated.”
“Die Trying but we got to try,” Lorenzo sang.
“Nothing to it; just open your mind,” Charlie sang.
“World’s a hellhole and that’s no lie,” bass player.
“Die Trying but we got to try.”—Max.