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I don’t remember the joke, but it triggered the effect again. My black friend wasn’t black anymore; he was a machine and his face changed into a sort of digital display inside of which numbers and digits buzzed and whirred far too fast to read. I could tell he wasn’t pleased.

“Do you see me laughing?”

The face of my other black friend appeared above¬† me. (Apparently I had precisely two of them in this story.) He seemed to be leaning over the wall I was sitting against, and he was smiling. The smile seemed to suggest that we were still friends, but that he too wasn’t pleased with my last comment.

I gave a weak smile, ‘no.’

“Maybe that’s because it wasn’t funny.”

“I know,” I stammered and cringed;¬† “I don’t mean to be a jack-ass; it’s just that I can say that sort of thing with my indigenous friends and they laugh about it.”

“Well, we don’t think it’s funny.”

I told him I understood. I said I was sorry and that I will try to be more sensitive about things in the future.

The face above me looked across the street at our companion; “Have you explained that to him?”

“No, he turns into a magic parking meter whenever I attempt ethnic humor. I’ll apologize and discuss it with him when he changes back in a minute or two.”

“That sounds like a plan.”

***

Okay, those are pretty much the final moments of my dream this morning.