Blackhumouristpress's Blog

February 24, 2010

The Love Child from Across the Border

Filed under: Uncategorized — blackhumouristpress @ 6:51 pm
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Back in the sixties it was a curiosity and a novelty for Wade and his friends to cross over from Detroit on the Ambassador Bridge just to hang out and cause trouble in Windsor, Ontario.  As a boy, it was hard for Wade to understand that those people across the water were different and belonged to a different country and they had different money and put vinegar and gravy with cheese on their French Fries.  It wasn’t until Wade turned sixteen and had a car of his own did he ever cross the border to Canada.  When he got there, he was disappointed to find that the differences were so subtle that they were almost undetectable. 

            In 1966, Wade was supposed to be in high school as a sophomore but quit so that he could work as a mechanics assistant which meant that he patched tires, changed oil and pumped gas.  He wore his jet black hair in a pompadour and had cheap tattoos on his arms.  He loved Elvis, the United States, John Wayne and the idea of killing Communists for the common good of god fearing, god loving, democratic, and law abiding citizens anywhere.  Wade was just waiting until he turned seventeen so that with his parent’s permission, he could enlist to get on the front line of the Vietnam War. 

            Somewhere across the straits that separate The United States from Canada in Detroit, was a bored young woman who hated her home life and always felt like a frog out of water.  I say frog because her family had lived since the days of Napoleon in Quebec and had trekked west so that her father could work for the Ford Motor Company.  Her name was Antoinette and her family was a little darker than the others in the neighborhood and they spoke French to one another and attended a Catholic Church between Windsor and Chatham for French refugees from Quebec.  It was at a diner that Antoinette met Wade and raced around in his car with him and eventually consummated their amorous feelings for one another and spawned a baby.

            Now Wade didn’t want to be a father or a husband and he did his best to take his girlfriend out of Canada to the state of New York where abortions were legal.  It was around Toledo that Wade’s engine blew up like a bomb.  At first he heard metal banging fast and hard and then there was an explosion and nothing but black smoke.  Wade had changed his oil for the trip but had not thread the plug correctly to the oil pan and all the oil had leaked out.  A life was created and saved out of negligence.

            Antoinette did not want to move to Detroit and Wade really could not see himself living in Windsor although he gave it a try and even went to work with Antoinette’s father for six months at Ford.  As soon as Wade turned seventeen, he defected back to Detroit, got his parents to help him enlist and was in Vietnam faster than you could say Lyndon Baines Johnson.

            While Wade was hunting ghosts in Southeast Asia, Antoinette was experimenting with psychedelic drugs and music and wound up in Victoria Island while their son Patrick stayed behind in Windsor.

            Patrick learned to speak French and play hockey and love the Montreal Canadians even though the Detroit Red Wings were much much closer.  It was around the age of fifteen that Patrick began to smoke pot, began drinking, breaking into homes and even robbing people for small cash with some local hooligans whenever they weren’t playing hockey.  Patrick’s grandmother wrote a letter to Wade asking for help after almost fifteen years since he had left for Vietnam.  Wade thought about it and liked the idea of seeing his son after so many years.  If nothing else he wanted to see if the kid actually looked like him or one of his friends who might have popped Antoinette too when he wasn’t around.

            Patrick was really opposed to the idea of going to Detroit for a weekend with a stranger, but the threat of pulling hockey from him in the fall forced his hand.  When the man who looked like Charles Manson pulled up in an Oldsmobile 442 with the top down, Patrick was actually scared.  The man looked mean with intense eyes.

            Wade drove across the bridge and pulled over on interstate 75 and got out of the car and opened the passenger side door for Patrick to get out.

            “You got a license?”

            “No, sir…”

            “Well fuck it…  Now’s as good a time as any to start driving.”

            Patrick gripped the wheel of the fast automobile and tried to look through the spider web looking cracked glass on the windshield.  Patrick asked what happened.

            “Some fucking punks were throwing rocks from an over pass.  If the fucking rock would have cleared the windshield, it would have knocked my fucking head off…  Which reminds me, I wanna make a stop up north to get this glass fixed today.  Keep driving, I’ll tell you where to go.”

            America had always appeared to be the land of opportunity on television and the streets paved with gold and so on.  The streets that Patrick was driving down, had grass growing in the cracks of the sidewalks and there were burned down and boarded up homes everywhere.  It was dismal and as third world as anything Patrick had seen on television.  It was hard to believe that so much blight was possible in the United States and so close to Windsor.

            While the windshield was being fixed at the Five Mile Auto Glass, Wade and Patrick walked over to a Coney Island that was still run by an old white man in an all black neighborhood.  They ordered some burgers and talked.  Both without commenting saw something of themselves in the other such as facial expressions, cheek bone structure and the shapes of their eyes.  As they spoke four young men walked into the restaurant and began quietly robbing people from table to table.  They would surround people at each table and quietly told them to give whatever money they had or be shot.  The quartet reached the booth that Patrick and Wade shared.  Patrick’s teeth were chattering while Wade sat without any expression on his face.  A cocky young man with a black fist hair pick stuck in his hair and a tooth pick in his mouth sat across from Wade and dipped a fry into some catsup and put it in his mouth.

            “Say man…  We taken contributions today.  You contribute to the cause and we go bout our business,” said the ringleader while eating the French fry.

