Death of a King

By Christopher Williams

His service was very nice. Bell’s mac n’ cheese, Aunt Drea’s caramel cake, a few beers donated from Chauncey’s Micro-Brew. It’s everything he would have wanted besides Big Fredia making a guest appearance and Dominic twerkin’ on a table to some bounce mix of some 90s song. We’re all gonna miss him so much.

Dominic was a creative soul, Rihanna-red locs with half his head shaved, two nose piercings—one Tupac, one AfroPunk, tatted from left wrist to shoulder, and every color of grey clothing known to mankind. His goal was to be Creative Director at some ad firm while making his “revolution-art” on the side. He even had a piece, I think it was called “MAD woMEN” and it was an abstract with pitch-black female forms in the night, prostitutes, with well-known brands tatted across their bodies. Aunt Drea didn’t like the piece too much but I think it’s cause it mad her think of her first born, ‘Vivica’ is what we knew her as, who, before transitioning, would hustle downtown so that she could afford the surgeries. Suicide was her end.

Vivica’s story was sad but it helped Aunt Drea accept Dominic for who he is…was. Aunt Drea became a true advocate after Vivica’s death which allowed her second born to easily and safely transition from “Dominique” to “Dominic.” I think the similar name helped her out a lot (Vivica was born ‘Charles’ so that name change through Aunt Drea for a loop). It’s hard to imagine what she’s going through…two trans-babies…two funerals…burying two children. Aunt Drea’s strong but even the Samson had a weakness.

They’re still trying to prove that Dom’s case was a homicide. Chief Cooney is trying to play it like self-defense which is a better story than the original reports of it being a suicide. Cooney is an old white man, the typical suspect in some racist scandal: born to some low rent white family with obscure connections to local politicians and his picture framed in some hick bar. He didn’t kill Dom but he might as well have. No, Dominic’s killer was relatively unexpected. It was a white woman. White in appearance, at least. She claims to be Latina on her mother’s side but she doesn’t speak a lick of Spanish and we found out that her husband is Cooney’s nephew.

The story now is that Officer Mary Foster “whose mother is Lydia Sanchez” (they made sure to emphasize in the later edited reports) was “defending herself from a drunk Transgendered man after a night of partying with his alternative group of rowdy youngsters.” I’m sure someone was smart enough at the paper to edit out the word “gang” before posting it on the news sites. This city couldn’t afford another protest but we gave it to them anyways (even though there was only about 20 of us out there).

Officer Foster is on record stating how she really didn’t know that Dom was transgender. Half of us believe her on that, Dominic made for a very handsome young man. His dark skin highlighted his powerful jaw well and his femininely plush lips gave his face a very charming appeal. He had just started building muscle too. He finally reached 170 pounds after a year of being stuck somewhere between 135 and 150. Some of us don’t buy her story though. Not for any other reason than we just don’t trust shit a cop has got to say.

Bell was telling us at the funeral that she believes Foster’s story, “There’s nothing more terrifyin’ to these crackas than a Black man bein’ carefree as all hell! That’s why she shot him! Happy Black men don’t get to live! That’s why these niggas out here frowning in every got’damn picture their mommas take of them!” Bell was reaching 89 in a week but she abandoned her filter somewhere in the ‘70s. She did have a point though…it’s the same thread that’s been going on in almost every case: the cop “feared” for their life…But Dominic wasn’t scary at all. “He looked around 5’11, 6’1, big and tough” is how Foster described him…but he was barely 5’7. The two were around the same height.

I honestly thought, when we got the call that it would be some drunk straight dude at the bar who got him with the bullet in the back. Dominic was notorious for taking other dude’s girls just for the hell of it. If not the straight dude, I thought it’d be some radical Christian that he pissed off at one of the recent protests. Either way, for some reason, I didn’t think it’d be a cop who got him. I really thought that fear, excuse my ignorance, was reserved for the average Black person: hetero and cis men and women got shot by the cops, transwomen got shot by their lovers/clients/or randoms, and transmen were safe somehow. No one targeted them, no one was bothered by them but old church ladies. They were the ones who would make it. I was wrong.

He had made a joke one night back when he would perform as a Drag King at a local gay bar—it was a whole set making jokes about the “Hotep” culture and how they refer to themselves and their women as Kings and Queens—he said, “A Hotep kept trying to call me a ‘confused young Queen.’ I was like, ‘nah playa, that ain’t me.’ Ol boy was like, ‘listen, if you got a pussy, you either a Queen or a hoe.’ So I whipped out my strap-on, king-sized, I said, ‘Hey, if yours is bigger than mine, I’ll gladly listen to your opinion of me.’ He shut up real fast, I was the only King in that conversation!” The crowd loved it!

So I’ll take another round, for my boy, my brother, my cousin, King Dominic of East Avenue. Rest in Paradise, your highness.