Blackhumouristpress's Blog

October 28, 2016

The Emperor’s New Clothes or F#ck The Cubs

Gil and Gail packed up their deviled eggs and New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc that they bought while in New Zealand and headed over to their friends Tom and Tam. It was a beautiful fall night more like summer than fall with a full moon. The event was a baseball game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Chicago Cubs. Tom, a huge Cubs fan, set up a television outside in front of a fire pit and a trampoline off in the distance.
Gil was born and raised in Los Angeles and was a life long Dodgers fan stranded in the midwest. He walked past a teacher’s union lawn sign and three different lawn signs for Hillary Clinton and a giant blue W painted on a plain white background to signify a win for the Chicago Cubs on the way to Tom and Gail’s backyard. Gail and Tam really liked one another. They met at a Pilates class and became great friends. They watched the Kardashians together at different homes and texted about it at night. Their sons played youth hockey together and Gil was the hockey coach. Gil was quiet owner of an ice hockey pro shop who played hockey, sold hockey and played hockey four to five days a week. Gil and Tammy’s son was thin and good-looking, fast and capable at being a scoring threat at every game. Tom and Tam’s son had man boobs and hips wider than his shoulders. The bookish son of Tom and Tam was slow and had a weak shot. Gil took their son as a favor to his wife who really wanted a friend up in the stands to sit with at games. Tom was jealous that Gil was in good shape and was a good skater and coach. Tom couldn’t skate but was wealthy and had season tickets to all Cubs and Chicago Blackhawks games. Tom was a partner at a law firm and drove a Range Rover and a Corvette with personalized Cubs and Blackhawks Illinois license plates. One license said PWR PLAY 69 and the other said LUV CUB 69. Gil had no hair, was built and had a half missing tooth much like the hockey great Alex Ovechkin and a face full of scars from years of playing ice hockey without facial protection. Gil refused to wear a cage or a half shield while playing and looked like a rough neck. Tom wore black horned rimmed glasses and had looked like an LL Bean model in front of his $5000.00 built in backyard grill, 50 inch television exclusively for the backyard and excellent sound system. A band from the 1980’s called Haircut 100 blared through the speakers while the ball teams silently  took batting practice. Gil stood with a bowl of deviled eggs in a LA Dodgers hat and shirt. Tom wore a Cubs hat with a T-shirt that had a large W on it. He was cooking filet mignon, he offered Gil a beer. Gil declined as he was gluten-free. It irritated Gil when Tom would offer him a beer. Even though Gil had declined dozens of times, Tom would still offer a beer to Gil. Gil had Ceiliaks disease which prevented him from processing gluten properly.
“Tam remembered and purchased a gluten-free, lesbian safe beer for you from Trader Joe’s… You can be like every other man around this town watching this game tonight and start the night properly with a beer.”
Gil opened the beer, tapped it against the bottle Tom was holding and talked about their son’s hockey team. Gil was careful not to say too much and let Tom comment on the high and low points of the season.
“The goalie is brutal… It is truly a testament to your defense that we’ve been in every game. Do you put your best skaters on defense always?”
Gil took a drink of his beer and pondered the best answer to a question he didn’t care to answer truthfully. Gil felt that it was a good idea to be as cryptic as possible with parents when it came to playing time, position and lines. Gil played Tom and Tam’s son on the first line even though he was a slow, tentative, ineffective player. It was a political move to appease his wife who was considering her friend’s feelings.
“I try to find a balance…”
“That is a beautifully scripted answer, coach. People try to figure out where you’re coming from. They want to know if there is something deeper to your tactics. I think mystery comes off as deep but I think I have you figured out, coach…”
“Tommy… This is a night all about baseball. I’m ready to take the night off of hockey. A full moon, great fucking weather, good food, booze and the Dodgers poised to make a California boy proud…”
Beer turned to scotch and then to wine. Bottles and bottles. Blue cheese on choice steaks with gluten-free pasta. It was a night to remember. A clear, full moon and August like weather in October. The game turned ugly for Gil. The Dodgers tanked and were getting crushed by the Cubs. It was a debacle not unlike when Gil was young and the Dodgers would lose every year to the Yankees. It might have been a moment of hurt pride that caused Gil to change from a good-natured fan to a critical observer of the type of man he disdained- bragging, rich, unathletic, pudgy Chicago fan. The Dodgers were losing by a touch down when Tom lit a cigar and laughed at the score between innings. Gil told Gail that he wanted to leave. she was having a great time without having to watch her children and she did not want to cut the night short and return home yet. The game ended with a huge Cubs win. Tam put on a song that harkened back to Burt Bacharach buy a band called Cousteau. No relation to Jacques called, The Last Good Day of the Year.
There’s something there
Among the fallen fruit and flowers, won’t rest
Only minutes, only hours unless
Now the morning breaks in showers, I guess
We’ll remember this all of our lives
On the last good day of the year
Gil sat and looked at the full moon as a gentle breeze blew through the leaves in the trees that were ready to turn colors and fall. Tom was going on and on about the Cubs and then switched to politics. After a beer, a scotch and many glasses of wine, Gil was ready to speak freely, uninhibited or reserved. Tom was taken by surprise.
“Fuck you. Fuck the Cubs, fuck unions, fuck Hillary and fat kids who really don’t want to play ice hockey… Enjoy your win you fucking pompous asshole. I hope Hillary gets the same fucking treatment Nixon got for the minor shit he did compared to that cunt.”
Gil knew that his wife hated the word cunt and that most women had a thing against the word. Both Tam and Gail gasped and tried to get Gil to calm down. It only made him angrier.
“You want to let all the Mexicans in? All the Syrians? Every fucking moderate who makes their wife cover their whole fucking face like a goddamn Ninja? Fuck you and your W shirt and Hillary lawn sign… Your kid is going to wind up with heart disease by high school if you don’t discover the word no. No you can’t eat whatever you want and drink sugary bullshit. Your son has bitch tits… I know that might be harsh to hear but you can thank the Cubs and Hillary. Bitch fucking tits on a 10-year-old and why? Because you can’t say no to him? You wanna know why my kid is fast? Because he eats yogurt instead of gummy worms and fucking Doritos…”
” I think you’re angry Tom…”
“Yes, I am. When unathletic fucks like you gloat, I get mad. You don’t know dick about how to really win and it falls into your lap tonight and you’re like a fucking scientist about baseball. Yes… The fast capable kids play defense on my teams and really I believe your son would be happier with a hot dog and a drink up in the stands next to you than forechecking. You got season tickets and you want your little son of sam to play like Kane or Toews.”
Gail came up and hugged Gil and put her hand over his mouth. Gil pushed Gail away in a way that let her know that he was not done. Tom had enough drinks to stand up to Gil and he did.
“You’re mad that the Dodgers lost and that Trump is about to go down in flames. Too many people do not buy into the Hitleresque bullshit spewed by Trump. Mexicans are the paste that holds this country together. Who is going to do the shit they do for the money they make? Big strong, stupid, flag waving, tear-in-the-eye patriot who hates anything not white. You’re the big hockey coach but you weren’t quite good enough to make it so what do you do? You coach.”
Gil took a step towards Tom with the thought to give Tom a smack. Tom sneered and raised his chin as if to say, “smack me! I don’t give a shit.”
“You know something, fuckface? I won’t ever apologize for being white. I won’t ever apologize for not blindly trusting people who hate me. Vote for whoever you fucking want. Why do we all got to know who it is? Why not put up a lawn sign that says you need a little blue pill and porn to make it with your old lady? You know what? All I need is a little text telling me to get home fast and my dick hurts to be cramped up in my jeans knowing that it’s going between my old lady’s legs just as soon as possible. You like baseball analogies? I’m the fucking closer who doesn’t need a warm up pitch. Put me in cold and I’ll finish the game…”
The women left the two men alone who were about to come to blows. Tom was about to rebut Gil when the women put on a song from the 1980’s from their youth. It was a Sinead O’Connor song called The Emperor’s New Clothes. In the light of the moon, the two men watched their rather fit middle-aged wives sing and bounce on the trampoline naked slathered in coconut oil. The oil glistened off of their breasts. The men stopped fighting and looked on at their wives without saying a word. Tom poured a glass of wine for himself and Gil. The men stripped down to nothing and joined the ladies on the trampoline on probably the last good day of the year. The song played on repeat while they made love or something resembling love beside one another.
Everyone can see what’s going on
They laugh `cause they know they’re untouchable
Not because what I said was wrong
Whatever it may bring
I will live by my own policies
I will sleep with a clear conscience
I will sleep in peace
Maybe it sounds mean
But I really don’t think so
You asked for the truth and I told you
Through their own words
They will be exposed
They’ve got a severe case of
The emperor’s new clothes

