I recall my body
tensed and rigid against the slicked, concrete inner perimeter
of a gated community hot tub. I was a sopping, cowering, skinny-ass chimpanzee
cubling, clinging to a petrified ringular sponge
when I was younger, like fourteen. If I'd more will, I'd have backslid into the depths of the concrete, like it was paraffin and I was a lit sparkler. I'd been let into the pool complex by two friends of mine, who were defying Homeowner's Association Coda; while they lived in the condominium development, they'd lost their pool keys. Wire coathangers are indispensable.
There was a guy there who was a thick
, pink prizefighter's thumb, callused and roasting in adrenaline grease. He drove a lifted truck, painted flat midnight blue, glazed by a weak solitary clearcoat. There were some stickers on the truck's rear windshield but I couldn't make them out. He was in his mid-twenties and had a girlfriend
: a thin, hyperextended dollop of leech-shaped putty.
She had very dark
hair and every feature on her face ended in a knobby spearpoint, her expression lines seemed roughly carved on by a brown
permanent marker. She was the wicked witch
of black eurotrash bikinis, the type of bikini seen modeled on supermarket checkout line shelves by airbrushed pixies with pert, upturned noses and quartz
eyes. She was spooning her boyfriend's side, her mouth clamped over his neck, suckling, probably suckling blood. I wanted her immediately.
The couple was accompanied by a third, a girl
who seemed just past drinking age, a beach-haired pigletface who's relationship to the pair
wasn't explained. My best guess was that she was the guy's sister, on account of her looking like a piglet. Patches of rosacea flourished at the bases of her face's fat pockets, aggravated by the steam. She wore a sensible bra top and a pair of colorful, predominantly orange and gray vinyl cargo shorts that ended at her kneecaps. She had a nice body, small
framed with about five pounds of hanging fat. I wanted her immediately too, but
not as much as the spindlier girl whose crotch I could see better.
He shook his head
from side to side while talking, and punctuate
d every third word
by jabbing across a speck of air with his twenty-four-ounce Budweiser
tall boy."See, the problem with liberals is that they'd rather give a nigger a job than a white dude
, even if they're equally qualified. They want to give jobless niggers
free houses and make me pay for it." He pleased me with his lack of tact, overt irrational bigotry and breathless, stilted AwkwarD, because that's what I expected of someone like him, of his ideological persuasion, and it made for easy intellectual dismissal. He took a quick drink
from the can, then set it beside three others he'd lined along the edge of the Spanish
tiled, overcropping tublip, to his left -- the side where his girl wasn't. He took a quick drink and his girl sucked
it out of his neck.
The stewing little pink
girl spoke, her trailer-fried chicken bleet all "Would you shut the fuck up? I hate it when you get into your stupid politics. It bugs
. You fuckhead you don't know shit at all."
She adjusted her face to face her right armpit and cursed at it."Fuck," she was piping her winded, asthmatic frustration through shrill wooden reeds by heaving
, drawing out the 'uh' part for an extra quarter second, (MORTAR ROUND
:) it's pitch rising and falling in the shape of a parabola
before colliding with the 'kuh' part, not flinching. Her heart beat fast and beat fast and fast.
The arteries feeding her brain
had swelled and ruptured, unable to contain her excited flow and cortisol. The blood welled past her skull's maximum capacity. Flowing timidly like babbling fountain soda. Siltily it moped to the tub's surface from her eyeballs! There forming a thin oilslick film
, and then diluting. He smelled it, and saw an opportunity to punch
in with some elaboration.
PUNCH! His tall boy was a gleaming, diamond hard fighting baton. It shot winks of serrated moonlight into my eyes. I felt he'd seize my neck's fat-free scruff and drown me to death if I looked at him wrong. He'd already made fun of my hair."Oh B.S. Kaylie please, you know I know my shit. You know I know it. Shit even my black friends agree with me. Shit like like like Paul, he doesn't even have a problem with me saying nigger the way I do. I'm not a racist. He's got no problem at all, in fact he'll use it, he'll use it too --all the time. I'm not racist. He spits it like he's a can of mace filled with slurs
, shit. It's just just there's no good blacks and you've got to call them things like niggers, because sometimes you have to demean people so they get so fed up with being called dirt, so fed up that they stop being dirt and start being something more agreeable, and, and, utilizable."
Kaylie didn't look away from her damp armpit
. "Oh fuck you, just fuck you."
He grinned a little. He'd beaten her soundly, disappointing my Friend Who Had a Mohawk and I. While he'd been talking, my friend and I had engaged ourselves in a silent cooperative effort, using scotch tape and strips of wet cardboard to string together a floppy counter-argument, having to do with institutional racism
being the undeniable root of black
affliction-- that guy just being a bigot looking for a reason. Kaylie didn't have enough blood left in her skull to read our minds --limp and rapidly shriveling, she was-- straight up
--- a malnourished white piglet asparagus. Unable to receive our telekinetic broadcasts, she didn't say what we wouldn't for fear of getting our asses kicked.
