Blackhumouristpress's Blog

March 8, 2016

Donald Does Detroit or Let Them Eat Fluff

                One of the board of education members happened to be at a golf outing that was attended by Donald Trump.  It was at the Trump golf Mecca in Florida and Trump was going to join a friend, a friend of a friend and a Chinese dignitary that couldn’t speak English.  Trump didn’t have time for 18 holes but he said he could do 9 holes.  The friend of a friend put up the challenge that he could beat the quartet and if he did, rather than bet money, Trump would have to give a speech while in Detroit to high school students who showed signs of promise but were struggling to stay in school.  Trump told the friend of a friend to fuck himself, nobody beats Trump on his own course, and I will beat all of you and still speak to your kids.  Trump won but may have cheated.

                After the debate at the Fox Theater in Detroit, Trump took a motorcade tour of the city of Detroit.  He took out his phone and began to tweet.

                “Detroit will be great again.  The United States will be great again.  I just might buy up half of this town and see to it myself.  Travesty what has happened to a once great city.”

                Early the next day, the Fox Theater was filled with thousands of students picked by Deans and principals of various inner city Detroit high schools to receive a verbal pep talk, a bitch slap, a verbal dunking in the water tank of life.  Rumors swirled that JZ, Beyoncé, Kanye West and Cam Newton might be at the event to speak to chosen students.  After twenty extra minutes of waiting, secret service agents walked in ahead of Donald Trump.  There he stood with his thinning helmet of hair, orange face, a squint like Clint Eastwood and famous scowl.

                “I love this damn town so much that I decided to stay an extra night.  I told your school superintendents that I want to speak to the future of Detroit.  I want to try and reach them in some way.  I don’t know that I can, but I’m going to try…  Now who here is rich?  Let me see a show of hands.”

                A few hands went up and some laughter.  This triggered the inner Trump in the Donald.  They were all about being Trumpled.

                “You might misunderstand me.  I don’t mean wealthy enough to buy a used Buick and put a sound system that would blow out your hearing faster than if you were blowing off mortars in a battle field without ear protection.  I don’t mean having enough money to buy dope and sell it in an neighborhood the way say an Arab party store owner sells you a forty ounce and some blunts and maybe a box of Pampers…  I don’t know exactly what your immediate needs could be.  I’m talking could any of you here walk out and let’s say, buy a house, buy up a block, buy up the downtown and turn into something you think is positive for this town…  I could.  I could move every piece of property that I own worldwide and fill up the city of Detroit with what I own…  That my pupils is what it means to be truly rich.  Anything else is wannabe…  I could move everything I own right here in Detroit but that would take too much time…  I have a better idea, how bout I just buy up this town and turn it around myself…  This country is a lot like Detroit- a once great nation that built things and sold things to the world.  Detroit used to sell the lion’s share and I do mean Detroit Lion’s share of cars to the entire world.  Was JFK killed in a Toyota?  No, kids…  It was a Lincoln Continental made right here in Detroit.  When I’m president, we are going to make so many GM, Fords and Chryslers here that it will make your head spin.  Cars will be made here in Detroit.  Flint will get Detroit water again…  You’ll see.  Now all of you can do something to change your lives, better your lives so that you don’t die prematurely.  Die dealing drugs, die at the hand of the police who I love and are really treated quite poorly by the press who are not allowed to cover this meeting here today…  Die from eating really bad food and getting really fat because you can’t afford good food because you’re too poor to buy good food that won’t make you suffer.  You should want to be responsible, prosperous people who don’t try to sue each other on Judge Judy or figure out whose baby is whose on Morrie Povich.  Everyone here would like to visit Jamaica one day for a vacation… maybe Hawaii, am I right?  Sure, sure… but if you’re sitting in the state pen in Taylor, you’re not going to see anything but some of the worst people in the world, going nowhere and doing nothing with a wasted life.  Who wants to get pinched one day by the cops who I love dearly and end up in jail?  Who wants to do time and wind up on all fours in front of some big lifer staring at a prison wall and wonder how did I get here and how can I get out.  Don’t get there…  Let me say it plainly…  Are there any evangelicals in the crowd who I love so much?  I love the Evangelicals but don’t want to offend them.  They’re easily offended by profanity but it is a dialect I know all of you understand all too well so let me sum this up fast because I don’t want to lose you…


                It got quiet.  Nobody clapped, nobody booed or murmured.  It was a strange moment for Donald.  He shrugged his shoulders, took a drink and went on.

                “People are gonna get offended in life.  That’s just how it is.  I can’t help that.  You make a comment about homosexuals, men who used to be women and women who used to be men, blacks, Hispanics, Asians, Eskimos…  I actually might lose Alaska because I called someone an Eskimo.  You wanna know what?  Unless you came on the Mayflower, you came as an immigrant.  It’s just that simple.  Some of your people were brought on slave ships, some crossed the border illegally but you’re here now and you’re American.  For those who don’t follow rules and order, you will be sent back.  We will have a country, we will have borders, and we will be great again…  Detroit will rise again.  I love Detroit.  I love Detroiters.  I might just come back and buy this town and put the best minds on the job of bringing jobs back and bring them back first to right here in Detroit.  People want to sneer at Detroit?  When I leave office, you won’t be able to afford to live in this town.  They’re will be a Starbucks on every corner, gluten-free, lesbian safe grocery stores, boutiques with stuff so damn expensive, you’ll think you’re in Paris.  You stand with me and I’ll stand with you.  You do the right thing and I will do the right thing for this city, for this country and we’ll be great again…”

                Donald raised his right arm up.  It was more like a papal wave than a Nazi salute.  A few students rose to their feet and clapped.  Then before long everyone stood and clapped.  Stunned teachers and administrators clapped and they didn’t even know why exactly.  Where they bullied into clapping?  Where they inspired to clap?  Nobody could quite put a finger on it and really, it didn’t matter.  Trump was off to another town to inspire others to vote for him just like a half dozen other presidential candidates were doing across the land and why exactly?  To have old music played every time you walk into a room?  To be treated like a king and hated like a king on the way to the guillotine, oblivious to the plight of the commoners.  The messages and words vary from candidate to candidate but it all comes out the same- Let them eat fluff.  Nothing of substance.

