(C)Copyrights 2016 by Halim A. Flowers and SATO Communications.

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THE WATER COOLER – By Halim A. Flowers

“Just another nigger dead,” whispers Tom to Jake, his co-worker at the Library of Congress. Jake often shares his views on world affairs.

“Yeah Tom,” Jakes speaks lowly. “But this may have been a little too excessive.”

“What do you mean too excessive?”

“I saw the video.”

“I did too,” Tom counters. “So what, just another ghetto queen with a smartphone seeking fame.”

“Tom, this guy didn’t have a record. He was licensed to carry.”

“Jake, did you see his hair?” Tom asks. “He had those dreaded things, those dreadlocks. He was a thug, trying to cheat the system, he just hadn’t got caught yet.”

“Come on Tom, his four year old daughter was in the backseat of the car,” Jake explains. “The officer could have killed the little girl.”

“Lets go, here comes the Black Lives Matter crew,” Tom says about the three black women approaching us. He referred to them as “Angry Black Woman”. “I wish the water coolers were still segregated. Bring Jim Crow back!”.

“Girl, look at Tom racist ass run away when he saw us coming,” Darlene tells her two co-workers as she fills up her cup with water. “Bet his family having a Klan celebration tonight.”

“Did you see that video?” Sherrie asks.

“I don’t know how his fiancee was so calm,” JoAnne adds to the conversation. “And, that guy in Louisiana, they already had him pinned down on the ground when they shot him.”

“My family is from New Orleans,” Sherrie says, and adds, “They’re going to act a fool down there.”

“They need to,” Darlene says. “How much more marching are we going to do before they stop killing us?”

“Girl, I’m going to the protest tonight,” JoAnne informs them.

“I’m not,” Darlene snaps. “If I march again, I’m holding up a poster to get my damn son out of prison.”

“How long has it been now?” Sherrie asks.

“Twenty years, too damn long,” Darlene replies. “He was only sixteen years old and he wasn’t even charged as being the shooter. Shit, all these cops are killing our kids in the streets and don’t do one day in prison.”

“You right,” JoAnne agrees.

“All of those officers that killed that boy Freddie Gray in Baltimore have been acquitted so far,” Sherrie adds.

“While our children get life for selling crack,” Darlene says. “JoAnne, when is your son coming home?”

“Next month, and not a moment too soon,” JoAnne answers, giving a sigh of relief.

“If they killing our boys out here that do not eve have criminal records like that young man in Minnesota, then you can only imagine the racist shit that’s going on inside of those prisons that are located in those rural racist counties in the mountains,” Sherrie says as she puts her left hand on top of me for support. “They don’t have any body cameras to record what they’re doing inside of the prisons.”

“Girl, what the hell is wrong with Doug today?” Darlene asks as their co-worker Doug speeds in their direction nervously. He approaches me with his empty water container and uses his left sweaty palm to get some water.

“Doug, you alright?” JoAnne asks him. They went to high school together when they were younger and she knew his fiancee. Doug was sweating profusely as if he were running suicide drills in his suit.

“Huh?” Doug responds incoherently as he adjusts the eyeglasses on his face. He quickly walks away without speaking any further.

“Damn Darlene, the brother Doug looks like he’s high on speed,” Sherrie jokes, which makes them all laugh.

“Here comes Dave,” Darlene informs them. Dave is known for being the lady’s man at the Library of Congress that tries to sleep with every woman who works within the library’s three buildings. Dave walks up to us in his normal confident gait.

“Good morning ladies,” Dave greets them as he walks up and puts his right hand on Sherrie’s shoulder. She swiftly smacks his hand away from her. “Damn sista,” Dave reacts to her stern rejection of his advance.

“I aint your sista Dave,” Sherrie says while looking at him sideways. “You lost your brotha privileges.”

“What you talking about Sherrie?” Dave asks in confusion about her revoking his black man status. “With all of these police killings of black men, this is a time for our people to stick together.”

“Whatever,” Sherrie says as she waves her hand in the air. “I don’t respect black men that mess with white women.”

“What?” Dave asks.

“Don’t what me,” Sherrie protests. “We know you been messing with them young white girls over there in the Jefferson building on the first floor. BUSTED brotha!”

“Now you sound just like them,” Dave says. He shakes his head. “That’s racist aint it Darlene?”

Darlene shakes her head at Dave and replies, “You lost me on that one Dave. Don’t ask me, ask your Becky with the good hair.” The women begin laughing at the reference to Beyonce’s Lemonade album.

“Damn sistas, ya’ll going to gang up on a brotha like that? You are just perpetuating that race shit in the 21st century. Obama mama was white, and you love his black ass. And, I aint never heard none of you saying nothing bad about Obama’s daddy either,” Dave protests.

“Negro, you aint the leader of the free world,” Sherrie counters. “Trying to compare yourself to the President of the United States.”

“That’s cold sista,” Dave pleads. “If you carry that hate for white people in your heart, then you’re not any better than them.”

“Negro please,” Sherrie fires back. “I don’t hate white people, I just don’t trust them. And, I definitely aint calling no black man brotha that sleep with white women. Please don’t say I’m just like them because I don’t have a gun and badge riding around killing unarmed white boys. Don’t go there!”

“All white people are not racist,” Dave responds. “Just like all black people are not for black people either. Look at Clarence Thomas black ass at the Supreme Court.”

“Yeah, and he got a white wife too,” Darlene interjects. “When is the wedding for you and Becky with the good hair?” The women laugh together at Dave.

“I’m going back to my desk, I got a lot of work to do today,” Sherrie says as she looks at Dave sideways again.

“See ya’ll at lunch break,” JoAnne says as all three of the women leave Dave by himself leaning against me for support after being attacked by his co-workers.

