Blackhumouristpress's Blog

July 30, 2009

Waiting for Oprah

Filed under: Oprah,Short Story — blackhumouristpress @ 2:28 am
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Waiting for Oprah
Bobby and Agnes were treated for their injuries and sent home. They really needed the beds at Cook County Hospital for people with more serious injuries such as knife wounds or gun shots. More people died of knife and gun shot wounds at Cook County Hospital in one year than the number of American soldiers in Afghanistan. That could change next year.

Bobby and Agnes had badly bruised faces, missing teeth and serious whiplash. Anytime one who is hit from behind in an automobile at seventy miles an hour, would find their head would flip back and forth like a rag doll.
Bobby and Agnes lived in Agnes’ sister’s apartment off of Archer Avenue on the south side of Chicago. Beatrice was Agnes’ older sister. She had two children that she raised herself from the age of eighteen. Her children had children young too and are struggling not far from where they once struggled with their mother, their entire youth.
Beatrice was a beauty when she was a younger woman but at 43 years of age, she appeared to be clos er to 53 years of age. Years of smoking left her walls yellow and her voice husky. Whenever she laughed hard enough, Beatrice coughed up phlegm. Beatrice has worked at the same diner on 95th Street across from Little Family of Mary Hospital since she was a teenager. What she doesn’t know yet is that she will eventually die at the hospital across the street from the diner. That won’t come for a while yet, but it’s coming.
Beatrice was not a fan of Bobby. Bobby was in his mid thirties and had been in and out of jail. Bobby did eight years for attempted murder of his ex-wife’s lover. It was Bobby’s cousin Bill who had mistakenly fired the gun that grazed the arm of the man who had been seeing Bobby’s wife for years. Bobby took the rap for his younger cousin who had no previous record. Bobby reasoned that he probably would wind up in jail again at some point and Bill may never have to. Bill had at least a high school degree.
Bobby and Agnes laid on the pull out bed in the living room the next morning. It was a one bedroom apartment that Beatrice rented. Bobby and Agnes both laid propped up in bed, smoking cigarettes and watched the Oprah Show. Oprah had just changed the lives of some poor people with three children. They no longer had to live in public housing not far from where Bobby and Agnes lived. Agnes loved watching the Oprah Show. 0Bobby hated Oprah. He felt Oprah had too much power over American women. He felt that if Oprah ordered all men killed, that those just in the book club alone might take up the task.
“Why doesn’t that bitch come here and move us out of this palace? Why don’t you write her and tell her you ready for a make over and a new house? Shit she could fix our teeth and hair and my god damn car that’s now killed… Call her now. She right there in the studio,” said Bobby.
“The show is previously taped… Hush up now so I kin see this,” said Agnes.
Bobby watched and shook his head as his cigarette ashes fell to their yellowing sheets that had not been washed in months. Bobby rubbed his temples and tried to massage his own neck. It hurt too much to touch. Bobby’s head hurt to move it up or down and from left to right. They were both issued braces to keep their heads still but neither intended on wearing them.
Bobby was urinating with the bathroom door open when he heard knocking on the door. He yelled for Agnes to get it. Agnes yelled back that she couldn’t get up. Beatrice heard the commotion and went to the door. A man in a suit with a brief case in hand, stood smiling at the door. The man stood there and observed the squalor and wondered how people so genetically close to himself could live like animals. It smelled of cigarettes, stale liquor and unwashed clothes. All the drapes were drawn. One would not be able to tell that is was day or night between the shades and drapes. The man in the suit never stopped smiling. He asked to talk to both Bobby and Agnes. Bobby walked towards the man with his shirt off and zipper unzipped on his dirty jeans that he had slept in. Bobby suspected the man was from the IRS or an undercover cop. Bobby pre-empted the man by speaking first.
“I paid my debt to society. My girl bailed me out and I go to court next Wednesday. Til then I ain’t got nothing to say,” said Bobby.
“Sir… Hear me out. Your life is about to change for the better…”
Agnes struggled to sit up. She smiled despite the fact that she was missing her two front teeth and had two black eyes. Agnes was certain her prayers were going to be answered.
“Your from the Oprah Show, aren’t you?”
The man in the suit just smiled and began to explain to Bobby what his purpose was. Bobby had a few questions to ask of the finely dress man.
“So lemme git this straight… You git 33% of whatever we can git in court?”
“That’s entirely it…”
“That sounds like a lot of fucking money, man. I git in a gawd damn accident and you git to walk way with a third? That’s some bullshit, man,” said Bobby.
“Sounds bad to you? How would you like 100% of dick? Sounds a lot worse than 66% doesn’t it? Let me speak plainly, my friend… You’re living with your common law wife in her sister’s one bedroom apartment. You no longer have a car and you work for a Polish gentleman who calls you to work when his regular crew is too drunk or busy to work for him. You have nothing. You stand to make enough money to catapult you out of these dregs that you presently wallow in. You could buy a home, a car, start a business. You more or less have won the lottery. My job is to bring this to fruition. Athletes have agents when they make their millions because they have agents who know how to shake the tree for money. You want to risk going to court and telling the judge in your folksie way that you have been wronged? The judge will dismiss the case and you won’t get diddly squat. Now if you have me going before the judge, I can tell him what a har d working man you are that is trying to make a buck out of a quarter. I can tell him how your health for the rest of your days, will prevent you from working any longer as an apprentice tuck pointer and that you no longer can work the only job you’ve ever known. I can tell him how the correctional system rehabilitated you and how you’ve been an upstanding citizen who works and pays his taxes.”
“Um… I git paid under the table in cash. I ain’t filed since 1993, ” said Bobby.
“Don’t worry my friend, we’ll just skip that part of it,” said the smiling attorney with bleached white teeth. “We’ll work around all that… All I need is a signature below from both of you… Getting whacked from behind from an executive of a major automobile company… By years end, you’ll be hob nobbing with Oprah… Trust me.”
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