            “Boys let me explain something to you…  I went to Vietnam and carried a rifle everyday while walking through a jungle not knowing if the rice farmers I just passed would shoot me in the fucking back.  I walked in wet fucking boots, contracted the clap and Malaria just so I could come home and find that you motherfuckers burned up my city.  This was my city back when you were just a bunch of tadpoles in your father’s nut bag and now you are going to come in here and extract money from me and all these other people?  Do you feel that between your legs?  It’s a 357 magnum.  Listen to this…”

            Wade cocked the hammer back.

            “That sound your hearing is the last sound you’ll ever hear before your fucking balls fly through your asshole and splatter your friend’s faces…  Now set down all the shit you just took and back the fuck out of here before I decide to shoot you just for fucking sport.”

            Patrick couldn’t eat another bite nor drink another sip.  He watched the man who was his biological father light a cigarette and talk about cars and women and how he met his mom and how he actually came to be. He mentioned places he had been and cars he had owned and where he wanted to move to.   Patrick couldn’t help but think of the innocent people he and his buddies had robbed in front gas stations and banks in Windsor.  Patrick wondered if his grandmother had told his father about the break-ins and robberies.  Patrick wondered what he would do if he ever tried to rob the wrong guy, a guy like his father.

Wade and Patrick walked the block from the Coney Island to the glass shop to get the car and Wade never worried about being jumped by those that just sought to rob him.  They spent the weekend swimming in a small lake up near Waterford, Michigan and then Patrick returned to his life in Windsor as if he had never met Wade.  Wade wasn’t very sentimental but he did give his son some advice.

            “If you’re horsing around now, use a rubber and if the rubber breaks pray and if it’s too late for that… Make sure you check the oil…  I’ll see you kid.” 

            With that he winked, slipped a hundred dollar bill American in his hand and drove off.  Never to be seen again.

February 15, 2010

Leaving the Complaints Department… Peace, Out

Filed under: Uncategorized — blackhumouristpress @ 5:00 pm
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Curt and Carl had been life long buddies.  Back in the old days, kids at school called them the Columbine Boys behind their backs.  Nobody really thought of them as closet homosexuals as much as antisocial, introverted, skateboarding wannabees, with possible homicidal tendencies.  They both had tight jeans with Van shoes and long hair that covered one eye at all times.  They spent most of their time trying to perfect the stuff they saw on MTV.  Neither one of them was bold enough or athletic enough to ride hand rails or try to jump a flight of stairs on their bikes.  They were just west coast, southern California boys trapped in the desert near Palmdale and Lancaster at the far northern tip of Los Angeles County, not far from the windmills near Tehachapi.  All houses looked about the same as the next house and sparse growth covered the mountain sides that looked more like the surface of Mars or the Moon that anything on Earth. 

            Somehow both Curt and Carl finished high school without killing anyone and made it through albeit with beat up self esteem.  Carl one day decided that he would move to England.  Curtis thought he was really full of shit and called him on it.

            “I’ve decided that I want to live somewhere other than this sterile fucking place filled with former Midwestern fucks that live in tract house fucking subdivisions and go to the fucking Vons to shop, In and Out Burger for dinner and get old and fat watching that one fucking tree grow that was planted by the city, in their front yard.  I’m not gonna beg you but we should just fucking go, man.  I mean where can you go where they kinda speak English that is totally not like this fucking place?  I wanna go to pubs and fuck chubby chicks and never learn their names.  I want to drive on the left with a wheel on the right and not worry about my fucking teeth.  Fuck Arnold Schwarzenegger, earthquakes, landslides, smog, diamond lanes and all of it.  Let’s go to England, man.  We can get a flat in London and live like fucking kings…” said Carl.

            “I really like In and Out Burger…” Said Curtis.

            “Yeah?  Well fuck you too then…” Said Carl.

            As shocked as Curtis was to see his buddy Carl go, Carl did take every cent he had and moved to London.  Carl found jobs at fast food restaurants and at a funeral home before he landed a job in customer service.  Carl was the foreman of a division that answered customer calls.  Ironically, Curtis worked at a company that was an answering service for apartment buildings and doctors.  Curtis was the complaints department and hated it.

            It had been four years of sending porn, jokes and one sentence emails to one another when Carl offered Curtis a job at his factory in London.  Curtis was intrigued.

            “Dude…  You gotta come to London.  I work for a company that sells Irish sweaters and quilts and shit.  I’m like the head of all the customer service calls.  It’s fucking great.  There are like three chicks I’m totally making it with right now who work for me.  I swear to baby Jesus that I go home to change fucking underwear only.  After work I go and have a few pints then go and a have a few more at another pub, throw some fucking darts and lay a new broad every night.  All you have to do is tell them you are from California and they immediately think like Beach Boys and surfing.  I’m like whatever.  Where’s your flat?  Oh and one big thing to sway your ass…  The fucking pound is the strongest currency in the world.  It’s like making one and a half times what you make in California.  I hope you’re done nursing your snatch and bring your ass out here.  You can shack up with me and trust me when I say that you will have more puss than you could shake a stick at.  Tell your mom that you’re going to learn to fly and move the fuck out here, bitch…  Peace out Carl.”

            Curtis agonized for a week about doing something so abrupt but then decided he would.  He sent Carl the good news and just wanted to clarify that there would be a job waiting for him.

            “Dude…  I’m so coming to England.  You do have a job waiting for me, right?  I don’t mind what it is; I’m just spending all I have to get there.  I can hardly sleep thinking about this.  The Trenchcoat Posse rides again!”

            Carl responded.

