Blackhumouristpress's Blog

March 25, 2018

Coexist…

It was some time after 9-11 that Lars Bjornson left his home in Stockholm to discover America. He wanted to eat hot dogs, see sporting events of sports he knew nothing about. He wanted to be in the audience of a Jerry Springer show. He wanted to see where Michael Jordan played basketball and where Al Capone once ran around. Lars wanted to see the tall buildings of Chicago and he also wanted to see the ghetto.

Lars rented a car and asked the doorman of the posh hotel he was staying at on Michigan Avenue, where he could go to see the real ghetto. You know… Poor people. The doorman thought Lars was a bit nuts but then again he felt that all of those really white, white people of Northern European countries, were truly different than your run of the mill American whites. In reality, it was not unlike going on a safari in Africa or visiting a zoo. Lars wanted to see blight, hopelessness, drug addicts and the mentally ill hanging around on street corners. The doorman spoke frankly with him.
“Hey man, there’s shit in life you just should not do. You puttin your life in yo own hands…. It ain’t like round here, dude…. Shit…. It’s yo life. Tell you watchu do…. Take any one of these streets named after old dead white dudes that was once president. Madison, Washington, Adams…. Randolph…. I don’t remember no President Randolph in school but it coulda been one them dudes who was president fo like a day and then got shot. You might wind up like them but you welcome to go. Four miles that way. You cain’t git lost.”
Lars was excited in a sick way not unlike when people go online to view people getting beheaded or shot and watching the life drain out of them. Lars wanted to visit the most dangerous city in an area where the most people get killed every year in the richest most prosperous country in the world. Lars was hoping to actually see a shooting happen in the streets. He slowly drove up and down streets that were strewn with debris, high weeds, barber shops with men hanging out in front of them, boarded up storefronts and liquor stores on almost every corner. People looked back at Lars not unlike when animals make eye contact with humans at the zoo.

Lars saw a beautiful young black woman at a bus stop, eating something carefully out of a bag. Her young, perfect body and model like face attracted Lars. He parked the car and strangely pitched the idea of the woman getting into his car to go to dinner, talk to him and then later have sex with him. For $1,000.00. Asha ( pronounced ASIA ) thought about all the things she could do with $1,000.00 and hopped into the car of the tall blond man from Sweden. Asha went to an expensive seafood restaurant and then back to Lars hotel room to do the deed. Asha marveled at her strange day as she put her clothes back on in front of a floor to ceiling window that looked out at Lake Michigan and the high rises that lined the downtown. It was a glimpse into a life she had only seen on television. She concluded that to be white was truly a boost up the tree of life that black people rarely get unless they have some redeeming value to white people. Lars thought to himself while he showered with all his jewelry, cash and credit cards where he could see it in the locked bathroom, that it was a really cool experience and that having sex with someone of a different color was something that everyone should experience once. Sometimes weird moments and actions lead to something surreal. Well… It did.
Two presidents and sixteen years later, Asha’s son Lars was about to play in the state championship basketball game. Picture a tall caucasian looking child with a tint to his skin with sort of yellow hair with large rotini like curls. Around his ankle was a tracking device for those that should probably be in prison but are allowed back out in society. Lars was arrested for carjacking. Several times in the past, Lars had successfully secured a car, drove it around, smashed it up and abandoned it. In Chicago, things such as that are sport for underprivileged inner city kids who see the disparity between those that have and those that have not. The last carjacking backfired when Lars and his buddies tried to carjack the car of an off duty cop who had a vintage 1970 Plymouth Challenger. Upon pulling a gun on the officer and hopping in, they found that the car was manual transmission and none of the trio knew how to drive a car with a stick shift. Lars looked up to find a gun back in his face. Lars’ two friends had no redeeming value to society at this point in their lives- high school drop outs, gangbangers with criminal history but Lars intrigued the judge. The judge listened to the tall boy speak who looked like he could be white but also could be black, looked at his African American mother and asked the boy rhetorical questions. Do you want to go to jail? Do you want to die young? Do you want your life to amount to nothing? Do you want to become something? Asha told the judge that her son was a very good basketball player and that 6’ 7, he had a good chance of getting a college scholarship and possibly professional basketball. Asha handed a handful letters of intent from division one universities from around the country that were interested in having young Lars play basketball. The judge saw a letter from his alma mater and grew excited. The stern looking white judge looked at Lars and said that he wanted to see him, his mother and his attorney in his office. Once in the judge’s quarters, the judge picked up his phone on his desk and made a call to the president of his alma mater who happened to be a friend, a golf buddy, a drinking buddy to let him know that he should send someone from the athletics department to come to the championship game in Quincy, Illinois to sign Lars to their university. Asha and Lars were stunned by how the serious looking judge was talking so casually to them.
“You’re going to love this school. It is one of the greatest schools in the country. You’ll get a great education in a good environment and you could really help the school by being on the team. They came so close this year! Sweet sixteen! Hopefully you can help them win a national championship…. So listen. Lars will have to wear an ankle monitor for a while. You’ll come back in a few weeks and I’ll clear him. No record. You have to stop fooling around, Lars. You have a promising life ahead of you. Don’t screw it up…. Tell you what…. I think I can make that game in Quincy. I have nothing on my calendar. I will be there with your mom.”
Somewhere in Europe, there is a man with an American son that he knows nothing about. Lars Sr. would be so proud to know that he helped create hope for a woman who was destined to live a dismal, mundane life. Stories such as this make white people feel really good when they know their own kind are helping in some small an indirect way to create prosperity and equality. Even if they didn’t mean to.

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July 31, 2012

Rendezvous in Chicago

Filed under: Ethnicity,humor,Short Story — blackhumouristpress @ 10:25 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

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

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