September 5, 2013

Das Capitalists

If you had your car towed in the city of Detroit, you made a tremendous mistake. Chances are your car is not worth the cost to spring it and then you might have to find the one of the most miserable parts of North America to claim your vehicle. Picture miles and miles of weeds growing through cracks in streets and sidewalks that used to be city streets. One of the biggest towing companies in the nation is housed in inner city Detroit. The owner had a morbid sense of humor. He named his towing yard The Happy Valley Sunday Yard for Wayward Vehicles and Singing Frog Sanctuary. It is quite wordy to be sure. A wrought iron fence fashioned to look like the entry way to Auschwitz says in German, “Geld macht frei” or in English, “money makes you free”.
Clement had a handlebar moustache, listened to opera music and was working on his PHD in philosophy. Clement inherited the pound from his dad who received it through death from his dad. Clement was going through a master’s program at Wayne State University when his father passed on. Clement immediately renamed the yard and fashioned the front gate to look like the entry way to Auschwitz. It was very dark but it amused him. A few old Jews recognized the gate. One old Jew just laughed.
It was a warm Wednesday night and Clement was thinking about capitalism and whether America was possibly on the wrong track. He thought about Karl Marx. Clement had the ability to remember verbatim anything he read or said.
“The commodity is the basic “cell-form” of a capitalist society, but capitalism is distinguished from other forms of production based on commodities in that here labor power becomes a commodity like any other. Moreover, because commerce, as a human activity, implied no morality beyond that required to buy and sell goods and services, the growth of the market system made discrete entities of the economic, the moral, and the legal spheres of human activity in society; hence, subjective moral value is separate from objective economic value… This motherfucker yelling on a cell phone.”
“If you want your goddamn vehicle, you will pay $198.00 to have it again. If not, it will be auctioned off to some other poor dope dealer. Is that clear enough English?”
“Fuck you, my friend… I hope god punishes you for what you doing.”
“I’m not a friend, my friend and god punished you for stupidity. Park your car in front of the casino looking like a terrorist who is out to exploit all the vices of America before catching a flight that will not land and god punishes you. That and Detroit’s finest capture your luscious ass on film. No bartering. I don’t need a goat, just greenbacks.”
Tristan und Isolde played loudly while Clemente looked unblinkingly at beat up Fords and Chevys. His busty and buxom secretary closed her eyes and listened to the music hoping that the animalistic tendencies of Clemente would take over and that he would bend her over his desk and be rough with her. The intro to Tristan und Isolde was not like the Flight of the Valkyries. Clemente could smell Veronica’s perfume but he was somewhere else. Veronica heard Tristan speaking but could not comprehend what he was saying.
“The economic crisis such as depression and recession that are rooted in the contradictory character of the economic value of the commodity (cell-unit) of a capitalist society, are the conditions that propitiate which has been collectively identified as a weapon, forged by the capitalists, whom the working class “turned against bourgeoisies itself… God damn it!”
A white kid with a cocked Detroit Tigers hat with a straight brim in red with a flashing gothic D, stood wearing a tank top or Dago T, baggy pants and a white pair of gym shoes. He was covered in cheap tattoos, one being a tear drop next to his right eye.
“Aye man, this is fucking bullshit, man… I had my fucking flashers on and was in the Coney Island picking my shit up for thirty fucking seconds. Y’all was waiting fo my ass to tow my shit away.”
Clement held up a finger, picked up a book with a phony cover that read, literate guide to conversing with illiterates.
“If your fucking ass had two ounces of sense, not to be confused with sensimilla, you would have taken ten extra seconds to park your shit in a legal spot for no money at all. Instead you felt you was so important that you didn’t think yo white ass was held to the same bullshit as every other motherfucker’s motherfucking ass, correct?”
“Fuck you, man… Just give me my motherfucking car.”
Paco pulled forward with the tow truck a 1973 Cadillac Eldorado, powder blue with 18 inch rims. The white male studied his vehicle for signs of abuse. He could find none. This young man lived in a house with his mom, his sister, his sister’s boyfriend, their child, his previous children with two other women and three dogs and a 1973 Cadillac Eldorado.
Veronica was turned on by Clemente’s indifference. She ripped open her blouse and plopped down upon Clemente’s lap, grabbed his face with her hands until his face looked like a sharpei dog. The music became soft again. Veronica spoke.
“You bet me that Miguel Cabrera would get 200 RBIs by the end of the season. We have less than a month to go til the end of the season and he is hurt and stuck at 135.”
Clemente smiled and took a sip of his tea. He shook his head and rubbed Veronica’s curvy hips.
“Yes… Even though I am not a Detroit Tigers fan or a fan of baseball, I bet you that he would get 200 RBIs based on his work for his team thus far.”
Veronica took Clemente’s index finger and put it in her mouth while he spoke.
“And when Miggy comes up short… Just remember that I get to put a mango in your ass and eat it down to the seed. 65 RBIs in a month would be a great accomplishment yet not possible. Just wanted to let you know where things stand.”
The music got loud and another car pulled up angrily. Clemente took a sip of his tea, smiled and winked at his assistant.
“Mango… Oh boy… Maybe I don’t understand baseball after all.”

October 23, 2012

The Final Debate or Lions, Tigers and Da Bears

            The Washington’s, no relations to Harold the former first black mayor of Chicago or George the first white president of the United States that they are aware of but then again you never know, were sitting in their living room after work, school and dinner.