            “Bitch… Bring your sorry ass here.  I’ll fire a fucking Paki to give you a job.  Just get here…  Peace out.”

            Curtis responded.

            “Okay, man.  I’m coming.  I bought a ticket.  I stop in NYC and then on to London.  Pick me up on Saturday.  Just have to set the record straight here at work….”

            Now Curtis hated his job and hated the despondent, fat, angry people he worked among and hated the chronic complaints he dealt with frequently as an answering service dispatcher.  Curtis decided to set the record straight with everyone who irritated him before leaving.  First was a woman who lived in Santa Monica with two cats, no husband and a lot of time on her hands.  She was the president of a condominium association who called frequently to the answering service to have their Albanian janitor work hard for his money.

            Ms. De la Croix,

                                       Although we have never met since I am up in Palmdale and you are in Santa Monica, I just want to let you know what I pictured over the phone in my two years of dealing with your annoying bullshit.  You are probably 5‘2 to 5’4, thin with bleached blond hair.  You probably went to some Catholic grade school in Santa Monica, Catholic high school in Santa Monica and then attended Santa Monica City College.  You think that Santa Monica is the height of Los Angeles County and center of the universe. You probably buy bullshit art at  the Santa Monica Mall on Saturdays and attend all meetings for rent control.  Your cats probably got two stupid names like Tulip and Persnickety and you have more appliances in the drawer of your night stand than the janitor of your building has in his tool shed.  Mind you that this poor fuck lasted through a war where Serbians were trying to murder him because some fucking Ottomans forced his ancestors to convert to being a Muslims.  That poor fuck made it all the way to sunny California just to become a slave to you and a bunch of sexually dysfunctional males and females that love titles such as president, treasurer or secretary of a board.  Fuck you, fuck your board and all your complaints.  Kiss your fucking cats cause they might be the only ones who love you and that might only be at feeding time.

            Yours Truly,

            Curtis Crawford

            Curtis felt so exhilarated by writing to Ms. De la Croix and telling her exactly what he thought of her, now he would tell his fellow workers what he thought of them.

            “Dear Mr. Smith and all employees of Minute Men Ready Answering Service,                                                                                                                                        

 I would like to invite you to figure out fast what makes you happy.  Most of you are

twice my age and are twice as unhappy and twice as fat and at least twice in debt over me. 

Most of you make me sick and scare me.  I waited my whole youth to be an adult and

now that I’m surrounded by adults, I ask myself if this is what I wanted and expected. 

Did I want to be grayer, fatter, angrier, and more cynical than I am now?  Granted I was voted most likely to come to school and mow everyone down and yet I would be more likely to come and put all of you out of your misery as a mercy killing now.  My problem was that I never bought a gun.  I did buy a ticket to London, England and start my new job next week.  So fuck all of you and I hope you step aside and heed the shit I’m saying.  Your sorry lives are not worth living and I want to thank all the pompous fucks among you for forcing my hand.  Had it not been for you, I may have been complacent and stayed in this fucking job until I grew a paunch, lost my hair and got excited over coupons or whatever the fuck there is to be happy about beyond the age of thirty with an unfulfilled wife and bratty fucking kids.  So I’ll say this now; see you in hell and if you make it to heaven let me know how it was possible because I have not seen how it could have been possible thus far…  Your devoted employee Curtis Crawford…”

            Curtis hit the send button to all employees as he gathered up things that he wanted

to take with him from his desk in a cubical.  Curtis could hear gasps and laughing as he carried his glad bag full of stuff through the front doors into the midday sun.  He got into his Hyundai ready to collect what he really needed for his first trip to Europe when a text message from Carl came through.

            “Dude…  It’s a fucking calamity.  The fucking Brits dumped all the women in the center and moved operations to fucking New Delhi.  Those fucking Indians. Don’t worry if you already quit.  I can find us work here.  I got a few bones stored away.  Just come out, we’ll figure it out somehow… Peace out, Carl.”

            Curtis was at a red light in his Hyundai when the car behind him beeped hard.  The light had turned green.  The only thought that came to Curtis was; Oh shit!

February 9, 2010

The Crime of Life

Filed under: Uncategorized — blackhumouristpress @ 6:21 pm
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Susan Hall had her first plastic surgery at age thirty seven, a face lift of sorts.  Susan had spent so much of her time in the sun down in Miami that her skin had a leathery feel to it.  The back of her hands looked like lizard skin and when she smiled, she had lines all over her face.  It was at a party that Susan caught a glimpse of herself in a decorative mirror on a wall and wondered who the old lady was.  How could she have gotten so old so fast, is what she thought as she drank her fifth glass of red wine of party of friends that she met through a social club that met on Wednesday nights to Salsa Dance.  The social group was mostly made of single white women and Latino men.  It all worked out well, the white women fancied Hispanic men and the Hispanic men loved the sport of bagging mentally fragile white women who really liked to dance.  And fuck.

            The forty year old birthday really hit Susan hard.  It was while she was under a man from Columbia whose name escapes me and Susan that the thought hit her that she could hit menopause and that she would be less attractive and then there would really be nothing left except old age and death.  Susan fought the effects of aging well.  Aside from the Salsa dancing, she took spin classes and used the stepper at home while watching Oprah and the View everyday.  Susan’s job was to not squander the ten thousand dollars a month that her father put in a trust fund for her.  Aside from her father taking care of her car payments, insurance on the condo and car, electricity, heating gas and condo assessment, Susan had to make due with ten thousand a month.  Around the 21st of every month, Susan had to start watching her checking account.  Her father hated overdrafts.

