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Slick is black, was born black, knows himself that way, it’s a part of him but compared to these folks he’s barely toasted. They’re blue-black and purple-black, and their lips are lurid as wounds.

He’s started to confuse Earth with Mars, the dirt here is so red. Iron-rich. He’s tired. Red dust in his lungs.

No one turns to look when he wanders through and he keeps plodding. Walking in time.

The drums are talking to him, not like African drums, like somebody’s hidden around here with a kick and a hi-hat. Boom slick boom, they say. Boom slick BOOM slickBOOMslick