Blackhumouristpress's Blog

February 29, 2012

Amigos in America


            The Ortega’s, no relation to Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua at least none that any of them know, came from a small town in Mexico.  The town that the Ortega’s come from in Mexico is not one that American vacationers would flock to overeat, over drink and generally over indulge in.  After the birth of his third child, Ronaldo Reagan Ortega, Javier packed up his family and crossed the Rio Grande and made his way up to the city of Chicago.

 The idea to move to the United States came to Javier when his wife gave birth to a sandy haired blue eyed boy that he named after the United States President that he admired so much.  Javier thought that it was fantastic that a man, who made pretty bad movies, could go on to be a governor of a state and then become president of one of the wealthiest and most powerful countries in the world.  Way back in Javier’s ancestry, there was blond haired, blue eyed German man who was his great-great grandfather who had immigrated to Mexico.  Javier took the recessive trait that surfaced in his son as a sign from god- go live with the white people in America.

Javier washed cars, drove trucks and cleaned tables as an undocumented illegal alien.  He did an outstanding job of saving money to help his children as they got older.  There was Socorro who was tall and thin with straight and long jet black hair with high cheek bones.  Socorro was the eldest and the rebel among the three children. Socorro had moved to Los Angeles and married a Low-rider gangster who gave up gangbanging to customize classic cars for other Low- riders.  Socorro had two children and lived in a small house not far from LAX airport in Los Angeles.  Nina was the middle child who was quiet and always there to help family at all times.  Nina bought a home with her husband in Chicago and moved her parents in with them.

Ronaldo was handsome and fair skinned.  He resembled those European actors in the  Spanish speaking novellas and had the ability to blend in with Anglo looking people without a second look.  Ronaldo was an outstanding student that finished medical school, became a citizen of the United States and had a birthday all in the same month. 

Ronaldo had a girlfriend named Jennifer who was a complete physical package in the eyes of most men.  She was pretty on an athletic frame with a nice set of breasts and perky posterior.  Jennifer was high maintenance among women who are considered high maintenance.  Jennifer had to have all the passwords to Ronaldo’s emails, Facebook account and cell phone.  Jennifer chose all of Ronaldo’s clothes, told him where to go to medical school, what car to buy.  Slowly over time, all of Ronaldo’s childhood friends were slowly phased out and those with money and title moved in to become Ronaldo’s newly sanitized friends.  Ronaldo’s family said very little about their concern that Jennifer, a rich sheltered woman was reinventing the pliable Ronaldo into something that was not Latino.  The family’s fear was that they were going to lose their brother and son.

Jennifer rented a coach bus to take Ronaldo on a tour of his thirty favorite places in Chicago with his newly adopted friends.  Jennifer had planned on renting out a banquet hall for the celebration of becoming a citizen, a doctor and having his thirtieth birthday.  Ronaldo asked Jennifer to have the party at the culmination of the six hour tour on the coach bus at his sister Nina’s house so that he could see his family for his birthday.

Nina and their parents didn’t feel slighted that Jennifer did not invite them to go along on the coach bus to tour places that she felt were Ronaldo’s favorite places.  Socorro had driven in with her husband for the celebration in a sharp 1964 Chevrolet Impala that was lowered three inches from the ground and painted a sparkly red color with spoke wheels and a hand painted sign on the back window that said, “Chavo Y Socorro”.  Socorro voiced her displeasure about Jennifer’s controlling nature to her parents and sister but promised to hold her tongue.

At a few minutes after six in the evening.  Thirty loud, drunk people filed out of the coach bus and into the home on Nina.  The crowd was mostly white and well to do.  The new friends of Ronaldo devoured all the food and drank more alcohol.  They were drunk, loud and obnoxious.  Nina, Socorro and their parents looked out of place in their own home among the partying people.  Jennifer, who was wearing a tight black dress, climbed on top of a coffee table in the living room and banged a spoon against her beer bottle until everyone stopped talking and listened to her.  Jennifer sucked in her quivering lips and put her right hand against her chest.  She began to cry as she gave her dedication speech to the entire room.

“I just want to say that I am so proud of the love of my life Ronaldo who has come so far from where he was to where he is now.  From a little town that nobody ever heard of in Mexico to become an American citizen just like all of us.  Very soon Ronaldo will do his residency at Children’s Hospital here in Chicago.  I want to thank all of you for being here to celebrate a special time for both Ronaldo and I…  I really love you all so very much…”

The crowd cheered and chanted Ronaldo’s name.  Friends raised shot glasses and bottles of Mexican beer.  The room had the feel of a frat party that was about to get out of hand.  Drunken urban professionals showed up at Nina’s home to eat and drink more.  Socorro could no longer hold back.  Socorro stood up on her chair and banged a fork against a bottle of beer.  A few men whistled as the shapely woman with blue eye liner stood up to say a few words to the group of friends.