            So it was while under the short Columbian man that it hit Susan that she might only have forty five to fifty summers left and maybe only ten in really good health and waning sex appeal.  She began to cry and was inconsolable.  What’s-his-face from Columbia got dressed and left.  Susan stood in front of the mirror crying and crying.   Susan took her anxiety medicine and some sleep medicine but nothing really worked.  Her father couldn’t be reached; he was on a boat in the Pacific Ocean with three Filipino girls under the age of seventeen.  He was deep sea fishing and taking Viagra intermittently.  Ever since Susan’s mother left them all and moved to Italy, her father was never the same.  Susan turned to her psychiatrist, Ira who lived in and worked in a huge house along the shores of Lake Michigan in the City of Evanston. 

            Ira looked strikingly like Sigmund Freud and had sharp features and beady eyes that made him look marsupial in nature.  He crossed his legs in a comfortable chair in his office and dunked his tea bag over and over in a mug that had picture of himself and his partner Tom, arm and arm while on the beach in Aruba.  Ira mostly listened for the $100.00 and hour that he received from Susan’s father.  Ira himself had phobias about leaving the house at night, flying in airplanes, driving on two lane highways, groups of large black men and illness.  Ira was forever using hand sanitizers after touching anything. 

            Ira’s partner Tom was a pilot and a fitness fanatic.  Ira was usually at home cooking for Tom while he ran, swam and biked in his free time.  Ira took to speaking French to his parakeet that he name “je t’aime”.  That name eventually became “Tammy”.  It was at Susan’s lowest point that Ira had reached a crisis.  It was like two frantic women consoling each other on the day that Susan arrived at Ira’s home/office.  Ira was putting the finishing touches on a two foot sailboat that he had made while sniffling and crying when Susan walked in.  Ira tried to put a brave face on his distress.

            “Susan…  We are going to do something different today.  Instead of meeting in my office, we are going to go to the backyard and have… A funeral.”

            Nobody had ever died in Susan’s life before.  She had known and heard of people dying but had never been to a funeral.  Ira said a few words in French that sounded like nonsense to Susan, kissed his parakeet as he sobbed and pushed the sailboat out towards Michigan City, Indiana which would have directly across the lake.  Luckily the lake was like a giant bath tub that day instead of an angry writhing sea as it can often be. 

            Ira’s body heaved as he cried.  Susan put her arm around Ira and held his head to her chest.  Susan found Ira to be unbelievably frail and devoid of muscle tone.  Ira was having a nervous break down.  The shelf was coming down and all the China was crashing to the ground.  Luckily Susan was there.  Ira felt comfortable with Susan because she was fraught with anxieties and phobias too.  Surely Susan would understand.

            “I can’t take it any longer.  Losing Je t’aime is the straw that broke the camel’s back.  Toms become more and more distant ever since he has been on this health kick.  I’m home rinsing his goddamn ground beef of any fat, making scallops and salmon and that damn steel cut oat meal while he runs and bikes and swims.  I mean he looks absolutely like an Adonis right now, honest to god.  We go out and I’m afraid to walk away for a second.  It’s like having a Ferrari in mall parking lot.  You just want to run into Crate and Barrel and you can’t be sure it’ll be there when you come back… Anyway, he meets this man from the gym, another Jew who claims he has found Jesus.  A Jew has found Jesus Christ for fuck’s sake!  He couldn’t find Bin Laden and solve our lifetime quandary of making it from day to day…  No, he finds a good looking Jew who is part of a group called Jews for Jesus.  I shit you not…  At this moment, my man is in Haiti helping this Jew for Jesus build something or other.  I taught him French and he runs off with a latent, closet homosexual who doesn’t know he’s gay or Jewish, to rebuild homes for French speaking Africans in Haiti.  I begged him to go with and he told me flat out no.  I was so crushed…  I’m so crushed.  Je t’aime felt my sorrow and died out of empathy for me…  Mon oiseau…  Je suis tres triste ma petite Tammy…”

            Susan was stunned by the hair that Ira let down seeing as he was losing it quickly from his forehead to his neck.  Ira had always been all business and devoid of much emotion in the past.  Susan had decided that Ira was truly in worse shape than her and felt that she must help Ira out.  They went to movies, plays, museums and shopped together nearly everyday.  While sitting at a café together in the middle of the day, Ira read US Magazine and Susan thumbed through the Chicago Sun Times that was left by the previous patron who had sat at their table.  Susan checked out the weather for the coming week and then turned the page to the obituaries.  Susan could never remember ever really looking at them before.  She looked at pictures of the various old people who were really nameless and faceless and thought that within fifty years, she may make the obituaries and that 99% of the people looking at the paper, won’t know or care who she was.  Susan was going to die as anonymously as all those she was looking at in the paper.  The idea came to her suddenly to attend a funeral of one of those in the paper.  She would read up on them and then conjure up a story as to how it was that her life was tied to some dead person.  Susan was excited about the idea and Ira was in no frame of mind to fight her morbid interest.  Ira went along with not one visit but dozens until it got so that they were attending three to four a week.

            “Ira…  Here’s a good one Alvin “Bebop” Taylor, age ninety of the Pullman District.  Born March 6, 1920 in Mississippi.  Fought in World War II and was a local Jazz musician.  I think this will be a worth while visit,” said Susan.

            “What story are you coming up with this time?”

            “Golly…  I’m not sure but I think going to a black funeral is going to be a great experience.”

