How to Kill a Brown Girl (Or Black, White, or Halfsie)


Wait until her roommate, her sisters, her bff, her moms, or her lover leaves her co-op. Wait until the cop in the cruiser outside is sexting his mami mami. Bring a sandwich. Bring protein bars. Bring two bottles of water, piss in the one you empty.

Pray that her little kid is sleeping.

Stay in the car and hunker down. Keep the headphones on, 50 Cent low. Don’t get noticed, don’t let them see the Latin features, the thick nose, the full lips, the Technicolor guayabera, which is under a sweater and a leather jacket anyway, or smell the Jaguar 2000 cologne. Look cool. Just don’t get noticed. But if you get noticed, look cool. Scope for trouble. This is actually a good neighborhood, an up and comer, Southeast East East Williamsburg, brownstones filled with buppies. She’s moved on up, got a piece of the pie.

Ignore the fact that it’s your own ex.

Pray that the kid is sleeping.

Girl is threatening to go Jayhoving on the man who signed the contract on her, gotta show her Who’s The Boss like Tony Danza.

Watch her silhouette glide across the curtain.

Admire the picture they gave you. Her hair is natural now, not siliconed, flatironed, brushed, blown dry, sprayed, gelled, moussed, puttied, and relaxed into submission. It’s a wild tumbleweed over her head, a topiary. She’s filled out, but still walks like a goddess queen empress negrititita, a vision of confidence and cocoa pulchritude.

Watch the cop laugh, expecting a little something something when he goes off work in the morning.

Take out the gun.

Sneak up the fire escape. Dark kitchen window. Pry it open slow, very slow — like the journey to Mordor.

Smell the inside of a well used kitchen. Is that takeout? Looks Italian— Lights snap on!

What the fuck? she says. Oscar?! Is that you?

Oh shit.

So there’s one thing I forgot to mention: Put on a mask.

What the fuck are you doing here? Coming through my window? You scared the shit out of me.

Think of something good to say, something that makes sense.


Are you trying to rob me?

I was in the neighborhood, playing like it’s all good, fun times, high school reunion. Girl Most Likely To Succeed. Boy Most Likely To Get Left Behind in a Robbery, Get Trapped in Cycle of Violence, and Get Hired By Drug Dealers to Kill Peeps They Don’t Like.

Expect her to know the truth. It’ll be written on her face like Beyonce Bodoni Bold or maybe J Lo Lucida Bright.

Expect a butcher knife.

Expect her not to put two and two that a bullet’s much faster than a butcher knife.

I guess you kill a brown girl like anyone. Like blanquitas, like Asians, like Canadians. Blood on the tiles, red in the grout.

Go to pick up the casings. Swipe some of that garlic bread.

Expect right then for the kid to come into the kitchen. Spongebob Squarepyjamas. Don’t expect praying to help.

After that’s done, get all the casings.

Go out the way you came in.

Get back to the car. Take the bag the sandwich came in, the water bottles, one empty, one filled with pee, and the gun, and toss them into the nearest garbage, hell, even at her stoop. Buppie neighborhood whatever. It’s still a black neighborhood. Ain’t no New York cops going to care that hard.

But ‑ and this a big but ‑ you should really take your time going down the fire escape or else you might wind up dropping the garlic bread foot caught in the bars hanging down like a monga blinded by a flashlight and a cop’s irate white face in the night. Which sucks.

~ fin ~

R. Narvaez has had fiction published in Mississippi Review, Murdaland, Indian Country Noir, Long Island Noir, Hit List: The Best of Latino Mystery, and Plots with Guns. His first book of short stories, Roachkiller and Other Stories, received the 2013 Spinetingler Award for Best Anthology/Short Story Collection.