My friend with the mohawk was the one responsible for the guy going off the way he'd been. My friend with the mohawk was wearing a black beanie with a Circle-A patch on it, and spying it led the guy to ask, "So what are you, you're some kind of black-bloc Anarchist
? All 'Smash the Capitalist penis!' and all that jazz?"
"Yeah, I guess I am."
"Well, you're an idiot, but at least you're not a liberal, at least you've got a libertarian streak. Assuming you actually know what that patch means, and you didn't just get it at Hot Topic
to complete your wardrobe, "
"What's wrong with liberals?"
Some other time: my friend with the mohawk would have been driving a bayonet tip into some Bolshevik
bastard's eyeball, for Ukranian autonomy. Or he'd have been scrubbing the business class out of Havana
, wringing his bloody sponge out in a bloodier basin, while wearing a smart, glamorous beret
. Or he'd have tossed himself at Franco with a plucked grenade.
Muere assessino, muere!!!
But my friend was born in the 80s
like me. After we'd fought all the wars
we needed, what to do? So he styled his hair in subversive ways and I let the grease from my bangs mix with the grease on my forehead. We espoused the ideals of pacifism. We'd formed a band together where I sang. My words decried the western world. I threw crude, bromidic bricks and party-line molotov at it through the squall of his guitar
riffs that tasted like stale breadline tack
"So I take it you're voting for bush then?" My friend asked him, looking for his own reasons. To draw some conclusions about fifty
percent of the voting public.
"Bah. Politicians. Bunch of professional codependents." the guy answered quick like a tripwire grenade
. "Sure, I'm voting for him, but that doesn't mean I like him, he's just another sniveling nepotist rich boy worm."
"Well, why vote for him if you don't like him?" I asked, I already knew the answer, but I kind of wanted to see the guy indict himself as a moral
waverer, for my own reasons.
"Wait. Wait. Come on. Politics isn't anything but the fine art of selling your soul. No one ever got elected for having an articulated agenda or being specific, that sort of thing offends. God knows
, a guy like me could only get one percent of the vote. Even though, you know, the twenty percent of the country who knows their shit would want me!"
Chug suck suck suckle.
"But you still have to attract the contented dunce
majority who don't want change, and you have to do it with omissions, ambiguity and vagary."
Chug, purse, swish over the mouth's roof! -- wince, suckle suckle PUNCH! Oh, and by the way, at this point I felt like my body was made from chalk. Shutup you obnoxious twit I get it already.
"Just stick to the basics. Rape is awful, murder is bad and both deserve justice. Infanticide is a scourge and I say babies need to be loved! So let's preserve the sanctity of our most cherished values. Blah fucking blah
. You've just got to make it bland to attract the chuds, and hope tuned-in people with agendas see a glimmer of something they like when they read between your lines. That's what I did with Bush."
I recalled a Ralph Nader
speech, "Wouldn't you not have to do that if we had run-off elections?"
"Eh, Fuck Europe."
"Wait," my friend with the mohawk backtreaded, "What do you think's so great about bush?" Reasons Reasons Reasons.
"Well, he's said he wants to eliminate affirmative action quotas. And I want to send every fucking nigger on welfare to China
. Baby steps." He smiled huge, then. And nodded at us with a kind of smarmy wink
"Man Tommy, you're fucking evil, you know
that!?" This was my other friend who lived in the condominium development. He was half Hawaiian but looked Mexican, and he knew the guy. He hadn't talked much, except to ask for some of the guy's beer (NO THIS IS FUCKING MINE GET YOUR OWN!), but now he was agitated.
The guy Tommy's smile collapsed a little, then shot back up as he dismissively chuckled out "Says you!
"Says alot of people Tommy, you fucking Hitler
." He said it all kind of chummily, qualifying the condemnation with a veneer of grinning hyperbole, arms upthrust, bent at the elbow and shimmying like a preacher's. Sure but I knew better. This was a showdown, someone was going to die. Sun-blackened hands were pawing dusty
"Oh fucking please! People only see evil
when it don't got a pretty face; when they see a greasy mustache and a rat's nose. Give 'em some square, charismatic eyebrows and a regal chin and I guarantee you they'll smear it all over themselves and lick their own assholes
He was punching up an flurry now, his flailing accentuated by monochromatic, electric motion trails like you'd see in anime.
He went on and on, "It's like my grandpa used to say:"
He tilted his head right and upward to remember, and
channeled his grandfather's crisp, measured annunciation:
"Good. Evil. Neither is really more apt to
overcoming the other. It's all; a matter-- of,
And he whipped out at my Hawaiian
friend, grabbed him by the hair and drowned him in the bloody water, let him up for air and then took him down again. This went on for the rest of the night
while we talked about something else.
After the three had left, and were a half block out of earshot, my Hawaiian friend, face still messed with blood, said, "That guy really needs to get his ass kicked."
And then my other friend, the staunch pacifist who'd flare up and huff moral outrage if he saw you swat a fly, said, "Yeah, normally I'm not for that sort of thing, but he really deserves it."
The both turned and looked at me for concurrence.
I said, "Oh
yeah. Definitely." when I should have said, "Yeah guys, whatever."