            Now with Google and all, Susan was able to find out things about those whose funeral she was about to attend.  She struggled to find anything on Bebop.  The twenty or so others never blinked an eye when Susan came up to console the families.  She always had a touching story about her mother or father who was quite close in some way to the dearly departed.  Her father had been a longshoreman, a soldier, an ambassador, a missionary and now a Jazz musician.

            Susan drove her late model Mercedes with Ira in tow into a section of Chicago that she had only seen on the news.  Crying grandmothers barely able to say that their grandchild was good and a good student and was minding their own business when a stray bullet killed them. Then there were fires, robberies, rapes and carjacking all stemmed from this poor area of Chicago’s south east side.  Every other business was boarded up and the ones that weren’t were barbershops, fried chicken fast food depots and churches.  The order that she and Ira were accustomed to, seemed to have vanished slowly as they traveled further and further from their enclave that really was tolerant or other ethnicities, races and social stratus beneath theirs, even though they did not live among them.  The realization was sinking in to both of them independently that it would not matter to anyone in that neighborhood that Susan had three bumper stickers alluding to her political and social leanings; Obama 08, Change and Hope.  Hope and Change hadn’t hit that section of Chicago that was not more than five miles from where Obama had lived when he was living in Chicago.  The residents of that area still held George W. responsible for the despair and difficulty in achieving change and rich white people in expensive cars too.

            It was like a carnival inside compared to the white services.  The crowded rooms were packed full of well dressed black people that laughed and spoke loudly in the hallways outside of the rooms where services were being held.  It seemed more like the lobby of a movie theater to Susan and Ira than anything else.  They asked around and found the room belonging to Bebop.

            All the other rooms were overflowing with those wishing to pay their last respects to a loved one, a relative or someone who was friends or related to someone who knew someone that was going to put out a really nice spread once they laid the deceased in the ground.  The tiny room belonging to Bebop had four people total in it.  When Susan and Ira walked in, there was a heavy set man singing a song about coming home while a minister stood behind a podium.  The organist never stopped playing when the odd white couple entered, walked up and took a seat behind the family.  The family consisted of an old black woman, her brother, her daughter and a nephew.  The family stoically listened to the canned and scripted words of peace meant to give the family some solace by the minister who couldn’t remember that his name was Alvin.  When it came time for someone to come up and say a few words, nobody budged, batted an eye or even looked up at the minister.  Susan was all hopped up on pills and red wine.  Had it not been for the three glasses of red wine, Ira would have been a basket case, which is funny when you take into account that he was a doctor of psychiatry.  Ira was free falling with Susan and he really didn’t stop to reason what idiocy was taking place in the name of recreation.  Susan should have thought better to have gone ahead with taking a seat in such a small and intimate gathering and she should have thought better that to get up and speak about a man that she did not know but was certain she could get all in attendance to buy her story.

            “You don’t know me or my brother … Robert and why should you?  We are here today because our father, a hidden gem of local Jazz in this town, had played music with Bebop in the fifties and sixties.  My father played where few white men have ever visited.  He was always in search of Dr. Kurtz somewhere in the heart of darkness…  Music spoke to his soul.  It’s a language that transcends so much and is something that brings us together.  My brother William and I want you to know that daddy thought the world of Bebop and thought of him as his own brother…  He had always said that one day we would meet Uncle Bebop…  We never did.  So much of life is made up of things we intend on doing but never get to and that is truly the crime of life…  May god bless Uncle Bebop and all of you…”

            With that Susan began to cry and rushed herself off the stage, clutching a handkerchief to her face.  Ira sat motionless for he was able to read the look of disbelief on the family member’s faces and was worried how this might all end.  Ira whispered to Susan that they should leave due to the intimacy of the gathering.  Susan pressed on.  When the funeral was over, she approached the daughter of Alvin Taylor.  The young woman was set on putting a stop to the façade.

            “I don’t know who you two are or what you’re up to…  My father spent thirty years in jail and died making love to a woman young enough to almost be my daughter.  He was a drunk, a wife beater and he couldn’t find a C note on a piano.  The paper assumed that since his nickname was Bebop, that he was the one that was the Jazz musician.  They mixed it up with dead person listed next to him on the next column who actually did play Jazz.  We posted this obituary so that if any of his other children that he sired out of wedlock, wanted to come forward to pay their respects, that they could.  Now what game you two sick bastards are playing, I’m not certain.  There is no pot of gold or kingdom if that’s what you’re after.  I’m going to give you the chance to leave now before I call security.”

            Susan’s face tightened and she couldn’t move.  It was pulling a flashlight out at night unexpectedly on an opossum.  She went into a catatonic state.  Eventually an ambulance came for her and she was hospitalized.  A doctor, who was less marginal than Ira, was able to determine that Susan had several personalities on top of the schizophrenia.  It might seem at this point that her life was headed for the craper with Ira but as luck would have it, things suddenly were looking up.  A young movie producer read about them wanted to make a movie about their escapades.  Susan was envisioning Meryl Streep and Larry David portraying her and Ira.  The producer was thinking more like Kathleen Bates and Woody Allen. 

            Susan asked very sanely since she was properly medicated sans booze why anyone would want to see a movie about her and Ira.  The smiling young man with money signs in his eyes answered the question with a question.

            “Who doesn’t stop to see what happens when two cars crash?”

            Susan thought about the comment a moment and then asked the young producer a very important question.

            “Okay…  Where do I sign?”