            LincolnWashington, the patriarch got a job at Mc Donald’s as junior in high school.  Lincoln would take a Woodward Avenue bus from a rough section of Detroit and when you are talking about a rougher than average area of Detroit, it would be in the running with some of the most dangerous areas in the world.  Be that as it were, Lincoln found a job in the suburbs and started at $3.35 an hour in 1983 by 2012, Lincoln owned two franchises of his own.  Lincoln drove a Lincoln Navigator and his wife drove a Chrysler 300.  Lincoln set his wife Mi’chelle up with a day spa in downtown Detroit near the casinos, ball parks and Greektown.  One could get their nails done and the stress of American life kneed out of their backs while listening to Kenny G and a waterfall within a small cubical.  The Washington’s were ahead of the American curve and living the American dream.

            Lincoln and Mi’chelle had two children, Tonisha and Dwight.  Tonisha, the eldest, left Detroit and immigrated to South Africa.  She wanted to be part of the transformation in the new South Africa.  While going to school in Capetown, she met a handsome young man who surfed and was an heir to a winery.  So much for bonding with true black Africans and taking up their struggle.  Tonisha married a blond haired blue eyed Afrikaner who surfs for a living and does part time promotional work for his father’s winery.  Their mixed race children run around the beach.  The two boys like to play Rugby and surf and hunt with their grandfather Pieter way out in the bush.

            Dwight, who was named after a former American president, received a scholarship to the University of Chicago and bought a bean pie one day from a clean cut looking young man on StoneyIsland on Chicago’s south side, became his friend and eventually joined the nation of Islam.  Dwight returned to Detroit to try and transform poverty sticken areas and convert hopelessly poor people to the Nation of Islam.

 Tonisha was in bed asleep in Capetown when the final debate started. She fell asleep wondering how she was going to get her hair done, get Fredrich to his Cricket practice and Wilhelm to his Rugby match all at the same time.  The next president of the free world never entered her mind.  Meanwhile in Detroit, Michigan, her family sat glued to the television.

            “I got it right here what Romney actually said about the auto industry.  It’s on the internet for everyone to look up and find.  How can that man bold face lie about something that is in print for everyone to find for themselves?”  Said Lincoln.

            “I wish you’d hush… That man is your president.  Your president went out on a limb and saved this town from going outta business.  He believed in the auto industry and believed in Detroit and you still standing behind a white man who didn’t even believe you were a human being until 1978.” Said Mi’chelle.

            “It’s been 4000 years since white people came from Africa and Africans to go into the world and become the pasty white devils that they are.  Black people are duped and herded by the Jewish agenda.  Jews have us buying into believing that they carry the struggle of the black man with them.  How many poor blacks do you see? Now how many poor Jews do you know?”  Said Dwight.

            “Boy, hush up…  Sammy Davis Jr. was as black as he was Jewish.” Said Lincoln.

            “How can I respond to that sort of a comment?  Where is the logic, dad?  The Candy Man was a black Jew so we should all become Jews?”  Asked Dwight.

            “No, I’m asking you to hold your tongue so we can hear what the men have to say.  Ron Paul ain’t going to be the next president no matter how much you and Farrakhan want him in.  It’s going to be one or the other and you might as well get used to it.” Said Lincoln.

            The president and Mitt Romney went on to sell themselves on the American public on who would be a better man to serve the nation’s interests and needs.  Lincoln sat in his chair strategically in front of the television, Mi’chelle sat on the couch while Dwight leaned with arms folded against the wall of their 4,000 square foot home that was insulated by the fact that at 14 Mile Road and Telegraph Road, they were a great distance from the blight and hopelessness that the average Detroiter lives with day in and day out.  Quiet and desolate streets appearing to be a ghost town among abandoned homes or slabs of concrete where homes used to be where sparsely scattered homes inhabited by trapped people whose plight will not change whether the president is a Republican or Democrat.  At 14 miles from the center of downtown Detroit, there was low unemployment, well kept homes with manicured lawns, nice cars and children playing outside.  The difference between living and surviving could be found within fourteen miles.  The difference between the first world and the third world, the invisible and not invisible, haves and have-nots all within just 14 miles.

  The father, mother and son agreed to disagree.  The father wanted a man who was a good business man to run the country like a prosperous business.  The mother wanted to stay the course and follow a man who inherited a tremendous mess and believed he was doing well considering the hand he was dealt and then there was their son.  Their son was rebelling against his parents who embodied the true essence of the American dream; follow your dreams, work hard and you will prosper.  Like any bored and privileged suburban young man who is underemployed and still living at home, Dwight was raging against the status quo.  Idealism eventually gives way to reality with maturity or when bills need to be paid was what Lincoln quietly concluded to himself about his son.

 The debate ended and Lincoln turned the television on to the football game between The Detroit Lions and the Chicago Bears just in time to see the Lions fail to score.  At the one yard line with less than three feet from the end zone and six points, the Lions fumbled the football.  The family winced collectively and then they were quiet for a moment.  Things appeared to be returning to the way things had been in Detroit for a long time after a great football season the year before.

            “I think we can all agree on one thing…  The Lions are still the same old Lions.  Thank god for the Tigers.”

December 19, 2011

Occupy Detroit




It sounded silly at first as if someone was trying to be funny but it wasn’t a joke when a protestor by the name of Billy amassed people from all over North America and the world to occupy public space within the city of Detroit.

900,000 vacant lots within the city limits of Detroit and to occupy a blighted big city sounded almost charitable.  Bill was feeling anything but compassion for the city of Detroit and the United States in general.  Bill started off watching crowds of people on television in the Middle East fell leaders like Mubarak and Gaddafi.  It was en vogue to drop heads of state like at no time since the fall of the Soviet empire.  Billy joined people in occupying parks in places like Oakland and New York Cityonly to be returned home by Billy’s father’s deep pockets when it came time to bail him out.  Soon the idea came to Billy to amass as many dissatisfied, disenchanted, and downtrodden; serfs and petty bourgeoisie and set up camp around the General Motor’sRenaissance Center in the heart of downtown Detroit ironically enough called Hart Plaza.