October 14, 2011

The Senior Free Coffee Posse

Visit any Mc Donald’s restaurant anywhere in the United States between the hours of 6am and 10am and you are likely to find busy, fortunately employed Americans, queuing up in automobiles, seeking cheap sustenance while listening to the radio, applying make up, checking text messages and email.   Underemployed young people scurry around like worker ants for the queen, gathering up processed food from caged animals, pumped up with hormones whose raison d’être is to provide cheap fuel to mass amounts of humans who ignore and disregard warnings of the effects of eating shit.

For those with a little time to sit and eat at plastic tables on top of plastic trays rather than juggle the steering wheel, Blackberry or I-phone whilst taking bites of a sausage biscuit with cheese that drips grease which falls onto paper wrappers and dress pants.  Those people with the luxury of dining conventionally at a table, will no doubt happen upon gangs of retired men who escape the company of their retired wives to congregate with other men their age.  Younger men play softball, poker, sit in taverns or puff on cigars in backyards to discuss politics, sports, work and relationships.  Beyond 65 years of age, before visiting a gym to sit on a stationary bike or hobble on a tread mill, before grocery shopping with coupons and eating lunch at the local buffet with the senior discount, many elderly men congregate at the nearest Mc Donald’s for a small breakfast and free coffee.  This is what you are likely to hear.

 

Harry- I’m going to California to visit my daughter Julia in Los Angeles next month.

Her husband is such a phony son-of-a-bitch.  He thinks I’m stupid because I’m             a little on the hard of hearing side.

 

Joe-            They say a girl finds a man like her dad but I say bullshit that.

 

Oliver- Most of men today are goddamn pussies really when you get down to it.