February 1, 2010

Chicago’s Finest: To Serve and Protect


  Matt was a musician that was mostly supported by his parents who resided in the suburbs of Detroit while he chased his dream to be a musician in Chicago.     Matt was an uncommonly good looking young man that also had the body structure where by he looked as though he spent hours a day in the gym when actually he did nothing.  No weights, no running or biking.  Sex was his only form of physical activity.  Mathew was having a lot of sex with multiple women.  Mathew was trying to make it playing his own music which was what everyone called alternative.  It was really just popular music geared towards white suburban kids who did not really care for dance music.  To make the lion’s share of his money, he played with three other guys at a place called the Cubby Bear Lounge which was across the street from the infamous, Wrigley Field.  It was on Wednesday nights that he played covers of famous songs with three other guys so that drunken patrons could come up on stage and sing live Karaoke. 

            Mathew had just played the night before and had woken up to a chubby blond girl who had a Chicago Cubs tattoo on her right butt cheek.  Her name escaped Matt.  He was really bad with names.  She will forever be known as the chubby girl who played rugby at a small college on the Illinois and Iowa border.  She was dear to him.  Matt left her

 apartment on Addison and drove home.

Matt was on his way to his apartment when two of Chicago’s finest happened to be behind Matt at a red light.  Officer Ciccone happened to notice the Michigan plates with an expired sticker.  They ran the plates and found out that Matt had an outstanding warrant for his arrest.  A few years earlier, Matt had taken money his father gave to him and bought a small house in Detroit.  It was not in the suburbs but actually in the city of Detroit.  The house was in the northwest portion of Detroit near Grand River and Seven Mile Road.  It was the anthesis of where he grew up in suburban Detroit in a 25,000 square foot house in Farmington Hills.

The house had been purchased for cash.  The old guy who sold it was a widower who had worked for AC Delco his whole adult life after returning from fighting in the Pacific during World War II.  His two children moved to Boston and San Francisco and had not seen their parents in years.  Of course they flew in for a few days at the time of the funeral.  Both of them spent most of their time continuing to do business on their Blackberry phones/computers when they weren’t consoling their father. 

            The old guy had purchased land with his wife and had always planned on retiring to the upper peninsula of Michigan.  They never got around to it before she died.  She was gardening and had pain in her shoulder for a few days that radiated across her chest.  She took a few painkillers.  The old lady and the old man ate their breakfast at the Radford Coney Island and read about the mayor of Detroit sending text messages on the city provided cell phone to his mistress.  Neither one of them knew what a text message was.  They still had a rotary phone. 

            After breakfast, the old woman put on her sun hat and weeded their backyard garden while the old man cut the front lawn.  The pain grew sharper even though it had been an hour since she took two strong painkillers.  She stood and before she could hit the ground she was dead.  The old man found their Golden Retriever sitting at her side.  She lay peacefully in the grass as if she were only asleep.  The old man thought about the day he met her at the USO and vowed to not get killed in the war, so that they could get married, have a house and raise a family.  As routine and mundane life was, as old and unattractive as his wife had become in fifty years of marriage, he cried as he approached her corpse.  As stiff as his back was, he sat on the grass on a cloudless day and stroked her straw like gray hair and cried alone.  It was soon after that day that the old man put his home on the market.  Matt offered cash and got all the old man’s belongings except pictures.  The pictures went to the Upper Peninsula with the old man, the dog and their Ford Truck.

            In little time at all, Matt’s girlfriend Amber had moved in as did several other people who crashed on floors and couches.  The house smelled of cat urine and spilled alcohol.  The grass was long and highly neglected.  It caught nobody’s attention.  Many homes in the area were sold for under market value or were abandon all together prior to being foreclosed on.  Many abandon places were used to house pit bulls that were used to fight for money.  A popular sport in Detroit. Young men trolled good areas looking for smaller domestic dogs that they could feed to the pit bulls.  In order to eat, the starving pit bulls would kill the smaller house pets.  This kept the dogs primed to continue fighting and killing.  Nobody had jobs to speak of and dog fights brought income to poor people.  Even though they no longer had jobs with GM, Ford or Chrysler, the under employed of Detroit still drove domestic vehicles. 

    Matt’s girlfriend Amber had him hooked on opiates of various kinds.  Matt’s girlfriend had a small business of dealing drugs from their home.  Matt pulled in to the drive way one evening and a dozen or more men in black uniforms surrounded his car.  Matt’s girlfriend escaped with her pimp who actually made her sell drugs and her body on the side.  Matt was arrested and was out on bail when he moved all of the sudden to Chicago.

Details were just that to Matt.  Little things like registering the vehicle were on his list of things to do that would never actually get done unless he was forced to do it.  It had been three years and Matt assumed that the State of Illinois would have no record of his arrest warrant.  The tag that was six months expired on a Michigan plate caught the police officer’s attention.  Speaking on the cell phone while driving within the city limits of Chicago was also a violation worthy of a citation.  Officer Ciccone once had a girlfriend who left him for a guy who owned a black BMW like the one that Matt was driving.  Everything lined up perfectly for Matt to be caught.

Officer Ciccone had once been in his twenties with a full head of hair and had raced around the northwest part of Chicago in his Trans-Am.  Officer Ciccone had his share of moving violations, parking ticket, driving under the influence tickets that caused him to lose his license and spend a short period of time in the infamous Cook County Jail.  The whole city of Chicago and most of the suburbs, fall into the jurisdiction of Cook County. 

