Archive for the ‘detroit’ Category

To Be Honest With You…

May 9, 2019

Roland was a no nonsense sort of guy. He was sort of one-dimensional when it came to ice hockey. Hockey was everything to him. Whether it was the NHL or five and six year olds playing in the park district. Roland was also fixated on the truth and living an honest life.

Roland’s daughter was married to guy who was really a great guy and he got along well with his daughter Cassie. Russ, Cassie’s husband started Internet dating with a woman from Brazil and just up and moved. There was a letter about how much he loved Cassie but there was something better for him in another country and when it came to love and true happiness, it was necessary to be selfish. Roland left his home in Detroit to live in suburban Chicago near his daughter. Roland talked Cassie into letting Roland enroll her daughter Gwen into hockey a few years back and Gwen was becoming a formidable player.

Many people talk about hockey’s old days but Roland lived it. Roland played in a semi-professional league that had Saturday night games in towns in Michigan like Marshall and Battle Creek. He would make his $50.00 a night and show up to work on the Chrysler assembly plant Monday morning. Twice Roland stitched up his own face between periods. He had a chipped front tooth and several scars on his face.

On the first day of spring league, Roland was astounded that eight and nine year olds were so beginner. At eight years old, most young hockey players have been skating for four years. Roland was going to have to start at square one with many of them.

“On face-offs, we all have a job to do. Standing there waving to grandma is not one of them. Waddling around like a penguin is not one either. There is no right field in this sport so we don’t walk out to a remote outpost… Am I reaching any of you?”

All youth teams put their hands in the middle at the beginning of the game and between periods and had a obligatory cheer. The coach asks things like- who are we? Monsters! What are we gonna do? Win! Roland had them all put their hands in the middle and then asked them who had ever been in a fistfight before.

“What’s the best way to win a fist fight?”

The players looked at him like they didn’t understand English. Nobody answered but Gwen wanted to because she had been asked this many times by her grandfather since she began skating at the age of four.

“Gwen?”

“Um… You wanna get the first punch and then you don’t wanna stop til they stop moving and if you get them by the nutsack, you wanna squeeze til they scream.”

“Right… On the count of three, yell squeeze… 1, 2, 3… SQUEEZE!”

Gwen had a hat trick and three penalties for hooking, tripping and checking in a non-check game. She would often tell her grandfather that she was going to get a Gordie Howe hat trick for him- a goal, an assist and a fight. Roland’s team lost 9-3. Roland got on the kids about not trying hard enough, about positioning, about trying to skate out of their zone with the puck and turning it over, the lack of passing and lack of determination to get the puck. As Roland left the locker room, a mom approached Roland.

“Hi… We haven’t met yet but I’m Stevie’s mom.”

Roland thought about Stevie coming into the locker room with the English au pair acting like he was a dinosaur, making dumb sounds and not getting dressed until Roland yelled in his face until his lips quivered. That only happened once.

“I wanted to ask you what you think of his skill and effort and what he can do to improve because he really loves the sport…”

“To be honest with you…”

Most people, who begin a sentence that way, say it to give them time to lie, to water it down and be less than honest with you. Not Roland.

“I would start with boxing or martial arts to toughen him up. He’s afraid of contact and this is a contact sport. I would then tell him that to buy all the equipment and pay to be on a team is like equal to buying a used car and for the money, do you really wanna do this? I could go to Jamaica for two weeks comfortably for what it costs to outfit you and watch you walk around the ice instead of skate. I would then tell him that if he does not push himself to his fullest, you’d pull him. I suspect between Mary Poppins who brings him to practice and the games you rarely make, this is sort of like babysitting for you. When hockey is played correctly, it should sound like a symphony… This team is out of tune and no tempo… Stevie is blowing clams out of his horn… You get where I’m going?”

“Wow… Is this how you see it?”

“Listen… Nobody just wakes up and decides they are going to play hockey unless they can skate and I mean skate well. Then when you got that down, you have to develop hands and a skill like chess with your heads so that you’re not constantly giving it away… Hockey is like a foreign language. To have a conversation, you have to learn the language… To be honest with you, Stevie isn’t practicing his horn… Many on the team are learning to say more than their name… Stevie doesn’t much care if he has an accent or if he even learns to speak Dutch… You following me?”

Yes, but not happily. But for sure… honestly.

