Blackhumouristpress's Blog

October 8, 2010

Section 8 or Happy Endings in Paradise

Horace owned an apartment building that housed close to thirty families on a side street just north of Devon Avenue between California Avenue and Kedzie in Chicago.  For most people, these coordinates mean absolutely nothing.  What you need to know is that it was a launching pad into Americana for fresh off the boat European Jews, Indians, Pakistanis, Croatians and Koreans with a smattering of Latinos from various Central American countries. 

            Horace inherited the building from his father who had purchased it upon moving to the United States from England.  Horace’s real name was Armitage Cockfoster III.  There were two other Armitage Cockfosters before him and a string of others going back to the days of feudalism.  In honor of one of Horace’s relatives who was viscount, they named the last stop on The Underground after him.  If you take one of the lines going out towards  nowhere, The Tube train has a sign on the front that reads; Cockfosters.

            All the tenants knew was that they paid there check to A. Cockfoster Management Inc. and their logo was a rooster on a weathervane.  Horace never told his janitor or any of the tenants that he was in fact Armitage Cockfoster III.  This mysterious entity who was supposed to be living in London always scared the janitor into complying with Horace.

            “Dwight…  Mr. Cockfoster received a most inarticulate letter from a Mr. Leviticus Israel regarding a plethora of inadequacies in his unit.  Mr. Cockfoster has dispatched me to determine what is necessary and what is bogus.  I shall be at the building later this afternoon,” said Horace.

            Dwight, who was named after Dwight D. Eisenhower, was actually born and raised in Romania and received the name Dwight after General Eisenhower had traveled through Bucharest after World War II.  General Eisenhower took a picture with Dwight’s father and had a bite of a pastry and a sip of coffee.  Both are still in a sub zero freezer and have been determined to indeed have Dwight D. Eisenhower’s DNA on the pastry and coffee.

 Dwight Iliescu was smoking a cigarette out in front of the building and nervously groomed his bushy moustache with his thumb and index finger.  He flicked the cigarette into the street as Horace pulled up in his Jaguar with a Union Jack sticker on the back.  Dwight thought Horace was a mealy mouthed little yes man for some fat cat sitting in a comfy chair in front of a fireplace somewhere in the English countryside, sipping Scotch and petting one of several bloodhounds.  That kind of stuff only happens in movies.

            “Meester Horace…  Let me say to you something before we go up.  These people are animals.  They are dirty people who cause this problem for themselves.  These guy can’t even talk English.  Everything motherfuck this motherfuck that.  You see for youself.  He’s home now.” Said Dwight.

            “Don’t they work during the day?”  Asked Horace.

            “Boss, nobody works.  You work and I work so that they can stay home and don’t do shit.  That’s how it work, boss.  Come on.” Said Dwight.

            They climbed a staircase that squeaked and flexed.  The hallway smelled of spices from India and urine.  The forty watt refrigerator bulbs helped to set the dismal mood of the run down building.  Horace did what was necessary.  Much of what needed to be done for the sake of humanity was optional in Horace’s opinion.

            The door opened and a smallish black man of possibly forty years of age, opened the door and genuflected as if he were ushering royalty.  Mr. Israel had no idea he was actually in the presence of some sort of periphery royalty and that’s the way Horace liked it.

            “Yeah…  I done sent an email to that Mr. Cock…  Cock…  Whatever his last name is.  Far as I’m concerned it cain be Cocksucker cause he ain’t spend a fucking nickel on this bitch.  Who you now?”  Asked Leviticus.

            “Horace Spencer…  I have been sent by Mr. Cockfoster to see what your complaints are so that we can avert any issues with Section 8,” said Horace.

            “Kay…  Follow me…  You see them motherfucking baseboards?  That there some Tom and Jerry bullshit.  Look at the size them fucking holes!  I got them stuffed up with steel wool but them motherfuckers cain chew threw anything.  I done come out the other day an they looking at me dead in my face.  I done stomped my feet and they just look at me like I’m crazy.  Well I come home the other day an my two boys got one them rats on a goddamn glue board and the pouring bleach on the motherfucking thing in the bathtub and it screaming and then my wife an daughter was screaming and I was ready to just clean out the whole motherfucking place.  I went and got my 22 and shot the thing in the head.  Now I will pay to fix the damage to the wall.  The shell got lodged right here and I done took it out already.  So I know Dwight brought up some Mexicans to put some shit in the corners but them rats are fucking sharp.  They ain’t eating that shit when they cain chew through the cabinets and eat themselves some Captain Crunch…  Okay next,” said Leviticus.