 

Harry- Amen to that…  So anyway Julia’s husband whom I call Gilligan because he’s

like that twerp from that old TV show.  He lets my grandson who is fifteen now run around in girl’s tight jeans.  The kid mopes like he’s neglected and carries a goddamn skateboard around with him everywhere.  The hair in the eyes and so on.  You can’t spank kids no more and they run the fucking show.  My son-in-law tries to reason with a kid that is telling him to go fuck himself.  So I step in and tell the kid that I fucked meaner looking men in jail and if he ever gets the idea to talk to me the way he does to his parents, he’ll need more than an orthodontist.  My daughter got all upset and her husband tells me he doesn’t talk that way to his children…  I turn to my grandson and apologize.  I sez to him, you know you’re right.  Your father should go fuck himself.

 

Oliver- California is the reason that this country we will have this Muslim

motherfucker doing nothing for another four years.  Yes we can do what?  What the fuck has he done?  Sadly enough, what is the next guy gonna do?  The Mormon?  They all fucked things up together and now none of them can step outside themselves and just get shit done.

 

Joe-             Did you call him a Muslim because you cain’t call him a nigger in front of me?

Is that what you wanna call him, Ollie?  A nigger?

 

Oliver- You know I will call a spade a spade.  I’ve called you a spade, and Javier

making the hash browns a spic and Harry the Heeb and I ain’t gonna change now.  If you’re a fag, don’t be mad if I call you a fag.  You wanna be African-American?  Go back to fucking Africa.  You ever been to Africa?  Fuck no you haven’t.  Harry here is a Jew.  You think he’s been to Israel?

 

Harry- I was in Israel after the war.

 

Oliver- Okay then.  Fuck all of you.  Why don’t you join them smelly kids in the park

complaining about people with money.  The communists lost.  It’s survival of the fittest just like Darwin said.  You’re smart?  You go to school?  Go get a good job.  It’s easier to cry and sit in the park.  Harry, why don’t you go put on your grandson’s bitch jeans and wheel this African-American over to the next, “Yes We Can” rally.  For fuck’s sake…  I voted for the son-of-a-bitch too.  I don’t give a shit what color you are, if you got a cock or a cunt.  You fuck up, hit the fucking road.

 

Joe-            Okay, Archie Bunker…  We heard your sermon.

 

Harry- Did you see the ass on that new woman they got here?  She don’t look

Mexican.

 

Oliver- She’s Puerto Rican.  Those Ricans got asses on them like black broads.  You

Can tell.

 

Joe-             You know something about African-American women, do ya?

 

Harry- It’s a proven fact that if you want a real good piece of ass, you don’t wanna

choose a Jewish girl.  Foreplay for a Jewish broad is two weeks of begging.

 

Oliver- Look at this…  You remember Bill who moved to Florida to be with his kid?

He’s right here in the obituaries.  Looks like the memorial will be here.  Bill

was a good guy.  Had that annoying habit of sucking up his fucking snots while I was trying to eat, but otherwise he was a stand up guy.

 

Joe-             We’re at that age now when you check the obituaries before the horoscope.

 

Harry-            Let’s talk about something else.  How bout them Tigers, huh?

 

Joe-            Nobody gives a damn bout baseball no more.

Harry-            That’s not true.  Look at attendance at games all over the country.

 

Oliver-            I still love a good game.  I think football has taken over by far but I still like a

A good game.  Kids today sit indoors watching television, playing video games.  You see a thin kid these days; he’s a freak of nature.  I’m so sick of seeing young boys with tits big enough to wear bras.  What the fuck happened?  You got half the country diabetic today.  Kids play sports on computers when they aren’t jacking off to porn.

 

Joe-             Oh so you’re against porn?  You becoming a Muslim too?

 

Oliver- I’m against men with tits.  You wanna play sports, give your thumbs a rest

and go to a park.  When we were kids, our parents lived through the depression.  We were told we had it good.  I don’t know how much softer things can get.

 

Harry- You have to admit that porn is outstanding today.  You don’t gotta sneak into

Into peep shows anymore and play with yourself in a seedy theater.  Technology is wonderful.

 

 

Oliver receives a phone call from his niece in New Jersey that his last remaining sibling is being put into a nursing home.  The dementia was becoming too difficult for his niece to handle with a family and a job.  Oliver hung up and said nothing for a minute as he thought about growing up with his older sister who was born prior to World War II.  She had always been so sharp and witty.  The idea that she had become childlike due to Alzheimer’s was hard for Oliver to swallow.  Oliver wondered when his expiration date was.  He wondered what it would be that would eventually do him in.  He was sad enough to cry but didn’t.  Joe and Harry saw that Oliver looked upset, quiet and distant.  Joe gave Oliver his moment to process the news he just received without asking what had happened.  Harry could not resist.  Oliver took a sip of his free coffee, raised his eyebrows before speaking philosophically.

 

“Boys…  We are the future dead and that’s for sure.  It’s a beautiful day today.  I think I’ll drag the old lady out for a stroll.  Dust her off and take her for a spin…  I’ll see you in the morning.  If I don’t get here by six, one of you grab our table.  The damn Koreans know we sit here but will take it if we’re not prompt…  See ya, boys.”

September 12, 2011

Harry the Angry Clown or The Cubs Suck

Every city in the United States has that local figure that is known by most of the inhabitants who are native to that city.  Harry the Angry Clown, is well known in Chicago for snapping one day the way a suicidal gun man does at a shopping mall.  Harry never hurt anyone and never really wanted to.  He was and always will be a clown and clowns really love to make people happy when happiness is hard to find.