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Comedy Today- A Faux Pas

January 23, 2019

Cynthia told the Oak Park Women’s group that she had a cousin who was very good at stand up comedy and performed a lot in Detroit. The women rented out a restaurant bar along Lake Street in a town that proudly claims Ernest Hemingway and the architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Two famous men who couldn’t wait to leave Oak Park. The women’s group agonized over the fact that comedy today is very touchy. If things are not directed at the president exclusively, they could be taken as racist, homophobic, xenophobic and so on. Those in attendance were mostly women and a few husbands and or girlfriends of women. The first two comedians ripped on the president, his wife, his youngest son, his daughter who became orthodox Jewish, Mike Pence, Make America Great Again, followers of Trump. Wade, the cousin of Cynthia, made quite a splash.

 

Wade came on stage with a joint in his mouth unlit, wearing a “Make Men Violent Again” t-shirt. He glared at the audience with squinty eyes as if he was looking for someone he knew.

“Aleuts? Aleuts? Anyone what we used to call Eskimos here in attendance? Now don’t try to fake me out if you’re from Samoa… You’re a little darker than your cousins who crossed the land bridge 10,000 before the Protestants and Columbus came and renamed you people… No Aleuts? Okay… Then the rest of you are fair game.”

Wade lit the joint, inhaled and expelled it into the face of chubby looking lesbian with a Dutch boy hair cut with a plethora of political buttons on her Army coat. The woman snapped at Wade.

“No smoking? In Detroit we can still get a drink and smoke in casinos…  I don’t see any video gaming her… Well fuck it… By the way… This is medicinal. Me and my kid are both ADD and when I’m not on Ritalin, I smoke a joint to calm my nerves to keep me from getting my shotgun and taking out those that annoy me…”

-Groaning and whispering-

“Hey… I must have total silence. This is not a democracy it is a constitutional republic and until I can rewrite the constitution I must have silence!”

Wade took a sip of his Scotch on the rocks and took a horse crop and slammed in on the chair next to him as he did his best German accent and hid his upper lip.

“Sank-you… What a diverse group we have here tonight…

Girls who are boys who like boys to be girls who do boys like they’re girls who like girls like they’re boys… That song reminds me of Rumsfeld at press conferences. Wouldn’t you like to put him in a room with Trump and hear what’s being said? Maybe get Rod Rosenstein to wear a wire and play that shit in real time on CNN…

 

-Groaning and more murmuring

 

“Okay fine… You like Trump jokes… So Trump goes golfing with Mitt Romney and John Mc Cain but Mc Cain has to hire a midget to swing for him because he has that weird one armed shit like Bob Dole had… Mc Cain wouldn’t let the midget putt but otherwise that little fucker had to carry the clubs like a Sherpa and try to beat Trump for him. Well in the end, guess who won? You got it… Trump. The house always wins. But while they’re walking around losing to Trump, Trump asks them how they could possibly lose to Obama. He then tells them that they’re losers and he will show them how to go out and run for president and win… How did he do that shit? I mean all you fucking people hate him, right? How did he win? Russians? Well now Mitt becomes senator in a Mormon state, smiling and looking as real as Max Headroom meets The Mask. His first order of business is to align himself with the people that defeated him… Now that’s a Republican for you…. How bout a hand for those two dolls that went before me tonight The plump one was hot in a Buddy Hackett sort of way…” Wade pointed to a woman in front of him. “I wouldn’t fuck her with your dick, ma’am…”

 

Women and a few men begin to heckle him. Wade smiles, takes a sip of his drink and holds it up to the crowd.

 

“You won’t rattle me. I went to the same school as G.G. Allin. Don’t know him? Take a second and Google him. Now then I wrote a poem in honor of this occasion and it goes like this…

 

These are very troubled times

I’ll stir the pot with my rhymes

Build a wall to keep us in

Nobody likes you where you’ve been

The world hates you for being American

The red white and blue is a sin

You need to sit when you piss

In a bathroom for every gender

We’ll suck the testosterone from your balls

Make you wear a dress in the halls

You racist, misogynistic cunt

You probably like it in the rump

I’m losing you all again… Okay…Donald Trump!

 

You’ve been a great audience. God bless you. God bless America and good night.

The Gap Between Us

June 25, 2018
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Bob, like many Americans, came into a little money after Uncle Sam took his chunk.  Bob bought stock in things that ate up other things and got bigger and before long, he reasoned that his little 1950s starter home with low ceilings and a leaky basement, separated by neighbors on each side by about ten feet, was just too confining, too ordinary, too small.  One day Bob got off of the highway into inner city Detroit and looked at blocks and blocks of land that were gone.  What remained were streets, some sidewalks and foundations to where houses once stood.  Bob began to do some investigating and found that the land could be purchased for very little and so Bob bought up a whole once side of a street.  There were fifteen foundations total.  Over the course of a year or so, he built a tremendous house that would have fit in during the Victorian era.  A foyer with a 20 foot ceiling that looked up to a spiral staircase.  There were ten bedrooms, an indoor pool, several covered porches and gardens of flowers and produce for his wife who loved to garden.