“I want my brother to know that his family has always been proud of him and have always known he is special.  He is special not because he looks like Europeans but because he has a good heart.  I hope as he enters and is accepted into the world of Caucasian people, that he always remembers that little town he was from in Mexico that I have heard of as has my sister and my parents.  I hope my brother keeps in mind to be American does not mean to not be Mexican.  I hope my brother remembers that while blacks were once sent to the back of the bus in favor of white people during this black history month, Mexicans today weren’t invited or even allowed on the bus.  I hope you all enjoyed the authentic Mexican food you ate today and will be considerate and clean up your mess before you leave because these Mexicans who live here are not servants or busboys today.  I hope you all keep in mind when you leave here and are safely back in your safe suburbs among all the people who look just like you…  The day is coming when you will all have to recognize that we are here, we are growing and we are not going anywhere.  Every time you see a nice front lawn, every time you eat at a restaurant, think about the people who make that possible…  Think about that when you’re drinking your Coronas on Cinco de Mayo and think about that now that you’ve adopted my blue eyed brother as one of your own…  I ask you all to raise your glasses and repeat after me…  Viva Mexico, putas.”

And they lived happily ever after.  Separately.

February 15, 2012

The Day You Passed Away

Filed under: humor,Short Story — blackhumouristpress @ 7:06 am
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Jasper opened his eyes to find himself in his childhood bedroom.  He looked at the blinds that let rays of light filter in through the slats.  He sat up and studied himself in the mirror; a thin figure with acne and long, wavy, brown hair.  Jasper slipped on a T shirt and walked down to the kitchen.  A tinny voice spoke about the state of emergency in South Africa through a small radio on the kitchen counter.  Jasper looked out of the kitchen window and noticed a table full of people in what would have been the backyard that was nothing more than a large field that went as far as the eye could see.  It was a giant picnic table that seemed to stretch to the horizon.  At the table were people seated on both sides.  A warm breeze gently made the high grass bend lazily.  Two of Jasper’s childhood dogs ran up to greet him followed by his grandmother who kissed him and held him so tightly that it was hard to breathe.

“We’ve been here for some time now and we had gotten word that you might be coming home today…  We just weren’t sure when…  Come say hello to granddaddy.  He’s over there talking to General Patton.”

General Patton wore his helmet and had four stars on each side of his collar.  Over his left breast were several military pins.  George was petting the dogs and discussing World War I and II with Jasper’s great-grandfather who had served in Belgium during World War I.

“I proclaimed many things and you have to be bold when you’re a four star general.  People want to know if you’re brave or flapping in the breeze like a surrender flag…  That’s all fine and well.  When I got to Lorraine region of France, I made a bold declaration.  I told the medical corps that there will be no more VD and there wasn’t.  You can imagine all the wounded and dying and we have medics trying to cure The Clap…  I put an end to that nonsense…  Well then, there he is, the man of the hour.  Your granddad says you were an outstanding young man and would have joined the military had it not been for something called Punk Rock.  Each generation has something that would lead the previous generations to want to slap the shit out of those that followed.  We call them descendants but we really don’t wish that they descend into the mire after us.  You understand?  Bismarck might have gave me a good crack and possibly Peter the Great might have backhanded him.  I don’t know if you have kids but kids have a tendency to let their parents down.  I have had very little in the way of poor reports on you, kid…  Nice to have made your acquaintance.  If you have ever wondered what you can do forever, you have the chance to meet and talk to anyone you want.  Just the other day, I was talking to a guy named John Lennon. A nice English fellow. It took a good half hour before I realized that he was no relation to the Russian Lenin.  Some here say that his music was quite popular but probably not my cup of meat.”

Jasper furrowed his brow and looked around at people he knew and didn’t know.  Jasper’s cousin Sheila came jogging up in a pair of shorts and a spaghetti strap top.  She had a smile as wide as one could manage.  She hugged Jasper hard.  Sheila smelled of Babysoft and Clairol Herbalessence shampoo from the late 1970’s and early 1980’s.

“Dude!  So good to see you.  I heard you were coming and I had to make sure I was here to meet you.  It’s so good to see you again. We just got word that Whitney Houston is on her way here today…  Hey!  You remember when we traveled from L.A. to Denver in your little Fiat?  We had to pretend to be married cause none of those yokels would rent us a room thinking we were just teenagers out to fool around for the night.  Remember?  I wrapped my arm around you and convinced that old woman at the Bates looking motel that you and I were newly weds and that you didn’t have the money to buy me a ring.  We slept in the same bed and I warned you not to touch me…  Do you remember?”