            Harry was a smallish Jewish boy who grew up in an area of the south side of Chicago that was Italian, Irish or Black.  Harry’s father joked that having to dodge the micks, dagos and schwartas, would either make him fast or tough.  For all of Harry’s disdain of the south side and ethnic groups, Harry never left his home.  Harry stayed and took care of his parents and when they passed on, he remained in the home he always lived in.

            Harry’s parents had wished that Harry would have become an attorney or a doctor or even a slick car salesman.  The choice to become a full time clown did not sit well with either of his parents.  Harry’s father would generally say the same things over and over to him about the logistics of not having a conventional vocation.

            “Whaddya gonna do if you get sick?  You want the government should take care of you?  The goddamn government is broke and corrupt.  They’ll find a goddamn loophole to leave you out in the cold.  You wanna sit at Cook County with all the schwartzas?  Huh?  You smoke and don’t exercise.  You eat nothing but fatty food.  You’re gonna wind up a heart attack patient by the time you’re thirty years old.”

            At the age of forty, Harry did wind up with a scare that left him waiting in the lobby of the country hospital for hours just as his father had prophesized.  After real heart attacks, strokes, stabbings, shootings and overdoses, Harry would be seen by a physician.  Harry didn’t much mind the wait because his favorite baseball team, The Chicago Cubs, was just beginning a road game on the west coast against San Diego.

            Most intelligent people who analyze why it is that grown men live for and follow sports as if the sport had some sort of true direction on their lives, will tell you that these men are borderline delusional and lacking fundamental depth to their own lives.  Following the statistics of individual players, spending larges sums of money on tickets to games, alcohol and food, when truly viewed properly appears to be a waste and a terrific diversion from reality.  Those that run over small children in attempts to retrieve foul balls or home runs are usually cut of the same cloth as those who call sports radio and refer to their teams as if they were truly part of the team. “We just didn’t have it tonight…” These same individuals stand in line to have transitory athletes sign all sorts of things for them so that one day someone will enter their homes and ask who it was that signed that T shirt, that bat, that photograph?  That moment will bring depth and meaning to their lives.  Hopefully.

            Harry was one of those men who in their mid forties, had followed the Chicago Cubs so closely that he could actually be put on a panel and quizzed game show style on obscure statistics and players who nobody remembered or cared about.  Sitting in the hospital lobby really didn’t bother Harry.  There he was in a red and yellow outfit with a red bulbous nose and white and black make up on his face.  He held his chest as he slouched in his chair glued to the small television screen which was strapped to the ceiling.  Other occupants either lived in the lobby because they were homeless or were poor people without insurance.  Just about every seat in the lobby was taken but Harry felt fortunate to have a seat in front of the television.  A burly and surly security guard sauntered through the lobby to make sure nothing too strange was happening.  Harry stopped the guard and asked/demanded that he turn up the volume enough so that he could hear the commentators babble.  The security guard refused to do it.  Harry approached a young black child that was sitting in the lobby with his mother and his brothers and sisters.  His youngest sister had swallowed a bell from a toy.  The mom packed up her five children and took two buses to get to the hospital.  Harry eyed the young boy who was about ten years of age.  He thought the boy was strong and agile enough to reach up and turn up the volume manually to the television if he were to climb up and stand on Harry’s shoulders.

            “Hey son!  How would you like to make five dollars right here?  No funny stuff even though I’m a clown.  Five dollars and a candy bar.  And I will give your brothers and sisters each a candy bar too.  Doesn’t that sound swell?  Whaddya say?”

            The young wiry boy climbed up Harry in his clown suit as if he were a tree.  He reached up and turned up the volume.  The security guard was behind a podium talking to another security guard and never noticed the event taking place.  The young boy scared the death out his mother and awed those sitting around watching when he did a backwards flip off of Harry’s shoulders and landed on his feet.  The boy got a lot of claps.  The clown got to watch the Cubs game with the benefit of audio.

            The game ended and then the post game ended and then reruns of Friends ended.  The late news came on and then infomercials for bras and a waist band that hid fat.  Then the Cubs game aired again about 2am in the morning.  Harry was still waiting.  The young boy who did the flip was asleep, leaning against a younger brother.  Harry watched the game for the second time.  The Cubs had a commanding 10-0 lead.  Zambrano had enough runs to hold him through three games and yet the Padres whittled away at the lead until the Padres were up 16-10 in the ninth inning.  The Cubs would have had to score a touch down and kick and extra point to win the game at that point.  Seeing the game a second time put Harry over the edge.