Officer Ciccone had an uncle who was able to get him into the police force.  Two thousand applicants applied back in 1987.  The city of Chicago was looking for a minority female and instead they got a 100% Italian male… With an attitude.

Officer Ciccone prided himself on never losing a street fight despite the fact that he was five feet seven inches and one hundred fifty five pounds.  He was bald up the middle with bushy hair on the sides and a thick moustache.  The hair may have left his head but it grew strong in his ears, buttocks and back.  Officer Ciccone always chewed gum on the left side of his mouth and chewed in a slow circular motion clockwise.  Officer Ciccone hated every ethnic group available except Italians but hated young cocky,

good looking guys that reminded him of himself when he was young and vibrant.

“Look at this fucking guy…  Expired tags on an outta state plate, talking on the goddamn cell phone…  Run the fucking plates.”

Fearing that his car would be taken from him in the state of Michigan, Matt had the car registered to a fleeting friend by the name of Xavier Garcia.  Xavier Garcia was a national of Mexico who had also had brushes with the law.  His crime was that he carjacked a car in Indiana and took it across state lines to Illinois.  The police department in the suburb of Golf, sought to stop him for travelling fifty miles an hour in a forty mile an hour zone on a road called Golf Road.  Xavier stopped the car, climbed a fence and ran through the golf course.  The golf course led to a bike path in what they call a forest preserve.  A forest preserve is a large park like swath of land set aside to look like a forest.  Usually youngsters drink and fuck in the forest preserves.  Homosexuals and Heroin meet in the public bathrooms.  Heroin addicts are not necessarily homosexual but willing to perform homosexual acts for money.  Families and corporations also have picnics and people do jog and ride bicycles through them.  There is some positive activity.

As is usually the case, Xavier left behind an envelope with his name on it.  The police came looking for him at his previous apartment and were never able to find him.  They had new trails to pursue.  A warrant was put out for Xavier’s arrest.

“If you’re not Xavier Garcia, I need to see something really fast proving to me that you are not him, Mr. Garcia or we will be going for a ride in my vehicle…” said Officer Ciccone smugly while popping his gum.

I forgot to mention that Officer Ciccone had a first name which was Guido.  Guido grew tired of such an Italian sounding name and was given the nickname of Horse

one day in junior high.  The boys had to start taking showers after gym class and it was duly noted by all the boys that Guido’s penis hung down to the middle of his thigh.  Guido was embarrassed by this as a youngster but as time went on, it was a source of pride.  After a few cocktails or being spurned by a woman in a club, Horse would unleash his member to show women and men alike and spin it around like a windmill.  Horse’s penis was really one of his few attributes.  As a human being, he lacked empathy and was quite jealous of most men that he felt had one up on him.  Matt was just too young, fit and attractive.

“I… Think I left it at home.  If you guys could just follow me to my apartment, I could run up and get it”… Said Matt, while still looking through his glove compartment for something with his name on it.

“Oh that will be fine…  Are you hungry?  We could get a bite to eat along the way too…  Do you have any fucking idea how much bullshit we gotta deal with in a day?  That was a question to not be answered but one that should cause you to wonder.

  “Now Mr. Garcia, I am going to have to ask you to step out of that vehicle and place both your hands on the hood…  Am I fucking clear?  If you do anything stupid, stupid things will happen.”

With that, Matt rode in the back seat of squad car 2948 of the Chicago Police Department.  It smelled of stale alcohol, body odor and urine.  Matt had the handcuffs placed on his wrists, behind his back.  The two officers argued over which Chicago baseball teams were better.  Horse was born and raised off of Harlem Avenue near Grand Avenue in an area of the northwest side of Chicago called Montclair.  Horse had been a life long Cubs fan.

Officer Sean Reilly, being Irish from the Bridgeport neighborhood, home to both mayors by the last name of Daley.  Sean still lived in Bridgeport and loved the Southside.  He hated working on the north side but such is life.  They both went back to arguing about the Cubs-Sox series that was taking place at U.S. Cellular field, the home of the Chicago White Sox.

“The series is at Cellular because of the Gay Pride Parade on North Halsted.  You know that right?  The gay parade is more important to the north siders than the god damn Cubs.  The Cubs are fucking losers and always will be.  There won’t never be no World Series champions on the north side.  No fucking way.  In 2005 the Sox won 11 out of 12 games, and swept the World Series.  What have the Cubs done?  Not a fucking thing…” said Officer Reilly, with a toothpick dangling from his mouth.

“Get the fuck outta here with that south side bullshit.  Nobody gives a rat’s ass about the Sox.  They win the World Series and its on page fucking two.  The president meets with the girl’s Lacrosse team from Northwestern University but sends that black broad to shake hands with the Sox…Besides what the fuck you know bout baseball?  If

 they used a goddamn hockey puck, you’d know how to play the game.”

            “Alright, bitch…  You know what?  We’re going to the cages right now and settle this.  I could have gone to college on a division III scholarship for baseball.  You messed with the wrong Mick… Twenty dollars says I will get more hits on the fast pitch than you…” said Reilly.

“I’ll take your damn money and that still won’t prove that the White Sox don’t suck my big cock…”

The two officers drove squad car number 2948 with Matt in the back seat, to a miniature golf place that had batting cages.  They parked the squad car next to the cages in full view of Matt and asked him to critique them.  They both put in five dollars worth of quarters.  A foul ball did not count, there had to be contact.