Sheila still had both her arms wrapped around Jasper at the waist as she studied his face.  Sheila was young and vibrant.  The wind blew her reddish brown hair over her face.  A few strands stuck to her lips.  Sheila was still smiling.  She put her head against Jasper’s chest and hugged him tight.  The thought suddenly came to Jasper that he had not seen his cousin in 27 years and the last time he saw her was during the trip from Los Angeles to Denver.  Their Uncle Butch had just called Jasper not long ago to report that Sheila had taken a gun and shot herself in the head while taking a shower.  She left behind a few children and a husband.  Butch had told Jasper that Sheila had become depressed and obese.  Jasper felt badly that he had never connected again with his cousin that meant something to him at a time when life had changed from youth and had taken a distinct path towards adulthood on the road from Los Angeles to Denver.

“Butch called me not long ago…  I had heard from him about you…”

Sheila closed her eyes and put her index finger across Jasper’s lips.  She put her hands on Jasper’s cheeks and held his head still as she spoke to him with serious but playful eyes.

“You decided to leave Los Angeles for Chicago at a wedding when we were 18 years old.  You told me that you were going to go to college and stop chasing the dream to be a musician…  We didn’t know it then but that was the pinnacle of our youth and the dividing line between what was and what was going to be…  You were a big James Dean fan and you even said as we drove in your Fiat Spider with the top down, that Jimmy went out when he was on top and that you couldn’t see yourself playing bingo and cutting coupons one day.”

James Dean walked up with his blondish brown hair ruffled in the front.  He wore a plain white T shirt, faded jeans and a pair of boots.  He smiled, showing a dimple on one side of his cheek.  He held a red coat over his right shoulder.

“Sheila tells me that you drove from Chicago to Fairmont, Indiana to find where I lived…  That’s a little kookie, kid.  You remind me of Sal Mineo a little bit; two nervous guys.  Just so you know; Indiana is everywhere and nowhere all at the same.  You don’t believe me, ask Kurt Vonnegut.  He’s over there talking to someone called H.L. Mencken.”

The whole thing began to make sense to Jasper.  Tears began to stream down his cheek.  Sheila hugged him and wiped away the tears.  She asked why he was upset.

“I’m either having a very descriptive dream or I’m dead and if I’m dead, it’s unfair that I had so much I wanted and needed to do and didn’t get a chance to finish it.  I couldn’t even tell my wife and kids that I love them and that despite the fact that I’m always so busy, I really do love them more than life itself…  I remember driving home from work and that it was my last day.  I had to go home to tell my wife that my job had been eliminated.  I had to tell her that I hadn’t been paying the mortgage on a home that we owned for ten years and that any day we could be evicted.  I needed to tell her that the college money we saved for our daughter was squandered on bad investments and then I open my eyes and I’m laying in my old bed from when I was kid. I’m skinny, with acne and a lot of hair.  If I’m dreaming, I want it to end now so that I can sort out the shit I got myself into…  Sheila, promise you’ll stay with me for a while til I figure this all out.”

“I’m holding your hand and will til we figure this all out…”

At a suburban Chicago hospital, Jasper laid on a bed.  His two children stood nearby answering text messages as his wife held his lifeless hand.  A young doctor, who hadn’t been on call when Jasper was rushed into the emergency room, read the chart of the man who had a stroke and appeared to be having no brain activity.  The young doctor was thinking about his vacation to Aruba that would begin at 4am with a plane ride to Miami and then off to the island.  The sad wives and stunned adult children scenario was common place.  Dr. Brown felt very little empathy but had learned early on to speak in sympathetic tones.  His recommendation was to pull the plug because the 48 year old Jasper would never be what he once was.  The family sobbed and wailed for a good hour or so.  They touched their husband and father who meant something to them.  There would be a visitation and service, he would be buried and then the realization would set in a few days later, that he was truly gone and that one day they would each take their turn.

Whitney Houston walked up in a full length gown looking young and elegant.  She smiled a confused smile.  People that neither Jasper, Sheila nor George Patton knew, came to greet Whitney.  Sheila walked with Jasper along the table that was taken up by guests.  Jasper asked where they were going.  Sheila kissed her cousin on the cheek and clasped his hand in hers.

“Believe this or not…  As big as this table is, there is a spot for you and I.  We are going to find it…”

Dedicated to my cousin Sheila and all of those who once lived.

February 1, 2012

Beyond Good and Evil- The Hockey Coach

The Oshawa Whackers had a season unlike any professional team had ever had in any sport at anytime.  They went from a dismal last place finish last year in the Ontario Hockey League to a nearly undefeated season.  The franchise had to thank Otto Werner for the turn of events.

