The Black Lives Matter protest Sunday afternoon in Oklahoma City marked the city’s second day of protest over the killing of George Floyd at the knees of a Minnesota cop, whose badged buddies watched on like it was porn.
The demonstration began peacefully in the heart of the city’s Northeast side, went on to the steps of the state capitol and ended about as peacefully as it began near the Oklahoma County jail. The 30 mg sativa gummy I popped earlier persuaded me to experience the occasional tender moment between law enforcement and activists as happy bursts of hope.
Then darkness fell.
What followed was the strangest, scariest, most surreal night of my life. Along for the ride was my friend Mary Jane.
After the Black Lives Matters protest wound down with the sun, the vibe changed. From home in Midtown, where I have lived for 13 years with my husband and three-deep girl gang, we first heard that change. The loud, unified chants from earlier in the day were replaced with the vague sound of chaos creeping ever closer: Screaming, yelling, explosions, glass breaking, sounds of destruction. It made my blood run cold.
I turned on the TV to see the now-familiar dance of demonstrators and police. But the faces had changed, Mayor Holt had given us a 10 p.m. curfew, and police were using tear gas and other loud, exploding, scary things to force demonstrators out of the curfew zone. They looked more like roving bands of millennial marauders, getting loud and unruly in tight jeans zipping around on skateboards, bikes and roller skates or running — in packs and with bandannas tied so only their eyes showed. It looked like they wanted trouble but weren’t really sure how to get it off the ground.
Outside, I smoked a bowl of Comfortably Dumb, which successfully reversed the reptilian chill that had spread down my spine. While I was smoking, I looked out toward the protest area and could see the crowd moving closer and closer. The sounds were surreal, as they swarmed the Flea, jumped its fence and started shouting literally from the rooftop. An angry mob beat to a bloody, Emergency Room pulp another protester who tried to stop the bad actors vandalizing the neighborhood bar.
The cops kept gassing the protesters. This was successful only in pissing them off more and pushing the crowd further North, where it laid waste to Bob Moore’s corporate office, made mostly of glass. It was officially an angry mob, and it was rolling into Midtown destroying everything in its path. My little people were in its path.
I stepped outside and was halfway through my Bubba Kush pre-roll when I was punched in the face by a cloud of tear gas that took my breath away and, as promised, brought me to tears. The crowd and the cloud of gas were upon me. But I was chill. Until I got scared I was too high to react to an emergency situation. Then my fear about being too high was replaced by fear about what might happen next, as what can only be described as a riot spread out into the neighborhood. But I was alert and ready for anything!
Anything except for gun fire. Turns out, you can never really be ready for gun fire. From upstairs, I saw quick movement in the alley and heard a series of gunshots. My husband screamed “get down!” and my daughters and I dropped and stayed for a long time, our hearts thumping into the floor.
Minutes after the gun shots, law enforcement flooded the neighborhood, which seemed to have the intended effect of clearing out most of the melee-makers. So I joined my husband on the front porch and smoked the rest of that Bubba Kush joint in silence, sending up smoke signals in lieu of prayer that America might possibly make right 400 years of systemic wrongs before it becomes a dumpster fire we can’t put out.