“Susan… We are selling this place and moving to Detroit,” said Bob, off the cuff while reading the newspaper.

Susan pulled the newspaper down so she could see Bob’s face and asked him to repeat what he said.  It sounded to her like he said that he was selling the house and that they would be moving to Detroit.  Bob confirmed what he said.  Later that day, Susan cried all the way to Detroit from the northern suburban abode.  As they passed lot after lot, street after street of missing or abandoned homes, out of nowhere like a palace in the desert or the Motor City Casino which has a fabulous Las Vegas light show at night if you happen to be standing in any vacant lot within an eye shot in Detroit.  Susan sat up and took note of the beautiful home, a deluxe Victorian style home with a front porch and newly sodded lawn, a fountain out in front and gardens the length of a block.  Susan laughed and cried.  Bob held up a set of keys for her to take.  Everything was great.  Just great.

Now in these strange political times, Bob found himself on the other side of the invisible wall that had not been built yet by our president.  Susan found the president to be uncouth, brazen, foul, racist, xenophobic, sexist and emblematic of everything that a male could be that must be changed in our offspring.  Bob on the other hand, found that our current president was a breath of fresh air.  He liked the patriotism, he liked the America first attitude, he liked the there-has-to-be-rules credo that had taken hold.  Susan would watch MSNBC in one end of their large home and Bob would watch FOX.  Their politics began to cause a schism in their marriage and it got so bad that Bob and Susan could not talk to each other very much or very long without fighting.  They would look at each other and think-how could you be so naive, so stupid, such a goddamn door mat or how could you be such a racist, sexist, pig with no heart.

One day, Bob came home to find a family in his living room, eating ham, potatoes and pie at a coffee table while watching television.  They looked up at Bob but said nothing.  Susan came in with a silver platter full of more food.  The house guests seemed indifferent to the free food and not the least bit grateful.  Bob commented angrily.

“Susan!  Who are these people and why are waiting on them hand and foot, delivering them free food on a silver platter?”

Susan ignored her husband and passed out juice and more ham and desserts, one of the men asked for a beer.  Susan jogged to the kitchen.  As Susan began to open the door, Bob slammed it shut.  This angered Susan.

“We are rich and privileged people who have more than we deserve or need and these people just want a better life for themselves.  It is so wrong to share with others?  To let the have-nots have a little something?”

“Wait a minute!  I own this place.  I have legal title to live in this place with you and nobody else.  I pay for this food, I pay the taxes here, I made this place what it is and you just want to let anyone in here!?”

“You are heartless, selfish and a goddamn Nazi…”

“A Nazi!  What the fuck?!”

“Yes… A Nazi.  Rachel Maddow said that any of you people who blindly follow that man who is not my president, are nothing more than brown shirted thugs that are willing to do anything to support him.”

“Get these people out of my fucking house before I have them thrown out by the cops.”

“Oh yeah, that’s great.  Have the people who stomp on their rights come in and kick them out… Such a humanitarian.  Well I have news for you.  I am married to you… For now… And I will let in whomever I want, when I want.”

Susan came back with a beer and there were suddenly more people in the living room who were related to the people that were initially allowed in.  Susan needed to get more food.  Bob called the police.

Now when the police came, they listened to Susan and then Bob and they had to break the news to Bob that his wife had a right to guests as a home owner.  Bob asked the cops what if the people don’t want to leave.  What if they want to stay?  After all his home was much better and safer than where they came from.  The situation could not be easily resolved.  Bob was so angry about more and more people taking over his home and Susan felt it was humane to share what she had with those who had less.  Susan wanted to take care of them all and when Bob wasn’t around, she would tell them that they had a right to be there and that she would see to it that she share her “privilege” and ensure that they could never be sent away.  Bob would take their things and throw it out on the street and demand that they get the fuck out of his house but when he wasn’t looking or around, they came right back.  Bob wanted to build a wall with a moat and have alligators and big dogs to keep the people out and he told the undocumented residence such.  A bunch of them brazenly told him that they had as much of a right to live in the house as him and that a wall wouldn’t do shit to keep them out.  Things had reached a low point.  Bob hated Susan and Susan hated Bob.  Bob wanted to make his house great again and Susan wanted justice and equality for all.  Eventually this had to go in front of a judge.  The judge looked at both of them after hearing both of their sides and talked to them calmly.

