Blackhumouristpress's Blog

January 4, 2011

The American Lawn

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Charles, Chuck, Chucky, Charlie and Chas were all the names that Charles Schmidt responded to by all the patrons of his Proud American Barber Shop which was on Telegraph Road in Detroit. 

            In the barber shop were pennants of the Detroit Tigers, Lions and Red Wings with bowling trophies and a plethora of Vietnam War era photos of Charles Schmidt and his one employee, Eugene Nurgy.

            Nobody called Eugene by his first name.  Most people called him, The Nurg.  The Nurg wore a flattop hair cut with a pencil thin moustache with tattoos up and down his arms and a gold chain of the Marine Corps symbol.  Nurg was a hair above six feet in height, chewed gum while smoking and loved listening to Dean Martin songs on his cassette player while he and Charles told dirty and racist jokes and discussed why the city of Detroit, the United States of America and the world as a whole, was going to implode soon.

            “The way to handle them swamis is the way they would handle you…  String em up by their ball sacks and let them swing in the goddamn wind,” said Charles.

            “Fucking A right…  Tell em, Chas,” said Nurg.

            “So now you got Obama running things and we ain’t got nothing to show for the two years he’s been office.  The economy sucks and we still ain’t found Bin Laden yet.  You got Harvard instead of West Point conducting a war and that’s the problem here.  That was the problem in Nam and that’s the problem now.  If the fucking Russians had to pull out of Afghanistan and they were some ruthless sommabitches, how we supposed to win a CNN war?  You fucking tell me…” declared Charles.

“You goddamn straight, Chas.  Me and Chas spent two fucking years covered in Agent Orange in the jungle.  I think we know a thing or too about running a war,” said Nurg.

            Everybody Loves Somebody Sometimes, played through tinny speakers while two old white men got their hair cut and three more sat in chairs waiting for their turn.  All the patrons of the barber shop were white and above the age of sixty for the most part.  A few grandsons and sons of older patrons patronized the shop.  Almost all were of the same mindset.

Every man has something to occupy their time when they are not making a living or scrounging for enough money to exist.  For Charles and Eugene it was finely manicuring the entire premises that was the lot belonging to Charles in the Brightmoor section of Detroit.  Charles one day decided that if he could not and would not move from a street that was nearly completely deserted; he would make his home look like a palace.  Charles added onto his home and created a beautiful garden in the front yard with a fountain and perfectly maintained lawn that looked as if it was painted green without one weed to be found.  Charles was paid by a fertilizer company to show a picture of his front yard on the cover of all their bags.  Charles was extremely proud of his home and the local gang bangers, prostitutes, pimps, drug addicts and dealers all had respect for the home of someone who was trying to improve the neighborhood by making their own property beautiful.  All but one.     

Charles had won a beautiful home of the year award for the entire state of Michigan and had the award in a frame which hung proudly in the barber shop. 

            Charles like Nurgy lived his entire life in the home of his parents and when Charles mother died a few years back, Charles inherited the only home he had ever lived in that had a value of $32,000.00 or equal to a Cadillac Escalade without any bells and no whistles.  A good used Escalade actually. 

            Charles grew tired of getting hand and blow jobs from the neighborhood sluts that needed a few bucks to get a fix and so he signed up on a website that promised western men a pretty, hardworking, subservient wife from Vietnam or Cambodia.  Charles began to correspond with a girl who used translating software to write to Charles in English.  Charles proposed over the internet to a woman less than five feet in height who liked to cook, watch American movies and listen to music.  Tran loves to listen to Elvis and Madonna and wanted to eat hamburgers with French fries.  Tran accepted the invitation to marriage and a life of bliss in Detroit, Michigan.  After paying several thousand dollars and spending nearly that much to claim his bride, Tran came to live in America.  Everyone wants to live in America.

            Tran’s life consisted of cooking and cleaning.  The house was immaculate and meals were always served on time.  For all her efforts, Charles would take her out to one of several casinos in downtown Detroit or occasionally a baseball game, movies and miniature golf.  All of which were usually with Nurg present.  Date nights almost always included Nurgy.  Tran didn’t mind.  Her prison-like existence was better than a life of prostitution in Cambodia and so she was content living in an attractive sanctuary in an area that looked like Hurricane Katrina had hit it.

            A young African-American male who had done several years in jail for armed robbery, drug dealing and rape was back on the street after serving four years of a twenty year term.  The state had to decide that others more dangerous needed to be rehabilitated more than Travis and so Travis was cast back out into the world once again.  Travis understood that dealing and stealing was going to lead to nothing but jail or death and so he began breeding Pit bulls for fighting.  Travis bought several females that he bred and then he sold the dogs to people all over the country for a good price.  Travis then held dog fights in the backyard of the rundown home across the street from Charles that had not been burned out or razed.  Men came from all over in good weather to bring their dogs to fight.  Travis had a strong male that killed just about every other dog he was pitted against.  Travis was proud of his champion fighter and to ensure that he kept the fighting instinct up, Travis would send out two of his assistants to steal small house pets from nice suburbs so that Travis’s prized fighter could kill for sustenance. 

