Blackhumouristpress's Blog

July 31, 2012

Rendezvous in Chicago

Filed under: Ethnicity,humor,Short Story — blackhumouristpress @ 10:25 pm
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Lena came from a small town you never heard of in the south of France.  For as much as most French seem to look down at the United States, Lena was quite taken in by the pop culture, brashness and general oblivious naivety of believing that Americans believe they are the smartest, trendiest and most free in the world.  Americans to most French, were like that middle of the road, slightly above average looking woman at a party that truly believes she is the hottest thing in the world and believes that everyone wants to be with her or emulate her.  Lena loved Americana.
            Lena decided upon Chicago to spend her time in the states primarily because her admiration of Ernest Hemingway and Frank Lloyd Wright who both lived in the village of Oak Park, some six miles west of the center of downtown Chicago. 
            Lena ate hot dogs with all sorts of foreign things on it and ate foie gras and sipped white wine in the bleachers at Wrigley Field as she tried to speak English to two fat former frat boys that identified themselves as former University of Notre Dame students.  One of the fat Americans had a tattoo of the fighting Irish symbol on his chubby arm that resembled a leg.  They bought her a beer and jokingly told her how much they appreciate French fries.
            Lena listened to Jazz and Blues.  She did tours and visited museums that had better French impressionist art than they had in France.  It was on a Sunday that Lena decided to take the green line from downtown Chicago, through the heart of darkness which is Chicago’s west side.
Chicago’s west side is about as third world as you might find in North America.  There are no grocery, department or drug stores between Ashland Avenue and Austin along the green line that follows Lake Street from west to east.  Lena watched black people, Americans of African descent and thought about the suburbs of Paris where Africans rioted and trashed their own neighborhoods.  A white far right Jean Le Pen follower who was a police commander, insulted the African immigrants on a bullhorn by refusing to address black men with the polite “vous” form used among adults in France and used “tu”.  Tu would be used for children or someone you are really familiar with, not to be used with angry, unemployed Africans by a white cop.  Cars burned and businesses were looted.  The west side of Chicago resembled the Paris suburbs to Lena.
 Zombie looking street walkers with missing teeth and track marks,  hooking up with suburban white men in Volvo station wagons with stick figure decals of a husband, wife, two children and a dog, holding hands.  Black men filed in and out of liquor stores tucked in between store front Baptist churches and barber shops.  Lena was startled by a middle aged black man who plopped himself down in the seat next to her.
            “Look miss…  I was jus let out of a half way house not far from here, see this is the picture of where I was.  I am jus looking for some change to help me git a meal.  Y’all could be a really good American by giving jus a little bit to help me git by.”
            Roger sat in a seat near by wearing large framed glasses with a .44 magnum tucked into his belt line.  Roger loved movies like Walking Tall and Taxi Driver.  His bald head was white and shiny and he glared at the panhandler who was shaking the attractive young white woman down for pocket change.  Roger spent all of his free time preparing for the apocalypse or a coup d’etat against the first black president in the United States.  Being 100% disability from inhaling burning oil in Kuwait, Roger spent his days lifting weights, taking target practice and practicing martial arts.  Roger lived alone in an apartment in Oak Park and rode the trains waiting for a chance to intervene between a robber and a rider.  Roger saw his chance.
            “This is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world, and would blow your head clean off, you’ve got to ask yourself one question: Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?”
         Leviticus Jones looked at the man wearing a trench coat, pointing a hand gun at his head and didn’t worry much about the prospect of dying.  Life on earth had been hell for Leviticus so the afterlife couldn’t be all that much worse.
         “Bitch…  I will take that mutha fucking toy out yo crazy white hands and stick it up yo ass.  Keep pointing that shit at me and see what happen to yo crazy shit, motherfucker…  Ma’am, scuze my French.  I am a good Christian man but when push come to mutha fucking shove, this nigga ain’t bout to turn no other cheek.  Do unto others befoh they crazy ass do the shit to you.  That in Proverbs or some shit like it…  This yo last chance to pull that gun way from my heed.”
         Leviticus sprung to his feet and grabbed the barrel of the gun before Roger could discharge it.  The two men rolled around with a loaded gun.  It was just like in the movies.  One bullet went through a window and another ripped a hole through the wall the size of a golf ball before a black woman pushed the emergency button to alert the conductor of a problem.  The conductor walked up and grabbed the gun from the two struggling men.  He threw the black man off of the train and said nothing to the white man.  The black woman who pushed the emergency button questioned the conductor.  The conductor looked bored and bothered.
         “You throw a man off who was accosted by this here man off the train with out calling the po-lice?  Foh yo information, this here man pulled the gun.  You black as night jus like me, jus like the man you done thrown off the train an you assume some brother pulled the gun…  Shame on you.  Shame on you foh jumping to conclusions and shame on you foh not calling the po-lice.  This man, this white man here is the damn criminal.”
         Roger walked into the next car and then opened the door and escaped.  Lena was visibly shaking and crying at the display of Americana that Europeans hear about; racial incidents involving guns.  Lena asked the people on the car to hug her.
         “I need one of you to jus hug me…  Please… Anyone?”
         The angry black woman, a quartet of gay men, a Filipino au pair and a young white male college student, all ignored Lena’s plea.  A young black man who had just worked ten hours cutting vegetables at a five star restaurant and was looking forward to seeing his young daughter and wife stood and embraced Lena.  Nothing was said.  Lena grasped the stranger’s shoulder and cried.  The young man in a white chef’s coat, sat holding Lena until she exited at Oak Park Avenue, walked north towards Hemingway’s childhood home.  Lena thought about the song from Westside Story and began to sing.
         “I want to live in America, everything is good in America.”

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