            At first, Bill didn’t have many takers as most of his Detroit buddies who lived in metropolitan Detroit, knew that at night, late night, there were not a whole lot of people around downtown Detroit.  Sewer covers blew off steam like English tea kettles every few feet around desolate streets and sidewalks.  Every now and then you’d see a Chrysler 300 at a red light, waiting for no other cars to pass as the lights quietly turned from green to yellow and red.  Most police officers patrolled several blocks away in the more vibrant Greektown where middle class Detroiters could take a stay-cation at one of the casino hotels, eat at a fairly upscale restaurant and try to win their house out of foreclosure inside the casinos.  Those that stayed at the Hilton at the top of the GM Renaissance Center drove in by taxi or limousine and never had to venture out into the streets of Detroit.  The people the protesters were trying to harass were largely unreachable.  From up high, executives staying for a night or two could see the tents set up in the plaza.  Most thought it was some sort of Hooverville in a town with nearly 20% unemployment.

            The first Occupy Detroit gatherings were sort of pathetic as those who wanted to yell and scream at passersby took note of congregation of homeless men who actually danced to the sounds of a drummer who was leading a chant, “Bring out the 1%, bring out the 1%”.  The black homeless men wondered if somehow the population of white people had actually dropped to 1%.  The thought of white people being only 1% of the city of Detroit lead a few homeless people to wonder if they should pick up and move to other big cities where there was a larger pool of financially stable and generous white folk.  The native Detroiters felt sort of silly when nobody noticed them except a few Red Wing fans that cut through HartPlaza on their way to Joe Louis Arena to catch a game.  The hockey fans thought it was sort of dumb to camp outside in inner city Detroit but they politely ignored the small group.  Within a few days, the Detroit protestors packed up and went home without any fanfare.  No beatings, television crews, cops with night sticks or tear gas. Billy had to retool.  Billy read up on other charismatic leaders like Hitler, Jim Jones, Pol Pot, Fidel Castro and H. Ross Perot to see how it was that they were able to draw people to them.  Billy would never admit to reading Perot’s biography since he was in the top 1% of the top 1% but he read it nonetheless.

            Billy remembered Michael Moore’s movie called Roger and me and how Moore had hounded a GM executive named Roger Smith everywhere in order to get an explanation why it was that he closed GM plants in Flint, Michigan and so Billy wrote a letter to Moore in hopes that he might be willing to help a fellow antiestablishment native of Michigan. Mooreliked the idea quite a bit.  Michael Moore then used his larger base of fans and followers who hated the government, rich people and the mainstream in general and before long, Billy had close to a 1000 people who had descended upon Jefferson Avenue in front of the GM Renaissance Center in downtown Detroit. Moorehad chosen a rare time when there were throngs of sports fans out to see the Detroit Lions on a Sunday afternoon and the Detroit Red Wings in the evening. Moore told Billy to get the people together at about five in the evening and think of something that would bring traffic to a screeching halt.  Billy had a great idea.

            Hundreds of football fans on their way to see a hockey game and hockey fans that had just seen a football game, were stopped by a large group of mostly young white people who were throwing metal spoons onto Jefferson Avenue in front of the General Motors building.  Bill felt like Che Guevara and Fidel Castro rolled up into one big Hugo Chavez.  Bill climbed up a statue that symbolized the city of Detroit onWoodward Avenue and spoke through a megaphone.  A few news trucks were out in front of the melee and filmed the action.  Bill was in heaven.

            The crowd quit banging drums and throwing metal spoons onto Jeffersonwhile Bill stood with his ratty looking red dread locks that hung like dirty rope over a Jamaican flag hoodie as he shouted into the amplification device.

            “I’ve been to Seattle and New York and Oakland to help the people of those cities get people to understand that we are being taken for a ride by our government, by the fat cats who own 85% of everything worth owning.  Look at that giant symbol of what the government involved itself in…  General Motors.  General Motors made a shit product and made the people at the top wealthy while working people on assembly lines lost their jobs.  What happened?  Your government gave your tax dollars to save a company that should have never failed.  General Motors was once the largest manufacturer of automobiles in the world and they became in danger of going under.  How does that happen?  Your government bailed out companies that have fucked us all in the ass…  How many people are out of jobs?  How many people have been foreclosed on?  Who has swooped up and bought up all these homes that once belonged to working people?  The very banks that have caused this fucking mess.  You starve and they eat cake with silver spoons in their mouths.  Well if they are in search of a spoon tonight, my friends let them come down to the streets ofDetroitto find one.  Millions of spoons for millionaires.  When are you going to wake up people?  When are you going to get up out of your chair and go to the window and yell that you’re mad as hell and not going to take it anymore?”

            It was at that moment that a man by the name of Bob who owned a gun shop and riffle range in Northern Michigan, had decided that since the Lions were in danger of making the playoffs for the first time in years and that the Detroit Red Wings were in danger of making the playoffs for the 21st year in a row, that he would make the pilgrimage to the city of Detroit that epitomized everything that Bob disliked about America; Crime, racial tension, traffic, shopping malls, unemployment and rich white kids with nothing better to do than take up a liberal cause.  Bob decided to rip through Jefferson over the spoons in his large truck, sending protestors flying to the left and right of him.  A dozen or more people had leaned on a sign near the tunnel to Canada that read, Welcome to the United States of America.  The sign snapped off and flew into the windshield of Bob’s brand new GMC truck that had a hand painted sign on both sides and the back window that read, “Bob’s Emporium of armaments- The playground for those believe in the Bill of Rights.