            The three men walked into the living room where Leviticus pointed at the ceiling.  Horace was mystified by the huge Star of David that hung from a thick and expensive gold chain from Leviticus’ neck.  Leviticus wore a long sleeved polyester shirt that was unbuttoned to the middle of his chest.  Horace was familiar with Sammy Davis Jr. but was not aware of any other black Jews.  Truth was that Leviticus married a devout Jewish woman and changed his name so that he and the children and wife, would all be Jewish together.  Israel and Leviticus were adopted names.  His real name was Ronald Smith even though nobody called him that any longer.

            “Look at that ceiling…  Okay…  They students up there, right?  Indians and they do some kind of dance and light up some shit that burn my eyes an my kid’s eyes.  The kids be crying.  I went up there an toll them they breaking my ceiling and to quit lighting that shit up.  They do what they fucking want.  Crazy ass fucking music at all hours … One time I go up there an they got a fucking octopus looking thing on the floor an they all smoking out this thang.  I toll them they gone push me too far.  You best talk to them Indians cause we gone have a problem soon,” said Leviticus.

            “Are we talking about east or west Indies?”  Asked Horace.

            “I don’t know nothing bout which side they come from.  You got the 7-11 Indians and you got yo casino Indians in a fucking tee-pee fighting with John Wayne, okay?  Upstairs they the quickie mart Indians.  They cook some crazy shit and smoke some stuff I ain’t never smelled before.  I smoked weed in my day an this ain’t no fucking weed that I know of.  Anyway, you talk to them and I need this shit fixed cause I don’t need no fucking plaster falling on my family, ya dig?  Okay next…”

            The three men then moved into the bathroom where flies clung to rust colored stains on a bubbled wall.  Horace blinked hard and shook his head.  Horace understood that the damage meant a leaking sanitary pipe in the wall.  The cost to fix was going to be possibly hundreds or a thousand.

            “Them flies love shit and shit coming down the motherfucking walls from the inside.  Now I cain smell the shit an piss.  You cain’t smell that now cause my wife done bleached the shit out the walls but it will come back.  Now y’all cain fix this or I cain call the city an then Section 8 ain’t gone pay shit, y’dig?  Now I know y’all ain’t got rats, dancing Indians and shit rolling down the inside y’ walls at yo place.  I’m tire of Dwight here always telling me he gone fix this an fix that.  I cain tell you his lazy ass don’t do shit round here.  If it weren’t for the fucking Mexicans this place would look worse than it do.  You wanna keep Dwight, that’s Mr. Cocksucker’s bullshit to work out with y’all.”  Said Leviticus.

            “Fuck you, you fucking guy…  Who you think you are?  I work more in one day than you work in you whole life!”  Shouted Dwight.

            Horace stepped between the two men.  It was at that moment that he noticed a hole in the wall behind a poster of The Power Rangers that was twenty years old, torn and curling enough to show a fist sized hole in the wall.  Horace pulled the poster back to discover the hole.  Leviticus quickly explained the damage.

            “Okay now this here a touchy subject cause I done toll my wife you cain’t be hammering on them walls less you know where the studs are.  So she wanted to hang a religious thang there an I toll her to wait til I cain git to it an she tried and made that hole.  I will pay this out my own pocket but I wish not to discuss this in the presence of my wife cause she will git violent an I don’t need that shit.  I got nough problems without having to fight over walls, y’dig?  So I will cover this one but y’all gone hafta roll up y’sleeves and git this shit done lickity motherfucking split cause I done had nough.”  Said Leviticus.