            It is hard to say what it is that makes marginally sane people throw down their cards and opt out of the game.  For Harry it was a culmination of several events that day.  His wife and secretary had sent Harry to 7200 South Central when the party was at 7200 North Central, which was about twenty miles away.  Harry missed the party and was being yelled at by the parent who said they had nothing else planned for twenty screaming and crying five year olds who were bored watching movies they had all seen many times.  While Harry was listening to the berating, a Chicago Police officer noticed the clown talking on his cell phone while driving.  Within the city limits of Chicago, it is unlawful to speak on a handheld device.  Harry was ticketed for the use of a hand held cell phone, no seat belt, expired license plates, expired license card and a broken mirror.  The cost to Harry was going to be hundreds of dollars.  Harry called his wife and began swearing at her about not paying attention to north and south.  His wife had no sense of direction and since she lived on the south side, she assumed the call came from the south side and never asked the client if the house they lived in was north or south of downtown Chicago.  Everything just seemed to fall apart at once for Harry.  He felt a tightening in his chest and decided that he needed to get to a hospital at once.  Upon trying to get admitted to the nearest hospital, he was directed to the county hospital that had to take people with no insurance benefits.  Fourteen hours later, Harry felt no more tightening in his chest.  He was just incensed that he was still waiting and that he had to endure one of the most miserable Cub losses twice in a day.  Harry walked out of the hospital and went directly to a bar on the north side that closed at four in the morning and then opened up again two hours later at six.  The Cubs were scheduled to play the Pittsburg Pirates later that day as a make up for a rained out game earlier in the season.  Both Pittsburg and the Cubs would have rather told the league that they both were happy to forfeit the meaningless game but the league wouldn’t let them do that.  Instead the Cubs had to catch a red eye back to Chicago and be at Wrigley Field by 11am.  It was a tough day for millionaires but they worked it out.

            Harry drank beer and ate nuts and said nothing to the other patrons that were getting off of a third shift and wanted a beer or two before going to sleep.  At about 11:30, Harry paid to get into Wrigley Field and was one of the first fans to enter the park.  It will forever be known as the game that never happened.  No rain or snow or other acts of God stopped the game from happening.  The game was cancelled due to a hostage situation where by the entire Cubs team was being held at gun point by a man in a clown outfit in their clubhouse.  Harry yelled into the faces of players as he made them kneel on the ground with their heads down as if they were praying.  Nobody noticed at first that the gun was one of those guns that shoot a daisy out.  One of the players who was an avid hunter in the off season realized that the gun was a fake.  Several players rushed Harry and held him until the authorities arrived.

            Harry wrote a book about his devotion to the Cubs and how he came to snap one day.  This was after receiving psychiatric help and paying his debt to society in jail. Upon being released from prison, Harry did talk show after talk show and even had a cameo on Larry David’s Curb Your Enthusiasm upon becoming a free man.  The Chicago White Sox gave Harry a life time season ticket four rows up behind home plate in full view for the viewers at home, watching the games on television.  The caveat was that Harry had to attend all home games in full clown gear with an oversized White Sox hat and T shirt.  The White Sox were nearly as frustrating as the Cubs but at least they ended each season with a winning record and a tease of post season play.  Harry became less enthralled with baseball and spectator sports in general.  When asked about professional baseball by a sports reporter in Chicago and the allure they hold with the common man, Harry had only one comment while smoking a cigarette outside US Cellular Field.

            “It’s all pretty much a clown show… Right?”

April 7, 2011

Baseball is not a Sport or Vishnu at the Plate

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            Vishnu Patel was able to anonymously come to the United States without having to wear a scarlet letter or fear for his life so much.  In India, Vishnu Patel was simply known as Vishnu since Patel is about as common a name as Jones is in the ghetto.

            Vishnu was a Cricket playing prodigy who was a fast bowler.  Bowling is much akin to pitching a baseball and has nothing to do with the sport of bowling even though Vishnu came to love that over time upon moving to the United States.

            Vishnu was a rich young man in India.  He could bowl fast and spin the ball so that when it hit the ground, it would bounce like a superball.  Vishnu was sponsored by all sorts of companies that wanted his name on cricket bats.  He was in songs and in movies and drove sports cars and had a big home.  At bat, Vishnu easily scored and had several centuries meaning that while at bat, he scored over 100 points all by himself.  Vishnu was the Michael Jordan, Wayne Gretsky, Brett Favre and Babe Ruth rolled into one.  Like the Hindu god of the same name, Vishnu seemed to walk on water but like all mortals he had something about him that tarnished him in the eyes of Indians; homosexuality.

            Vishnu had kept his secret under close wraps in India.  He was always seen in public with a pretty girl.  It was during a test match in Australia that he was photographed dancing and kissing another man in a gay night club.  Vishnu had crushed his supporters upon the revelation that he was in fact homosexual.  There were death threats and Vishnu’s kept man and he fled the country in 2008.

            Endorsements dried up and Vishnu fled for the United States for fear that he would be killed or jailed.  There was a fear among Indian parents that perhaps their sons might deem homosexuality as something that would be, “not so bad” because the great Vishnu fancied lads. 