            The windshield looked like a kaleidoscope after the heavy sign hit the windshield.  Bob exited the vehicle as his wife rolled down the passenger side window and calmly lit a cigarette and gazed at the mob that had filled the street.  Bob walked towards the sound of the voice and saw the slight figure yelling passionately into the megaphone.  Bill seemed like the ring leader of the band of misfits and so he pulled Billy down off of the symbol ofDetroitand gave him and ass beating like he had never had before.  The local news caught the whole the incident.  A large man in a Detroit Lions hat and a Red Wings Gordie Howe jersey beat the young man with the megaphone senseless.  Protestors through bottles and rocks at the Bob and before long, large groups of drunken football and hockey fans came to the rescue of Gordie Howe or at least a man wearing his jersey.  When the dust settled,Detroit had made the national and international news.  Possibly a million spoons littered Jefferson Avenue in front of the GM Renaissance Center and brought traffic to a stand still. Red Wing and Lions fans and protestors alike were taken into custody by the Detroit Police.  Billy was given his proverbial one call.  Billy called his father as he always did and expected to be bailed out without question once again.  Billy hated his father for being a rich and successful owner of a flatware company that had moved operations from the United States to China.  The spoons that were scattered all over the streets of Detroit came from a warehouse belonging to Billy’s father.  Billy, well known to everyone who worked for his father, loaded crate after crate of spoons into trucks from his father’s factory for the sole purpose of letting people know that the rich were born, living and dying with silver spoons in their mouths.  Billy’s father attitude had changed towards his son.  He was very firm and to the point with Billy who had cost him a lot of money by stealing his spoons.  Several millions.

            “I’m going to speak plainly to you, son.  The fake Rasta hair, no deodorant, Reggae listening, Haile Salassie is god bullshit was cute.  You thought you’d rebel against having life the easy way and I would just sit back and shrug my shoulders because I should have some sort of guilt for having money.  I have no guilt, son.  I don’t know a man alive who ever claimed to have enough money and today, you cost me a whole lot of money.  Your father is part of the 1% and you thought you might try to punish me at a tremendous expense by taking my spoons.  You’ve dubbed yourself the new voice for the poor and people of color, right?  A modern day Lenin waiting for the revolution to take hold in the streets of Detroit.  It isn’t coming, Billy. Well I want you to know that you are going to work to pay off your debt.  You want to ally yourself with the poor and ordinary man.  You’re going to be right there with them now.  Reading Marx and hating me while I put you through college and this is what I get… A big bill for all your pseudo communist bullshit.  Here’s the deal, son; you will learn what it is like to truly work for one solid year or I will see to it that you spend your time in jail for what you’ve done.  This is America, son.  A free country and one where you have choices and so I give you the choice, if I bail you out this time, you go to work for one year, no days off or you can say no and know that I will do all I can with my pull and connections to see that you do at least a year for your brash stupidity.  When some lifer is lining your ass up in the shower like a Penn State date, you’ll wish you had joined the proletariat…  The choice is yours to make.”

            In a factory in a remote part of China, where people wear medical masks over their faces at all times and are forced to breathe the air that has a strange tint to it when the light of day illuminates the sky, works Billy.  Behind him wearing a suit is a young black man, whose only job is to watch and live with Billy 24 hours a day for a year.  The day after Billy’s father bailed him out of jail; Billy’s father ordered a shake at a fast food restaurant and offered a job to a young man that was mopping a floor who was roughly the same age as Billy.  The young man went from making minimum wage to a half million dollars in a year and his only job was to make sure Billy worked every day, twelve hours a day, loading silverware into boxes to be shipped to the head quarters in Detroit,Michigan.  Hundreds of sullen Chinese stood in front of an assembly line, collecting spoons, knives and forks with one young white American.  Jefferson, who just the week before had to take two buses to make just over $200.00 a week, was dressed in nice clothes, had a chauffeur and a nice apartment that he shared with Billy.  Billy’s father sent Jefferson a text, thanking him for taking the $500,000.00 dollar job that came with a bonus of a new car and a condo if Billy could complete the year without fail. Jefferson replied to Billy’s father.


August 14, 2009

Preying on the Poor

Filed under: Auto Industry,Detroit,Uncategorized — blackhumouristpress @ 7:09 am
Tags: , , , ,
August 12 at 2:17am
Filmed in Detroit about late night local car sales on Television in Chicago. ch?v=lFs8t4S0cQo

August 10, 2009

Detroit Vacation

This one is not fiction. I left Chicago Friday at 11:00 am. My day actually began or ended depending on how you look at things, when I finished writing a blog entry/short story entitled, “Menage a Trois” at 12:30am Friday morning. I took a sleeping pill, watched highlights of baseball on ESPN and turned in at roughly 2:00am and rose bright eyed at 5:30. I grabbed my hockey equipment and headed to Johnny’s Ice House on Madison Avenue in the west loop of Chicago. Twenty two men rose before the rooster to get some exercise in at 6:30 in the morning. I finished playing, cleaned up and headed north on the 94 to where I live up in Evanston. It may be that everyone is on vacation in August or that everyone is losing their jobs. At 8:00am in downtown Chicago, I was able to take the expressway through the city without applying the breaks once during the twelve mile trip north of the city. I gathered up my clothes and musical equipment and readied myself for the five hour trip to Detroit.

Jason, the baritone saxophone player in the Chicago group I play in called Skapone, showed up in his Cadillac STS. He stood out in front of the house as the dogs howled. He smoked his cigarette and looked past the trees as if he was looking for something. Jason walked in with his Doc Marten Boots, black military pants and black long sleeve shirt. He wore round granny glasses a la John Lennon but with black lenses. Jason stands at five feet seven inches with brown hair on his head that goes where it wants to. Jason has a perpetual smirk on his face that tells one that he is not only sceptical but expects proof at all times that whoever he is talking to, should prove that they are worthy of being heard. We loaded our stuff into my 2006 Dodge Magnum and headed east (actually south in the City of Chicago) towards the Irving Park exit.