            Horace made a few notes on a note book and told Leviticus that he would get back to him shortly.  Leviticus told them both men; god bless.  As Horace and Dwight walked down the stairs, Horace read an email from his realtor on his Blackberry.  There was a cash offer for the building that was thirty percent lower than what the market value was just a year earlier.  All Horace caught was Dwight’s question about what he thought could and should be done.  Horace massaged his temples and looked across Devon Avenue where there was a neon sign on a Korean restaurant that advertised live barbeque.  The sign flashed the word Paradise. There was a massage parlor behind the restaurant for happy endings. Horace said the word out loud and smiled.  Dwight didn’t understand the comment.  He lit a cigarette and watched as Horace drove off in his late model Jaguar and then spit on the ground.  Dwight said to himself in Romanian inside his own head.

            “If this is paradise, what the hell is hell?”

February 15, 2010

Leaving the Complaints Department… Peace, Out

Filed under: Uncategorized — blackhumouristpress @ 5:00 pm
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Curt and Carl had been life long buddies.  Back in the old days, kids at school called them the Columbine Boys behind their backs.  Nobody really thought of them as closet homosexuals as much as antisocial, introverted, skateboarding wannabees, with possible homicidal tendencies.  They both had tight jeans with Van shoes and long hair that covered one eye at all times.  They spent most of their time trying to perfect the stuff they saw on MTV.  Neither one of them was bold enough or athletic enough to ride hand rails or try to jump a flight of stairs on their bikes.  They were just west coast, southern California boys trapped in the desert near Palmdale and Lancaster at the far northern tip of Los Angeles County, not far from the windmills near Tehachapi.  All houses looked about the same as the next house and sparse growth covered the mountain sides that looked more like the surface of Mars or the Moon that anything on Earth. 

            Somehow both Curt and Carl finished high school without killing anyone and made it through albeit with beat up self esteem.  Carl one day decided that he would move to England.  Curtis thought he was really full of shit and called him on it.

            “I’ve decided that I want to live somewhere other than this sterile fucking place filled with former Midwestern fucks that live in tract house fucking subdivisions and go to the fucking Vons to shop, In and Out Burger for dinner and get old and fat watching that one fucking tree grow that was planted by the city, in their front yard.  I’m not gonna beg you but we should just fucking go, man.  I mean where can you go where they kinda speak English that is totally not like this fucking place?  I wanna go to pubs and fuck chubby chicks and never learn their names.  I want to drive on the left with a wheel on the right and not worry about my fucking teeth.  Fuck Arnold Schwarzenegger, earthquakes, landslides, smog, diamond lanes and all of it.  Let’s go to England, man.  We can get a flat in London and live like fucking kings…” said Carl.

            “I really like In and Out Burger…” Said Curtis.

            “Yeah?  Well fuck you too then…” Said Carl.

            As shocked as Curtis was to see his buddy Carl go, Carl did take every cent he had and moved to London.  Carl found jobs at fast food restaurants and at a funeral home before he landed a job in customer service.  Carl was the foreman of a division that answered customer calls.  Ironically, Curtis worked at a company that was an answering service for apartment buildings and doctors.  Curtis was the complaints department and hated it.

            It had been four years of sending porn, jokes and one sentence emails to one another when Carl offered Curtis a job at his factory in London.  Curtis was intrigued.

            “Dude…  You gotta come to London.  I work for a company that sells Irish sweaters and quilts and shit.  I’m like the head of all the customer service calls.  It’s fucking great.  There are like three chicks I’m totally making it with right now who work for me.  I swear to baby Jesus that I go home to change fucking underwear only.  After work I go and have a few pints then go and a have a few more at another pub, throw some fucking darts and lay a new broad every night.  All you have to do is tell them you are from California and they immediately think like Beach Boys and surfing.  I’m like whatever.  Where’s your flat?  Oh and one big thing to sway your ass…  The fucking pound is the strongest currency in the world.  It’s like making one and a half times what you make in California.  I hope you’re done nursing your snatch and bring your ass out here.  You can shack up with me and trust me when I say that you will have more puss than you could shake a stick at.  Tell your mom that you’re going to learn to fly and move the fuck out here, bitch…  Peace out Carl.”

            Curtis agonized for a week about doing something so abrupt but then decided he would.  He sent Carl the good news and just wanted to clarify that there would be a job waiting for him.

            “Dude…  I’m so coming to England.  You do have a job waiting for me, right?  I don’t mind what it is; I’m just spending all I have to get there.  I can hardly sleep thinking about this.  The Trenchcoat Posse rides again!”