You would be surprised how much ignorance that a water cooler like myself hears everyday in this great institution of knowledge. The Library of Congress, the biggest library in the country, the greatest nation on earth. Yet, even with three buildings with over millions of intellectual property copyrights and books within its walls, so much lack of knowledge is expressed in this sacred temple of learning.

Though education has been known to refine the rough edges of humanity, the people that work in this library seem to be drowning in the negative tide of ignorance and all of the indifference that accompanies it. And, I just sit here in this corner on the second floor of the Madison building of the Library of Congress and hydrate its staff. No one notices me until they are thirsty, but I’m always here at their service, always ready to help all, blacks, whites, straight, gays, transgender, the young, the old, Christians, Jews, and Muslims. I don’t discriminate or prejudge, I just give what I contain, WATER.

Now, you may look at me and say, “You’re nothing but a water cooler.” But it is a few important things that you must consider before you hasten to write me off as some stupid inanimate object.

First of all, I contain water, and water is in everything in creation. See, water does not come from outer space. No new water is created or made. So, the same water that makes up 75% of your human body and 75% of the planet Earth, is the same water that was on this planet when Confucius, Buddha, Moses, Jesus, Muhammad, the Founding Fathers, Einstein, and Hitler walked the planet. Water is constantly being recycled from the oceans, to the clouds, the rain, to the plants and animals, to you, to your toilet, to the rivers and lakes that all lead back to the oceans to begin the process over again. Therefore, as a container of water, I possess more ancient knowledge than all of the libraries put together on this spinning planet. Hold up, Carol is approaching.

“Hey Dave, good morning,” Carol greets Dave. She is a devout yogi, always upbeat and encouraging others to participate in her yoga classes every morning in the gym inside of the library.

“Good morning Carol,” Dave says as he sizes her figure up in her tight slacks and blouse. As he greets her, he looks directly at the area of her crotch in between her legs, then moves his lustful gaze up to her nipples to see if they are pointing through the thin material of her shirt. “How are you this morning beautiful?”

“Well, I can’t lie, I’m fighting to maintain a sense of positive presence this morning,” she admits to him. “Turned on the news today and I see this again.” She points up at the flat screen television on the wall across from us. CNN is on the TV, showing a segment about the two unarmed black men that were killed by police officers in Louisiana and Minnesota the last two days.

“You can’t let this madness get you off of your square sweetheart,” Dave consoles her as he slowly moves in for the kill on Carol. He senses weakness, smells vulnerability, and sees an opportunity to take advantage of her. “Maybe we can hook up after work and talk, you know, de-stress from all of this mess. We can go to my place, do some yoga, and take our minds away from CNN and all that other stuff that feeds our collective anxiety.” He has now wrapped his arm around her small frame as if he wants to place her head in his chest.

“Oh, that sounds awesome,” Carol says as she lights up. She adds, “That way we can go to the rally together tonight after work at the White House and then go to your place to practice breathing exercises, mantras, and positive affirmations.” Carol was excited to have a black person to attend the Black Lives Matter rally with her tonight.

“It’s a rally tonight?” Dave asks in confusion. He didn’t too much care if it was a rally or not, he had no intentions to march anywhere but into his king size bed with Carol in her yoga pants.

“Yeah Dave, you didn’t know?”

“Nobody told me.”

“Darlene and Sherrie told me this earlier this morning,” she informs him. “Awesome, I’ll tell them that you’re going with me. Thanks so much Dave!” Carol stands on the tips of her flat shoes to kiss Dave on his cheek before she races off in jubilation. Dave shakes his head in amazement and walks away, bumping straight into a hysterical Doug.

“Excuse me,” Doug apologizes, still sweating profusely.

“Watch where the hell you’re going Doug!” Dave warns him sternly. He is still upset that he has been tricked into being Carol’s “Black Escort” at the Black Lives Matter rally tonight. He doesn’t even support the Black Lives Matter movement. He thinks that they only instigate black people to be more confrontational and aggressive with law enforcement. But he watches Carol tight assets in her pants switching as she speed walks down the hallway. And, if attending the rally was what it took to get between her legs tonight, then he was willing to grudgingly endure the protesting and marching.

Doug gets another refill from me. Its the seventh time this morning. Doug nervously looks up at the TV on the wall across from us, sees the video of the black man in Minnesota bleeding to death in his car after being shot by a police officer, and he says, “Lord Jesus help me make it home tonight safe with my fiancee and daughter. Please sweet Jesus!” He spills some of the water on the floor as his hands shake violently. He walks away as if he is being chased by a bounty hunter.

Halim Flowers
Halim Flowers
DOB- 09-01-80
Washington, D.C.
30 years to life
Contact Information-
Halim Flowers
Federal Correctional Institution Gilmer
P.O. Box 6000
Glennville, West Virginia 26351

My name is Halim Flowers and I am an author, poet, blogger(CriminalU.co), and at-risk youth advocate. I have been incarcerated for 18 years, since I was 16 years of age for aiding and abetting a felony murder in a case where I was not the shooter and the person charged as the gunman had his case dismissed and was never tried for this offense. I know it sounds crazy but it is my destiny for now and I embrace. My passion in life is learning and helping to enlighten and inspire others, especially helping to develop the character and lives of young men. I was featured in an Emmy award winning documentary about my experiences as a child at the adult D.C. Jail titled "Thug Life In DC"(See Thug Life In DC at YouTube) and I have authored nine books in the genres of self-help, prisoner reform, juvenile justice, memoir, and poetry(See Halim Flowers at Amazon.com). I very contrite for my past criminal offenses and seriously committed to helping our youth to understand "Victim's Impact" and breaking the "school-to-prison pipeline".