Standing on the curb five feet from the homeless guy wearing $100.00 gym shoes and a Cubs hat, was Chris. Chris is one of two guitarists in the band Skapone that is headquartered in Chicago. Chris was wearing a military issue pair of shorts that he bought for $10.00 at Sears. Nobody I know is still buying anything at Sears and in fact the largest icon in the United States once named the Sears Tower, is now named Willis. I have heard from people in and around Chicago that Willis is the name of a British company that owns a majority of the space within the building. I won’t ever call it Willis. I still call it Peking duck, Burma and the dictator Khadaffi. I’m just an old creature of Habit.

Chris jumped in and we were on our way. This trip would not have the same quaintness of Sal Paradise in On the Road by Jack Kerouac. I had a debit card full of money and five one hundred dollar bills in my pocket. There would be no picking up Ed Dunkle in New Orleans to make a stop in Denver and then onto to San Francisco. We were going to play music for the weekend in Detroit and then return to our lives in Chicago.

Jason’s job is to create circuit boards that go into the making of automobiles for General Motors. When he’s not playing music he is working for a company in suburban Chicago that is trying to find a way to make his job obsolete and put him out on the street. Problem is that they need him right now. Jason tells GM that there is a problem with this or that on conference calls with a committee of six or seven on the phone of people that cannot make a decision quickly or at all, in the city of Detroit. Jason has a soft spot for them and drives a Cadillac. Despite what you may hear, a Cadillac is still a Cadillac.

Chris is a door man at a small drinking establishment on the north side of Chicago. He is six feet two inches and resembles an Irish lad. Without hearing his Midwest accent, you could imagine an Irish brogue flowing like water from his lips. Chris is in the running for under achiever of the year and does not even care that he may win. He holds a masters degree in philosophy and checks identifications of young urban professionals who flock to the cutting edge club where there are no buckets of Bud, five dollar wings or Cub games on thirty televisions strapped the walls. Living hand to mouth is more favorable than being a cog in the wheel and so it is for Chris.

We meet our other band member who made the trip in Detroit. Lincoln is an African American or black as most people say when they don’t feel compelled to say something as wordy as African American. Lincoln drove himself separately from the south side of Chicago in his Subaru SWV from 1994 that he loves as much as one could love a non breathing object. Lincoln lives on the south side of Chicago and works as a bailiff during the day at a county courthouse on the south side. Lincoln sings at his Catholic church on the south side, visits strip clubs and lives alone in a condo. Lincoln’s parents both died within the last ten years and his sister married a man from Spain and moved to Seville. Band members of Skapone are his family even though he may not actually like any of us.

Lastly there is me. I can’t fairly and objectively, describe myself. Let’s just say I play bass guitar, sing and am the narrator of this thing. I not only play bass for Skapone but also for Superdot, a similar Ska/Reggae outfit that hales from Detroit. I was going to be the Detroit tour guide for my Chicago compadres for the weekend. I’m in Detroit at least once a month or more. I have to return in just two weeks for a wedding.

I chose to make our stay at the Motor City Casino in downtown Detroit, one mile from the Ambassador Bridge that leads to Canada. The neighborhood surrounding the Motor City Casino has beat up homes that are still occupied but mostly abandoned. The nicest buildings in the neighborhood are the ones that belong to the Teamsters. A banner one block from the casino reads, “Casino workers… Your credit union is right here”.

For me, the sites of factories covered with graffiti without a window left in the structure is no big deal. As we rolled up on Grand River towards the casino, there is very little between the Chrysler Freeway and the Las Vegas style casino that had a dancing light display on the sides of the building. It looked like a mirage in the desert across the blocks and blocks of vacant space that had crab grass and other weeds growing through the cracks of foundations that used to house homes. The boys were in awe. Jason commented first.

“People actually still live here… This is great. I feel safer in this desolate bombed out part of Detroit than back home in my own suburban neighborhood.”

There was nobody on the side streets where there were maybe a half dozen homes to a block and many wide open spaces. We gathered up our things and checked into the casino hotel. The first thing that strikes you is the smell of cigarettes everywhere. Smoking in public places, at restaurants, clubs and hospitals, is all still legal. Everyone but me smokes in Detroit or so it seems. Most people are black but a smattering is white. People are overweight to grossly obese. Lumbering black women with their daughters and their daughter’s children, spending a night at the casino in lieu of a formal vacation, wore sleeveless shirts and tight pants over their enormous posteriors and arms that looked liked thighs that jiggled whenever they moved. For me it’s sad to think that the fractured family spends its family vacation in town at a Disneyland set up for adults to drink and gamble. There is no pool for the children or any play area to speak of. The children stay in their hotel rooms and play video games and watch pay per view movies as they do at home. The only difference is the clean rooms with piped in cool air and a view of Detroit that makes the city look not that scary at night.

The whites at the casino are not unlike the blacks. They are segregated for the most part without problem or incident. They too are overweight and most like spending their vacations or weekend get away at the casino in town. They all queue up in line at the buffet stocked full of a variety of good and bad food alike called the Assembly Line. Four in the morning or four in the afternoon is no different, there are people, smoke, Motown music playing through speakers, cocktail waitresses and mostly working class people risking their earnings and savings at the casino; The mirage in inner city Detroit.

I proceeded to lose forty dollar before taking off for the northern suburb of Berkley which is north and west of downtown Detroit. In Berkley, homes were neat and orderly and there were no pawn shops, barber shops, MB Churches with hand painted signs on the building, staggering drunks, junkies and prostitutes. It is white and affluent and insulated from the inner city. The suburbs are insulated from Detroit but cannot exist without the city. People enter The Berkley Front and sit at the downstairs bar to watch the Tigers play the Minnesota Twins, drink beer and eat fried food. There was one waitress who looked as though she hated life. She never smiled, rolled her eyes over our need to see a menu before eating and wore a tank top t shirt without a bra. Her sagging boobs, frayed jeans and messy hair went well with her demeanour; she did not give fuck, welcome to Detroit, what do you need?