            Otto was born and raised in Kitchener, Ontario and came from a long line of Germans going back to Prussia.  Otto’s grandfather jokingly told Otto at a young age that their family was related to Bismarck and for that reason Otto was named after his great, great uncle by marriage on his mother’s side; Otto Von Bismarck. 

            At a young age, Otto believed he was born special because he was German and a descendant of the man who was responsible for unifying most of the German-speaking people.

 Otto like all young Canadian boys, learned to play hockey and he excelled at it.  Otto made it all the way to the NHL and did well at the top level of the hockey world until he was forced to quit due to concussions.  Otto had well over five solid concussions during his two years of NHL hockey.  Since leaving the NHL, Otto became a coach who knocked around all over Canada at various levels.  Otto coached for a few years at Waterloo University and it was while he was at the school that he received a BA in philosophy.  At the age of fifty, Otto was the picture of health and virility.  Otto ate well, played hockey five days a week, lifted weights, listened to Wagner and studied Friedrich Nietzsche as if he was a god and that is sort of funny since Nietzsche claimed god was dead or worse, never was.

            Before the championship game with a 3-0 lead over Guelph after at 74-6 season, Otto made love twice to a young female student who came from a farming community in western Ontario.  She read passages of Nietzsche while Otto did pushups naked.  Rather than touch his chin to the ground, when his flaccid cock hit the ground, Otto would spring back up.  Melanie, with her exposed swollen breasts, full of life, sat on the bed reading a poem out loud which was written by Richard Wagner while Ride of the Valkyries blared on the an actual phonograph.

                        Is this still German?

                        Out of a German heart, this sultry screeching?

                        A German body, this self-laceration?

                        German, this priestly affectation,

                        The insense-perfumed sensual Preaching?

            Otto stopped Melanie who was not reading the poem as if it was a question but rather a statement.  Otto popped two pain pills to stop what he described as broken glass pressing against his brain.  Without the pain pills, it felt like shards of glass were digging into his skull.  After a glass of German white wine and two pain pills, rough sex and a shower, Otto left for the arena.  The young men filed in and began stretching out and taping their sticks.  Otto entered wearing a suit with his hands in his pockets.  His black hair was slicked back and his eyes made him look as if he was somewhere else all together.  The players thought their coach was a whack job and that moniker would be fitting for a hockey coach of a team called The Whackers.

            “Between good and evil…  Lays victory.  Several thousand people from this town will come today to see a victory…  A man who says, “I like this, I take this for my own and want to protect it and defend it against anybody”.  This is what I have sought in each and every one of you all season long.  You trusted me and I believed in you.  With so much starvation in the world, what will this victory ultimately mean in the larger scheme of things?  Well, not a fucking thing actually to anyone but us.  You become a permanent statistic in a book and on a cup so that when we leave this place, it will be noted that on this day, we did something that meant something to several thousand residents of this town and to every man who put everything into achieving something tangible and something memorable.  We are less than tiny grains of sand in a cosmos we cannot begin to grasp and yet I must tell you that of all the things in this life that you could undertake, playing ice hockey is among the noblest of occupations.  It is a secret we hold dear to our hearts and is our national treasure.  It is more than a sport, it is life itself.  For those who toil at menial tasks for a pittance to sustain themselves, they always come back to the arena to honour and appreciate those who have mastered the art of working together for a common goal and a greater good which is hockey.  Every attainment, every step forward follows from courage, from hardness against oneself.  There is an innocence in admiration; it is found in those to whom it has never yet occurred that they, too might be admired someday…  Simply put, finish off these suffering Guelph bastards.  They couldn’t hold your jocks at a Sunday mass.  You all are aware of where you stand in the history of modern day sports if you win this game.  Where we go from here is not as important today as what we can and will achieve…  Fucking bury them and then say a prayer.”

            The Whackers won handily and the coach who was a cross between Adolph Hitler and Vince Lombardi, quietly slipped away during all the celebrating.  At a hotel off route 401 that runs from north of Toronto to Windsor, a fire broke out.  This fire was a magnificent blaze that took firemen from several small towns to help extinguish.  News reporters arrived at the scene to interview those that were able to escape.  One of the survivors was a man by the name of Otto Werner.  He wore a white robe and had his arm around two young women that looked young enough to be his daughters only they weren’t.  The news reporter recognized Otto and asked Otto if he was relieved that he made it out alive and then asked what he was doing in a hotel in a town that he lived in. Otto never took his arms off of the young women that were shy in front of the cameras.  Otto smiled and grasped the shoulders of the two young women and then kissed them both on their cheeks before speaking. 

            “Around the hero, everything turns to tragedy…”

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