            Vishnu took whatever money he had left and bought a Tim Horton’s franchise right outside of Cleveland, Ohio.  Tim Horton’s was quickly becoming the biggest Canadian export after beer.  Vishnu was satisfied being just another Indian in America.  People mistook him for a cab driver and a computer technician but nobody recognized him as a former great cricket player except one sports columnist who wrote for the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

 Tim Jones, who never lived in the ghetto by the way, relished being a thorn in the side of the Cleveland Indians.  It was Tim Jones who recognized the former star who single handedly decimated the West Indies Cricket Club in Barbados.  Jones was on had to witness Vishnu’s feat.  Vishnu had five wickets as a bowler and batted over a century to defeat the West Indies more or less, by himself.  Tim Jones went after the Cleveland Indian’s front office in his column.  Here is what he had to say:

“Chief Wahoo should have a tear in his eye just like the crying Indian from the early 1970’s commercial who was saddened and dismayed by what had become of his land.  What has become of Chief Wahoo’s Indians?  If the Cavs and Browns don’t make you cry, maybe this year’s Indians will.  A mere 9,000 fans managed to make it out to see their team win 7-1 against the Chicago White Sox.  David Hasslehoff might draw more than that if he were to perform at Progressive Field.  If you didn’t hear it already, the Indians turned their first triple play since 2008 on Sunday.  It is nothing like the front office’s triple play of getting rid of their three best players and expecting a dwindling population to step up and pay to see a shell of what once was a proud franchise.  Proud like an Indian.  Speaking of Indians, most of you would never know this but one of the best players to have ever played the sport of cricket owns Tim Horton franchises right here in the state of Ohio, right in the city of Cleveland.  I’d be willing to bet my wigwam and teepee that The Great Vishnu could save the franchise single handedly.  Picture any of our current has-beens or never-will-bees pitching like Cliff Lee and batting like a healthy Grady Sizemore.  I throw out the challenge to Mr. Patel and Mr. Acta.  Do something different.  Bring back the crowds. Let an Indian, a real Indian save the Indians from oblivion.  Wipe that tear from Chief Wahoo’s cheek and restore that stupid smile once again.”

Everyone who read Mr. Jones’ column knew that he was brutal on sports teams in Cleveland and knew that the Cleveland Indians held the most promise of success in the city of Cleveland before losing several players who may one day end up in the baseball hall of fame.  Tim Jones caught up with Vishnu and was surprised what he had to say about the sport of baseball.  Vishnu had laid down the gauntlet.

“Meester Tim…  I dawn vant to put dawn dee national pastime of a nation but ven I pass by parks and I see over-vait, middle aged men hitting a beach ball, under hand at a speed dat ees barely able to support it in dee air, I liken eet to a hunter tracking a cow.  How caan you meese shooting a grazing cow who looks at you stupidly vile lining up her head weeth a scope?  Now hitting a baseball might be a tad more difficult but eet ees naught cricket.  Cricket ees a sport.  Baseball ees a hobby.”

Native Clevelanders or rather white people and blacks who were once owned by whites, who have resided on indigenous people’s land that were mistaken by Christopher Columbus for Indians, were indignant by the brazen comments of Vishnu.  It was one thing for Americans residing in Cleveland to attack their own team and their own beloved sport; it was another thing to have a gay foreigner verbally bitch slap baseball.  Vishnu had no choice but to face those who loved baseball and the Indians.

Vishnu studied tapes of baseball for a few days and even watched some games on ESPN before contacting Tim Jones to set up a meeting between him and the Cleveland Indians.  If you can imagine this, Progressive Field sold out every seat in the stadium to watch the exhibition between a former cricket great and professional baseball players.  The Cleveland Indian front office loved the publicity.

Vishnu emerged from a tunnel wearing a collared shirt that had the letters, INDIA across the front with his name on the back with the number 13.  Vishnu swung his arm in a circle a few times before facing the first batter.  Manny Acta sent up a pitcher to face Vishnu.  Vishnu came running up from second base, hit the mound and threw the ball in a windmill fashion, delivering a pitch that did not bounce. A 160 km/h fastball or damn near 100 miles an hour pitch for a strike.  The speed gun registered 101 mph.  The pitch twisted in the air and dropped like it fell off a cliff.  Vishnu struck out two pitchers, then two batters that would be lucky to pinch run and then some real big fish.  The guys that might make more than entire population of the average worker in the city of Cleveland combined.  One of the bonus babies got a few foul tips before being felled.  It was then Vishnu’s turn to come to the plate.  Vishnu stood on the plate as though he was protecting a wicket.  He wore what looked like a jockey’s helmet with a protective grill with gloves and leg guards that one might find on a goalie in ice hockey.  Vishnu whacked everything that came his way whether it was a strike or a ball.  The last pitch was an 85 mile an hour fastball.  Vishnu took two steps towards the pitch and knocked it into the right field stands where a group of Indian expatriates were banging drums, waving an Indian flag with painted faces.  Vishnu carried his bat with him as he would have in cricket as he rounded the bases.  Backwards.

It would be fair to surmise that baseball fans, The Cleveland Indians and Americans in general felt badly about the publicity stunt and that would be correct.  Upon signing Vishnu to a multi-year contract as a relief pitcher and designated hitter, the Indians suddenly began to win and fans returned to Progressive Field.  After a while nobody seemed to notice or care that their star player was not only not American or a baseball player, that he was gay too.  As Americans often like to say to one another: Only in America.