I played two sets in front of a fairly full establishment with the band Superdot and Skapone without event. We earned our duckets and headed back to the Motor City Casino after eating Taco Bell at three in the morning on a park bench, under a waxing moon. Crickets went well with a warm humid night where everyone seemed to be sleeping in the suburbs. When we returned to the casino, there was hardly a parking spot to be found. Heavy bass pumped from old Caprices with shiny rims, jacked up with tinted windows. People filed in and out of the casino at three in the morning. The night was electric. I went up and got into bed and flipped channels as I waited for sleep to come. On three hours of sleep, I played ice hockey, drove five hours, played two sets of music and lay in bed wide awake. Sleep came nearly 24 hours later with the help of a sleeping pill. That and Shark Week, helped me to finally slip down stream.

Saturday was a rainy dreary day. We filed into the car and headed south to suburban Taylor to find a Denny’s since the boys did not want to pay $18.00 a head to eat at the Assembly Line. I was tempted to pay for them for the luxury of not having to travel fifteen miles to find a Denny’s where I ate the exact same breakfast in Seattle, Washington just the weekend before. There was absolutely nothing different in the omelette, dry potatoes or grits. Two thousand miles between restaurants and it may as well have been the same place. I returned the hotel and used their state of the art exercise equipment to try and offset as best as possible all the calories I took in between drinking and eating since leaving home. I spent three hours at the health club between lifting and running. I got my money’s worth there. The boys were antsy and wanted to see something worth seeing in Detroit. The only thing that came to mind in inner city/downtown Detroit was Greek town, a two block area near the baseball and football stadiums, houses Greek restaurants, bars and shops. It’s a great place to people watch and just walk around and not feel too apprehensive. The boys loved Greek town. They loved the flaming cheese, shots of Ouzo and lamb with rice. We got back in the car and headed over to our second show of the weekend which would be an outside block party under a tent in Warren, Michigan.

I took 75 north to eight mile road. Marshall Mathers made eight mile road popular in his movie and rap tunes. Eight mile road is the northern border of Detroit and is eight miles north of a particular point where Woodward Road begins in the heart of downtown Detroit. I stopped for gas at a Sunoco and noticed a sign for a three bedroom brick ranch for sale for $17,500.00 cash. A fucking house could be purchased for less than a new car, a good new car. The party was off of Nine Mile. It was a party of mostly young people that would have rather heard rap than white reggae. Be that as it may, we played our sets and sat around and socialized for a while. Me being a student of human nature, I marvelled at the young women who showed up all dressed up as if going to a night club to just drink cheap beer and shots of Captain Morgan outside. When dance music blared on the sound system after we finished playing, young women under twenty took turns dancing seductively while holding one of the two poles that supported the tent. Young white men with cocked baseball hats and cheap tattoos, bobbed their hands and heads to the music while holding forty ounce beers or full bottles of hard alcohol. I got the feeling that the night was nothing more than a diversion from the mundane routine day to day life of an area that was not much more affluent than the depressed areas of inner city Detroit. It was a front yard with a tent and booze. It may as well have been a night club though.

We made a stop at liquor store on eight mile where you can pay all your bills too. There were no grocery stores around and so the liquor store that looked like an emporium was actually the catch all store for the neighborhood. An Arab man behind the bullet proof glass smiled as he accepted money through the lazy Susan, bullet proof spinner. There were five different magazines devoted to cars, weed and black women with extremely large asses on the counter next to colored condoms on a spinner rack. We were not approached or hassled or robbed. I went in apprehensive but nothing happened. Chris even pissed on the wall that separated the emporium from a vacant lot. A football field away were several young black men who noticed the parked Magnum and large white dude pissing on the wall. Yet nothing happened.

I returned to the casino and slipped a hundred dollar bill into a slot machine and proceeded to lose almost all of it when I hit it. I won $597.00 and cashed out. I then got greedy and lost $200.00 after that. I still came out ahead for a change. We woke, got our things together and headed out on the highway on a hot sunny day. The ramp that takes you from the 75 to the 94 going west has a large factory that is riddled with graffiti and sits without one window still in place. It is the same structure that was covered with a gigantic tarp several years back when the city of Detroit hosted the Super bowl. The tarp helped to keep the eyes of the rest of the nation off of the dismal reality of what Detroit has become and what it looks to be for years to come. The recovery may just skip over Detroit. It has not been a city most would consider inhabiting since before the first men walked on the moon, since Vietnam and since Robert F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. walked the earth. Jason posed an obvious question as we made our way towards Ann Arbor. It is a question that anyone who may live in New York, Los Angeles or Chicago may ask; what is the appeal for you in this city?

The answer is that there is nothing fake in Detroit. Everything in Detroit is really real. If it’s bad where you live it is probably worse in Detroit and yet the people for the most part are no worse for the wear. If I had $17,500.00 cash, I’d by a three bedroom brick ranch there and make it my summer palace. But that’s just how I am.

July 30, 2009

Midlife Chrysler

Filed under: Auto Industry,Chrysler Deathwatch,Short Story — blackhumouristpress @ 2:27 am
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Midlife Chrysler
Joe pulled into the lot of the beach front night club in Malibu, California at such a fast speed that the carhops jumped out of the way. Joe slammed on the breaks of his jet black Dodge Viper as the car screeched to a stop.