            Carl responded.

            “Bitch… Bring your sorry ass here.  I’ll fire a fucking Paki to give you a job.  Just get here…  Peace out.”

            Curtis responded.

            “Okay, man.  I’m coming.  I bought a ticket.  I stop in NYC and then on to London.  Pick me up on Saturday.  Just have to set the record straight here at work….”

            Now Curtis hated his job and hated the despondent, fat, angry people he worked among and hated the chronic complaints he dealt with frequently as an answering service dispatcher.  Curtis decided to set the record straight with everyone who irritated him before leaving.  First was a woman who lived in Santa Monica with two cats, no husband and a lot of time on her hands.  She was the president of a condominium association who called frequently to the answering service to have their Albanian janitor work hard for his money.

            Ms. De la Croix,

                                       Although we have never met since I am up in Palmdale and you are in Santa Monica, I just want to let you know what I pictured over the phone in my two years of dealing with your annoying bullshit.  You are probably 5‘2 to 5’4, thin with bleached blond hair.  You probably went to some Catholic grade school in Santa Monica, Catholic high school in Santa Monica and then attended Santa Monica City College.  You think that Santa Monica is the height of Los Angeles County and center of the universe. You probably buy bullshit art at  the Santa Monica Mall on Saturdays and attend all meetings for rent control.  Your cats probably got two stupid names like Tulip and Persnickety and you have more appliances in the drawer of your night stand than the janitor of your building has in his tool shed.  Mind you that this poor fuck lasted through a war where Serbians were trying to murder him because some fucking Ottomans forced his ancestors to convert to being a Muslims.  That poor fuck made it all the way to sunny California just to become a slave to you and a bunch of sexually dysfunctional males and females that love titles such as president, treasurer or secretary of a board.  Fuck you, fuck your board and all your complaints.  Kiss your fucking cats cause they might be the only ones who love you and that might only be at feeding time.

            Yours Truly,

            Curtis Crawford

            Curtis felt so exhilarated by writing to Ms. De la Croix and telling her exactly what he thought of her, now he would tell his fellow workers what he thought of them.

            “Dear Mr. Smith and all employees of Minute Men Ready Answering Service,                                                                                                                                        

 I would like to invite you to figure out fast what makes you happy.  Most of you are

twice my age and are twice as unhappy and twice as fat and at least twice in debt over me. 

Most of you make me sick and scare me.  I waited my whole youth to be an adult and

now that I’m surrounded by adults, I ask myself if this is what I wanted and expected. 

Did I want to be grayer, fatter, angrier, and more cynical than I am now?  Granted I was voted most likely to come to school and mow everyone down and yet I would be more likely to come and put all of you out of your misery as a mercy killing now.  My problem was that I never bought a gun.  I did buy a ticket to London, England and start my new job next week.  So fuck all of you and I hope you step aside and heed the shit I’m saying.  Your sorry lives are not worth living and I want to thank all the pompous fucks among you for forcing my hand.  Had it not been for you, I may have been complacent and stayed in this fucking job until I grew a paunch, lost my hair and got excited over coupons or whatever the fuck there is to be happy about beyond the age of thirty with an unfulfilled wife and bratty fucking kids.  So I’ll say this now; see you in hell and if you make it to heaven let me know how it was possible because I have not seen how it could have been possible thus far…  Your devoted employee Curtis Crawford…”

            Curtis hit the send button to all employees as he gathered up things that he wanted

to take with him from his desk in a cubical.  Curtis could hear gasps and laughing as he carried his glad bag full of stuff through the front doors into the midday sun.  He got into his Hyundai ready to collect what he really needed for his first trip to Europe when a text message from Carl came through.

            “Dude…  It’s a fucking calamity.  The fucking Brits dumped all the women in the center and moved operations to fucking New Delhi.  Those fucking Indians. Don’t worry if you already quit.  I can find us work here.  I got a few bones stored away.  Just come out, we’ll figure it out somehow… Peace out, Carl.”

            Curtis was at a red light in his Hyundai when the car behind him beeped hard.  The light had turned green.  The only thought that came to Curtis was; Oh shit!

Blog at