February 1, 2010

Chicago’s Finest: To Serve and Protect

 

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

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

 apartment on Addison and drove home.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

January 10, 2010

Tourette’s meets TSA

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Lester Vandermere was born and raised in Warren, Michigan. Lester’s parents dropped Lester off with his mother’s parents as a toddler before they took off to concentrate on other things that interested them more about life such as drugs and stealing to buy drugs and so on. Luckily for Lester, he had grandparents that really loved him and treated Lester as their own.
At a young age, they began to notice some quirky things about Lester that they had not noticed with their own children or anyone else’s for that matter. Lester had the ability to mimic voices of just about anyone he heard around him and if it was particularly unique, Lester imitated the voice until some other voice caught his fancy. Lester too spent his time straightening things in his room to the point of exhaustion. Poor Lester would eventually just pass out as a young boy and it was rarely on his bed but on the floor while he was in the middle of correcting something he had already corrected such as color coordinating clothes or hanging them by size or alphabetically arranging baseball cards.
Baseball for as slow as it should be for a child diagnosed with Obsessive-Compulsive disorder, ADHD and Tourette Syndrome, Baseball should have been like watching grass grow but it wasn’t that way with Lester. It was one of the few times he could sit in a chair without involuntary vocal outbursts, twitching or blinking. Lester’s grandfather took Lester to see the Detroit Tigers a lot and then got the idea to buy over 100 rubber coated league baseballs and paint a target in the backyard.
“All you gotta do is aim for this target and throw that ball as hard as you can… Now granddad wants you to occasionally hold the ball across the seams like so and then turn your hand like this when releasing the ball. Once you’ve thrown all these call me,” said Lester’s grandfather.
This began at about age eight and continued everyday irregardless of weather or season. Lester threw baseballs at a target on a fence everyday for hours and never grew tired of it. At age ten, Lester’s grandfather signed him up for little league baseball in Warren. The first day Lester ever got to pitch, he had the first perfect game ever recorded by a first time pitcher in his first game in the state of Michigan. Lester made the front page of the Detroit Free Press. Over time Lester continued to improve and never grew tired of throwing baseballs at a target. By Lester’s sophomore year of high school, colleges all over the country were offering him full scholarships. More than one Major League Baseball club sent a representative to watch Lester pitch for his high school. Lester could pitch a curve ball that looked like it dropped off a table just before arriving at home plate, faster than most men could throw a fastball. Lester’s fastball was unbelievably fast for a fifteen year old boy. Between pitches, Lester would have to pick up the rosin bag and bounce it twice on the back of his left hand and twice on the palm before yelling out profanity, wooing and heavy blinking. He was more amusing than Mark Fydrich ever was for the Detroit Tigers.
“Three pitches, fat ass! Three pitches… You get three fucking pitches, fat boy…”
Strike one. A belt high fastball that hovered around 95 miles per hour. The batter attempted to swing and was frozen.
“That’s one, bitch boy… Two more… Two more, you fat fuck…”
Strike two. Slightly lower than the first but above the knees right down the center of the plate at about 96 miles per hour. The catcher wore a padded batter’s glove inside his catcher’s mitt. The second pitch cracked as it hit the webbing of the catcher’s mitt.
“Just standing there with his thumb in his ass… Ha, ha, Lovie… Gilligan m’boy… Mere child’s play… Drown them all like puppies… Jimbo, let’s discuss all the options, son… Out of the way! Road hog!”
Lester loved imitating the voice of Jim Backus who was the voice of Mr. Magoo, the millionaire on Gilligan’s Island and the father of James Dean in Rebel without a Cause. Lester strung quotes from all three as he bounced the rosin bag on his left hand prior to throwing a curve ball that dropped about 18 inches at 88 miles per hour. The stands were packed and everyone stood and clapped with every strike out. The ovations were just white noise in the head of a talented young man whose mind was locked on Jim Backus at the moment. Television will do that to children, you know.
“Oh Magoo, you’ve done it again… Marvelous Gilligan, m’boy. Go get Ginger and tell her I’d like to drive her like a five iron… Pull a little to the left but play through it, Gilligan… Drive it right through the rough patches, m’boy…”
Some days Lester might take on the voice of Foghorn Leghorn, Jack Nicholson, George W. Bush, Marlon Brando. He might imitate the laugh of Charles Nelson Reilly or the faces of Robert de Niro. Lester’s grandparents were used to it and paid little attention. What did not go unnoticed were Lester’s grandfather’s racist comments. In school all the kids laughed at the unique voices and racist words that spouted from Lester’s mouth as his mind committed things to memory and replayed them often and randomly.
“Smithers! What is with all of these fat children?” As the voice of Mr. Burns from the Simpson.
“Now folks, we’re fixing to round up all the wet backs, chinks, pork chops, niggers, sand niggers, swami’s, snake charmers and the whole lot of them and send them to ah… send them to ah… California! That’s right. Send them to live with Arnold…”
And just like that he went from sounding like George W. Bush to Arnold Swartznegger.
“Commin-zee to Camp Cal-if-forn-ia… Veel help you to concentrate… In our camp…. Hee aye aye aye…. Ya… Dat vas a gut fun…”
One teacher learned that if she gave Lester a whole pack of gum to chew, it cut down on outbursts and tics. The rest just had to tune it out the best they could. The fact of the matter is that if you have a talent like savant, people tend to be very forgiving and most understood that for as unusual as it was for Lester to have not only Tourette’s but to also be Obsessive-Compulsive and have ADHD, he also had the ability to imitate voices and gestures and pitch a baseball unlike any young man his age. Lester barring any unforeseen problems was going to become a rich and famous young man soon. Everyone respected this.