“You fucking kids… What you think, you fucking kids? I’m gonna hurt you? Eh? Take care my prize… I love that fucking car more than life.”
Joe’s name was actually Shlomo and Joe was Jewish not Italian. Joe never told anyone that he was Italian but it was implied. He walked in the club with a cigar in his mouth, wearing a burnt orange suit and shiny black shoes with his hair greased back. Joe was bird’s nest bald in the back but hid it well by combing his hair straight back. The bangs rarely get cut. Joe hugged the owner of the club an Italian man from New York who went by the name of Willy. Willy escorted Joe arm in arm to a table near the dance floor that had a VIP card on it and a velvet rope had a reserved sign in front of it. Joe pretended to talk on his cell20phone to a business associate as he panned around the room. A pretty raven haired girl with pouting hips, sat at the bar with a few other girls that were just days over the age of twenty one. Joe sent over a bottle of champaign to the girls as a few regulars stopped by his table to chat with him. Joe sent over another bottle to the girls and told the waiter to have them join him at his booth. The young women giggled at first but mustered up the bravery since there were four of them in all. Joe kissed all of their hands as they individually extended their hands. They got a good look at Joe’s expensive Cartier watch, gold bracelet and pinky ring. The girls all thought Joe was a gangster and he played it up to the hilt.
“So where you girls from?”
“We are all students from Spain,” said the stunningly beautiful raven haired young woman, in a heavy accent.
“Spain… I love Spain. Seville, Barcelona, Madrid… Love it there,” said Joe.
The other girls had difficulty speaking English the way the raven haired Marina could. Marina worked in a hotel in Spain where mostly British tourists would come for holiday. Joe was totally smitten with the angel faced young woman with a perfect body. Her silver dress contoured her body li ke a glove. It was nearly impossible for Joe to pull his eyes off of Marina. Joe sipped his scotch slowly as marina drank down the champaign at nearly a glass every fifteen minutes. Marina got bold and sent her friends home without her. Joe had no way of knowing since Marina commanded her friends in Spanish. Joe was hers and there was no disputing this. After four generous glasses of champaign, Marina sat close to Joe and listened to his every word intently.
“Tell me all about you, Joey… I want to know everything about such a handsome specimen of man,” said Marina, into Joe’s ear while brushing her lips gently against his earlobe.
“Well I was married once and now I’m happy… That was a little joke there,”
“So what do you do, Joey? You must be an important man.”
“I don’t like to discuss what I do so much, babe. I do what I do and I do it well and it makes me rich and that’s all you gotta know.”
Marina kissed Joe on the lips. Her soft lips and thin neck smelled of a light flowery perfume. Joe kissed Marina on the neck and posed a question he had posed nearly every time he found himself in a similar situation with a young impressionable woman.

“Do you believe in fate?”

“Fate? What is fate?”
“Do you believe that gawd meant for us to meet tonight? I tell you why… I was going to go home and go to bed. I stepped out on the balcony of my place and watched the moon shine on the waves and said to myself, there’s got to be something special waiting for me on such a beautiful night. I found myself coming here for a reason I did not know… I know now though. After seeing you, talking to you, I now know that gawd had a purpose for me tonight. It was to meet someone really special… This is like winning the lottery…”
“Tell me one thing Joey; Do you have good insurance?”
Marina was visiting on student visa and was attending Pepperdine University. Her goal was to find an American man who really wanted to be married. She then would get her citizenship and vanish to some other area of the country like possibly Miami.
Marina woke up to the sound of seagulls screaming over head and waves crashing on the beach. A note on the table from Joe. This is what it said:
Swee t Marina,
A lot was said last night and I meant all of what came out of my mouth. I look forward to getting to know you and sharing my life with you. I believe in fate and feel that you do too. You have my cell number now. Call me later. We can meet for dinner.
Love Joey
During the day, Joe was Shlomo and his job was to manage a shopping center in the San Fernando Valley that was owned by his wife who was a trust fund baby. Yerhuda inherited money and property from her father who bought land all over the country. Yerhuda’s job was to collect checks from companies that managed her properties in various cities. Shlomo’s job once a year was to visit all the holdings and give his wife a report. The rest of the time, Shlomo worked out with a personal trainer, played golf and tennis and ran around in his various sports cars.
Yerhuda was known as a Jewish ten; a five with money. Lots of money. Shlomo was able to convince Yerhuda that what he felt was true love. Yerhuda bought it and they went on to have five children over the course of eighteen years. All the children were stout, chubby and spoiled rotten. Shlomo hated to come home most days when the children were home. They yelled, cried, fought with one another and whined for things that they didn’t need but received anyway.
When Shlomo was not at the country club, he could be found sleeping in office inside the mall which was owned by his wife. Shlomo had a Murphy Bed installed in his office. A Murphy Bed is one that comes out of the wall and is disguised as a book shelf. Shlomo would usually be hung over from running around all night. Yerhuda took sleeping pills to sleep and rarely knew that Shlomo was out carousing.
“Honey, the agency sent over the new au pair,” said Yerhuda, while eating a bowl of blueberries in her jogging suit in their spotless kitchen.
“Well she seems nice enough… A student and all just like the others… Okay, Captain Bill will bring the yacht to the marina at three, don’t be late… Huh… I just had a thought. Sort of coincidence… Well whatever. Hurry home. Love you.”
Shlomo joe parked his Dodge Viper in the large circular driveway. His eldest son was playing basketball in their tennis court with a neighbor and never acknowledged his father’s presence. Joe opened the front door and set his keys down on the antique table just inside the foyer. Yerhuda was in the sunroom giving instructions to the au pair.
“Ariel cannot drink milk. He is lactose intolerant. Rebecca will not eat pasta with sauce. It has to be butter. Ziv can stay up until ten and then he must go to sleep. We’re just going to our place in Cabo for a few days but you can reach us on my husband’s cell phone anytime… Oh here he is now. Marina, this is my husband Shlomo.”
Shlomo was as stiff as a soldier and pushed his wife to get her things and leave forthwith. Yerhuda asked Shlomo what was wrong and why it was that he looked so pale. Shlomo blamed it on the lox from the deli in Santa Monica. Shlomo kept waiting for the young girl to do what young girls do; get angry and drop the dime. It never happened. Shlomo was intrigued as to what was going through Marina’s mind. After a half day passed, Shlomo sent Marina a text message.
“I don’t know what to say other than I’m sorry.”
Marina responded ten minutes later.
“Call it fate… Don’t worry, Joey. We’re going to work out the terms… It’s like a gift from god. Just like winning the lottery. Kiss her for me 🙂 ____ Marina”

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