Sean stripped down to his, if you’ll pardon the expression, Dago T.  He had a tattoo on his right shoulder that said in Gaelic, “Erin Go Bragh” with a harp under the words.  His left shoulder had a tattoo of the Chicago White Sox logo which is Sox in gothic letters.  Sean was tall and wiry.  He smacked just about each ball that came at him at a speed of 85 to 90 miles an hour.  Out of the one hundred balls, Sean had 78 solid hits.

Horse had forty eight.  When Horse was done, he took the bat and threw it at the mechanical arm.  The owner saw this and came out of his office.  He was an older bald man with glasses on.  He tried to curtail his anger since he knew the two men were police officers and their job was to serve and protect.

            “Are you goofy?  Whaddya doing?  You trying to break my machine?”  Said Sol, as he jogged out to retrieve his aluminium bat.

            “Your goddamn machine throws curve balls.  It says fucking fast balls.  I had more than one of them nearly bean me.  If I got hit by one of them, I’d sue you so fucking hard you’d think you got my whole shoe stuck in your ass…  You should be refunding me a fin for all them curve balls.”

            Solomon went back into the office where his wife was stripping the paint from her nails.  Her eye brows were removed and painted on with a black crayon like device.  Her dress looked like a night gown.  Eloise, the wife of Solomon, was talking to her sister who lived in Hoboken, New Jersey.  Eloise still had a New Jersey accent.  Aside from talking and stripping the nail polish from her nails, she was chewing gum, smoking and watching Jerry Springer.  Solomon yelled at Eloise.  He often yelled at her and she often yelled at him.

            “I told you the smell of that turpentine makes my eyes tear and my throat close up.  I told you not to smoke in here either.  If someone from the city comes, we’re going to get a $500.00 fine.  Tell your sister you’ll call her back, I need you to get off your fat ass.”

            Eloise took a drag of her cigarette, leaving bright red lipstick around the base of the filter.  She smiled and winked at Solomon.

            “No, no…  It’s just Sol crying about something once again…  The doctor told him that his heart is strong enough for Viagra.  He just has no interest in sex anymore…  He’s as useful as tits on a bull.”

            Solomon took two five dollar bills and handed them back to Sean and Horse.  Many officers shook down shop owners for free food and coffee.  Free swings at the batting cages were a new one for Sol.  The two officers got back into the car.  Sean

 proceeded to rub it in that he hit nearly thirty more balls than Horse.  Sean asked Matt who looked better.  Matt should have thought better to answer truthfully.  Horse got infuriated.

            “You think so, Garcia?  Let’s see what you think when some big fucking nigger has got a cock in your ass…  That’ll be a good going away present before they deport your fucking ass back to Mexico, you fucking beaner.”

            Now keep in mind while this is all going on, it is a warm sunny summer day in Chicago.  There are a few scattered clouds looking wispy against a blue sky.  Barometric pressure was at a hair over 29.62.  There was a chance of rain.  It was raining in

Davenport, Iowa but the wind was changing and it appeared as though all the rain would head north and east towards Madison and Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 

            The president of the United States was on a farewell tour of the world.  He was having tea in Pakistan with a man named Musharif.  The general was about to step down.  Most Americans did not worry about this.  Some did.  The people of Pakistan were upset over this.  Coincidentally, within the same borders of Pakistan, in caves near the Afghanistan frontier was a man by the name of Osama bin Laden.  Two sworn enemies sharing the same country if for only a short day, it would have been like Churchill and Hitler separated in a public bathroom by a piece of metal between stalls.  Both men urinating and reflecting on the progress of defeating the other the man in war.  Hitler may have finished quickly and not bothered with washing his hands and never met Churchill.  This never did happen but as the saying goes, stranger things in life have happened.  You’ll have to excuse me, I do this a lot and not just when I write.

            And so the president was in Pakistan, a man named Obama was in North Dakota discussing how he would remove American troops from Iraq within sixteen months.

  Oddly enough, the people of the state of North Dakota were almost entirely white except for the reserves left for the former indigenous people of the region.  Custard may have lost but ultimately the natives lost the war.  Be all that as it may, a man African on his father’s side and some sort of a European melange on his mother’s side was holding a press conference in a state where few black men have bothered to tarry.  Across the country in Anaheim, California, was an older white man by the name of Mc Cain who had been held in a prisoner of war camp during the Vietnam War.  He too was trying to convince the nation that he was the right man to replace the man who was visiting Pakistan.

            Now keep in mind while these things are happening, the price of a gallon of gas is at $4.10 nationally for unleaded, $4.55 if you need Diesel.  A million homes are in foreclosure, large banking institutions are failing or being bought out by foreign investors.  The United States Dollar is worth less than the Canadian Dollar and yet the book you’re

 reading cost forty percent more to purchase within Canada.  Storms are flooding the Mississippi region from Minnesota to Louisiana and wild fires were burning from Sacramento, California to Reno, Nevada.  A tropical storm was just taking shape off the coast of Cape Verde near the continent of Africa that would bowl over small Caribbean Islands within a week.  People were being ignored in the Darfor region, China was getting ready for the Olympics, polar bears were dying in even larger numbers across the arctic region and the national debt of the United States was at 93,000,000,000 at that moment or 36,000.00 for all those living within the United States, legally and illegally. 

National league teams were playing American league teams in Major League Baseball and for many that was the most important thing happening that day, unless one was headed to jail.  None of the above had anything to do with anything.  I just thought you should know that other than this human interest story, there were much bigger things at play that nobody really cared enough about.

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