Permanent Tan

by Derek Taylor

The biracial boy sprinted in a zigzag stumble, tears and snot streaming across his contorted face as ice balls peppered the pavement around him and the epithet of “Run, nigger, run!” echoed in his ears. Reaching the house, he bolted up the steps, through the front door and into the warm safety of the parlor. Several minutes later he sat on the sofa sucking noisily on a fudgsicle, tears drying, having related his ordeal to his father. “Well, what do you consider yourself?” The boy’s features furrowed in an expression of serious deliberation: “I guess I’m tan, Dad... yeah, I’m tan.” A bittersweet smile curled at the corners of the father’s mouth and he hugged his son close.


Derek Taylor, author of Bum Gig, believes in race as a purely social construct. His words can be found at Bagatellen and Dusted Magazine.