Lester’s grandmother gave Lester the news, the night before leaving, that they would be going to southern California to visit several colleges that offered scholarships. Lester’s grandmother knew better than to tell him earlier. If she had told him a week in advance, he would have been packed and waiting at the door without sleep for that entire week. The night before leaving for Los Angeles, Lester’s grandmother packed a suitcase full of Lester’s clothes. Lester was obviously upset that the order of his things was being disrupted without any prior discussion. Lester took on the voice of Peter Lorre.
“Oh thees ees most disturbing… I’m not going to hurt you, my leetle friend… Don’t worry… Tell the fat man that I must have the Maltese Falcon… Eet ees most imperative that the fat man call me thees instant…”
Lester began to put away the clothes that were in the suitcase when his grandmother stopped him and sat him down to explain where they were going in the morning. Lester was so excited that he couldn’t sleep. He stayed up all night watching the MLB station and reruns on TVLand.
Lester and his grandparents arrived at the Detroit Metro Airport at seven in the morning two weeks after a terrorist tried to blow up the Detroit bound plane he was on and three days after another man claimed that he wanted to kill all Jews before boarding a plane in Detroit. Now picture a tall and lanky young man with pimples on his face, talking non stop, all the while changing voices and facial expressions. It had been a few days since Lester had watched the movie, Slapshot with Paul Newman. Lester spewed out lines from the movie while standing in the TSA security line.
“You naver naver want to take your stick like thees unless you are a stupid English pig… You go to the box and feel shame and then you go free… FAT ASS! WOO! You ever see so many niggers trying to get something for nothing? If it isn’t nailed down, you bet your sweet ass the niggers will have it,” said Lester, imitating his grandfather’s voice and facial expressions.
Luckily for the Vandermeres, there were no African-Americans within an ear shot of them except for the TSA official who was looking at passports, licenses and boarding passes. Mr. Caruthers, the TSA official was as shocked as he was angry about hearing such blatantly racist comments coming from the young man whose grandmother was rubbing his arm, telling him that he needed to talk about something else. It came time for the three of them to step up and give their credentials to Mr. Caruthers.
Mr. Caruthers was a large and strongly built black man with a deep voice. The voice reminded Lester of the times his grandfather would lower his voice and do an imitation of Amos and Andy. Lester’s grandparents feared something bad could happen and it was happening.
“How is yaw, Kingfish? How you be thaar, Kingfish? Now see haar… How’s Calpurnia?”
The three of them were herded into a room and questioned for about a half hour by several federal officials. One of the men recognized Lester from the newspaper and believed all that Lester’s grandparents were trying to explain about Lester’s quirks and outbursts. Lester signed an autograph on a piece of paper for the federal official who was a big baseball fan and had heard that Lester was one the top prospects coming up. Lester and his grandparents boarded the plane first and took the last three seats all the way in the back. Lester was thumbing through a baseball book that his grandmother had given him for Christmas. Everyone came in and took their seats and everything seemed as if it were going to be mostly copasetic all the way to Los Angeles until a young Italian man muttered under his breath to his brother, loud enough for Lester to hear. The Italian man was distinctly from Brooklyn. Both men had slicked back black hair and were chewing their gum in a loud circular motion, wearing tight faded jeans and t shirts that were too tight for both of them. It was perfect ammunition for Lester who had become calm despite being excited and apprehensive about his first flight on a plane.
“You ask me what they should fucking do is let the fucking Chinese run the fucking airports for about a year. The fucking Chinese don’t put up with no shit. You ever see this kind of shit happen in China? Fuck no! Let one of these A-rab cocksuckers pull this shit with the fucking Chinese. You’d never hear a fucking word about em again. In this country you’re like a goddamn celebrity. Wanna get on TV? Light your fucking balls on fire on a plane and you’ll wind up getting three square meals for the rest of your days in a goddamn prison and we get to pay for this shit… Let one of these fucks pull a box cutter or a crotch bomb on this flight… I’ll tear their fucking hearts out.”
Upon hearing the rant, Lester once again became unglued. After being detained again and having to face more federal officials and then meet with a psychiatrist and a string of social workers, the Vandermeres were allowed to go back home. It took all day and they were exhausted. Lester’s grandmother laid into her husband for ever saying anything questionable in front of Lester. Lester slept fleetingly as they drove west. After nearly a week on the road, they arrived in Los Angeles. Lester met alone with the athletic director who had originally played baseball in Hoboken in the minor leagues and grew up in the Bronx. The older man, who looked like he could have fit in with the cast of the Sopranos, extended his hand and asked Lester about the flight not knowing that they drove. Lester more or less repeated the words of the Italian man from the airplane. Lester’s grandparents listened outside the office to the hardy laugh of the athletic director that became nothing more than a wheeze and a whistle when he became too out of breath to laugh anymore. The door opened and the big man with cigars for fingers patted Lester on the back and shook the hands of Lester’s grandparents. Lester and his grandparents got into the minivan and headed onto the next school. The athletic director called the baseball coach on the phone to discuss Lester.
“The kid looks like nothing more than a corn seed… Yeah, yeah, I heard all about his problem before he got here. He had me nearly pissing in my pants… He looked at me making faces like Robert de Niro and spoke like Al Pacino for twenty minutes. I don’t know if he did that because he knows I’m Italian but it was very funny… Sure, sure. He’ll make the hall of fame some day and then take his voices on the road. I’d like to be there when he wins the World Series one day and gets invited to the White House to shake hands with the president. That’ll be one for the ages…”

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