            Now the dog fighters ignored Charles’s home and Charles and Nurgy kept a wary eye on the goings on across the street, ready to go to war if necessary.  It was late one Sunday afternoon that a young man in metallic green vintage 1972 El Camino, texted on a cell phone while his pit-bull jogged behind the car.  The dog’s tongue hung to one side as it loped behind the classic car that had a sound system that was booming enough bass to make the windows rattle in all the vacant homes on the block.  The dog broke off from following the El Camino, made a left turn and ran up towards the front porch where Charles and Nurgy sat in the shade drinking lemonade.  The dog crept towards both men with gnashing teeth.  Both pulled hand guns from their belt lines and got ready to shoot the dog.  The dog’s master parked the El Camino in the middle of the street and sauntered up towards his dog that was disobeying his command.  The young man wore a Detroit Tigers cap with a straight brim with the D lined with sparking fake diamonds, a long white tank top shirt, a baggy pair of jean shorts and whiter than white tennis shoes.  The dog pissed on the lawn while snarling and then defecated.  Charles and Nurgy were horrified by the display.  The garden club would be sure to disqualify the house from the contest if there were to be a yellow urine stain anywhere on the grass.  Nurgy stood with arm extended, looking through the scope of the gun, ready to off the animal.  The young man who bought the home across the street to breed and fight dogs, was incensed by his dog’s disobedience and the strange white man who was willing to shoot his dog for doing what dogs do when they are outside: shit and piss.

            “Old man…  You shoot my dog an see what happen to yo place.  You won’t need to worry bout yo damn grass cause you won’t have a fucking home no mo,” said Travis defiantly.

            Neither Charles nor Nurgy responded to the brazen words.  They took note of the dozen or more men who were waiting for Travis that were now walking up towards Charles’s home.  Several yelled out threats and one busted a forty ounce bottle of beer on the curb in front of Charles’s home.  Over several weeks, more and more dogs crossed Charles’s lawn while he was home and when he wasn’t.  Before long, the front lawn had yellow spots scattered about.  It would be impossible to repair the damage.  It was at the Assembly  Line Buffet at the Motor City Casino that Nurgy laid out with Charles a plan action.  The three of them ate plates full of food and discussed what needed to be done.  Tran just listened.

            “Chaz…  The damage is done.  It is fucking done, man.   Tran, excuse the langois. You have to ask yourself what Clint would do?  What would John Wayne do?  What would Rumsfeld do? Walking fucking tall, my man…  Tran, forgive my French.  Remember that movie?  He took no shit.  We didn’t go to Nam to protect inconsiderate punks who allow their dogs to destroy.  This is not damage, Chas.  This is destruction of property and you have to respond by any means possible,” said Nurgy.

            “Nurg…  When you’re right, you’re right and that’s all.”  Said Charles.

            Nurgy and Charles worked hard and fast one night late after the dogfighters had concluded their fights for the night.  Nurgy pulled up with a rented John Deere digger, ropes and traps and the two men worked hard through the night and finished just before dawn.  The Charles and Nurgy then rested and returned to the front porch in the early evening to wait for the bait to be taken like two patient fishermen.  Travis eventually came down the street in his pimped out El Camino as his prized dog jogged behind as a warm up for the night’s fights.  Travis glared at the two men and they calmly returned the stares behind aviator sunglasses.  Nothing happened during the night until the wee hours of the morning.  Nurgy could hear yelping at about 4:00am.  He sprung to his feet and called for Charles.  The two men ran out the front door of Charles’s home with guns loaded and cocked and large flashlights.  In the ten foot deep pit that was lined with wooden spikes, smeared with dog excrement was Travis, one of his friends and their two dogs. A ten by ten hole was made and covered with a heavy sheet of plastic and sod on top of that.  To the unaware eye, the front yard appeared to be as it always had instead of a pit. The two men and dogs were injured by the fall and jagged spikes.  Lassos went around the ankles of the men and dogs as they were pulled up out of the hole.  The dogs were put into cages in the basement and Travis and his friend were tied with their hands behind their backs and led to the basement.  Once in the basement, Tran began recording on a small camera on a tripod while Charles and Nurgy placed burlap sacs over the heads of the two young men.   Nurgy did the narrative.

            “Boys…  You probably never heard of a movie with Paul Newman in it called Cool Hand Luke.  There’s a scene where the warden smacks Paul Newman and then says what we have got here is a failure to communicate…  Some men you just can’t reach.  This is the way he wants it.  This is what he gets…”

            The two men were strapped to boards on the floor as if they were going to be quartered.  Tran then walked over with a watering can for the roses out in front and doused the men’s faces as they struggled to breathe.  Tran knew these tactics very well since her father was part of the Khmer Rouge during the days of Pol Pot in Cambodia.  Tran’s father was in charge of torture.  Tran would then go back to the utility tub to fill the can again with water as Nurgy spoke to the choking men in between.

            “We don’t want no trouble with nobody, boys.  We fought in Nam for our country to get rid of communism and help America stay free and proud.  A simple thing like keeping your animals off of the fucking grass ain’t too much to ask, is it boys?”

            Tran came back with the water can and poured the water with a smile and a slight curtsy for the camera as the men gasped and coughed.  This took place three times before the two men were placed in the back of the El Camino still bound and blindfolded with the dogs in the front seat of the truck/car.  Nurgy whispered in the ear of Travis before walking back to Charles’s home with him.

            “I hope we have an understanding now.  Don’t ever go to war with those who went to war.  You may consider taking us out when we least expect it and where would that get you?  Back in the Wayne County slammer?  You want someone making love to your ass for another ten or twenty years?  I say we learn to live together cause I know we can just all get along… Cool?”

            Charles and Nurgy cut the bindings from the wrists of the two men and walked home just as the sun began to rise above the tops of trees in front of abandon homes in the Brightmoor section of Detroit.  To date, Nurgy and Charles have had over two million hits on Youtube.  Most people believe it was a hoax but those that really understand torture knew that it was the real deal.  Travis and company thought about assassinating Nurgy, Charles and Tran but understood that they picked the fight and Charles and Nurgy finished it.  There was an understanding and communication.  Charles again has prize winning grass and the pit bulls know not to cross the street.  All is as good as it can be given the circumstances in Brightmoor.  And they lived happily ever after.

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