“At some point, you will have to be reasonable people and come to a compromise…”

Bob asked the judge a question.

“And if we don’t come to a compromise?”

The judge responded.

“Well, you risk destroying what you have… And that would be ashamed.”

Detroit 67- The Love Story

June 22, 2018

Felicia sat around the table of her parents Southfield home in suburban Detroit with her husband and two daughters. They had just finished celebrating Felicia’s 50th birthday and we’re sitting around the table talking about mundane, day-to-day things that families talk about when Sally the younger of Felicia’s two daughters, looked at her grandparents and asked how they happened. Sally looked at her smiling grandfather with faded freckles on his face, wearing his Detroit Tigers cap, sipping on lemonade with one hand and holding the hand of his wife beside him. The grandmother, a serene black woman with salt and pepper braids smiled at Sally as Sally looked back at her with the palms of her hands supporting her chin while her elbows rested on the table. Sally thought about the fact that she was 25% black and that her mom was 50% black and that her grandparents were both 100% white and 100% black. Sally had heard the story from her mom but wanted to hear the story from the people who lived it. Grandma Emma’s eyes lit up as she relived the days over 50 years ago.
“I opened the front door to my parents home to find this young man in a nice summer suit and a hat to match. It was late afternoon and just the day before there was a riot not too far away and my cousin was arrested with a whole bunch of people. My momma was down in Mississippi with my brothers and my daddy took off with a shotgun with my two uncles to stand guard over his small grocery store not far from 12th street to make sure it wouldn’t be looted once the riots broke out. The day before, I was at the Fox Theater to see a whole lot of local Motown groups when the show suddenly ended. My daddy waited until I was home and then took off for his store. He told me to stay inside the house and not answer the door. So what did I do? I answered the door…”
Elmer laughed, took a sip of his lemonade and began to give his account of that day.
“I grew up in a town called Fairbury in Nebraska…. I woke up one day and decided that my calling was to get people in this country to vote for Richard Nixon. I went to the state Republican office in Lincoln and they thought it would be a funny idea to send me to Detroit. I never was out of the state before. When I got to Detroit, it might as well have been Mars. In fact the man who sent me from the office in Lincoln, looked at me with his gray flattop haircut and horned rimmed glasses and said to me…. There are a ton of coloreds in Dee-troit that need to learn about the benefits of a Richard Nixon presidency. I got to Detroit and began to ask around where the coloreds lived. I think I musta looked like a Martian to them.”
Emma smiled and took over at a place she felt was right to cut in.
“So I look through the front window and see this young man with literature in his hands. I’m thinking he was one of them Jehovah Witness boys from Australia. I was really hoping it was. I liked their accents so much. I was seventeen at the time but I looked older. I believe your granddaddy was almost 21. He asked if the man of the house was there and then he asked if I was the lady of the house. Since my momma was down in Mississippi, I felt I was the lady of the house. I said I was and then invited him in. He took off his hat and began talking about Richard Nixon. I poured him a Coke on ice… It was so hot outside. He stopped to tell me how hot it was in Nebraska this time of year. Then he paused and told me that I was the first colored person he had ever spoken to in person before. I told him that he was the first and only white boy to ever come and knock on our door… A whole buncha firsts at one time. Now keep in mind my daddy was not going to leave his store until order in the streets could be restored. I asked your grandfather if he knew about the riots going on. The farm boy was oblivious to the unrest.”
Elmer shook his head and looked up at the ceiling as his wife spoke. Emma laughed and Elmer cut back in.
“Your grandmother told me she was 22 and that her fiancé picked up and left her and went to New York. She was 17 and there was no fiancé in New York. It made for a riveting story. She made me something to eat and asked if I would like a gin martini with my supper. I said that I would not have one unless she had one with me. I don’t ever think she had a drink before. So we had a few martinis with dinner and then the phone rang… It was your grandmother’s father checking to make sure she was home and okay. He told her that he would not be coming home until he was sure that his shop was going to be intact. I could hear this from where I was sitting. I offered to stay with your grandmother and protect her as long she was alone. She smiled and said she would like that. We finished eating and then your grandmother put so music on the Hi-Fi. It was mostly Motown dance music but then she put on a Smokey Robinson song called More Love. She came up and took my left hand and put her’s in it and then wrapped my right arm around her waist, put her head on my shoulder and told me to listen to the words. The lights were dimmed and it was close to 9:30pm in the Eastern Time Zone. In Nebraska it would have been dark outside but the sun was just setting. There we were…. Drinking your great- granddaddy’s liquor, eating his food, slow dancing in his living room at dusk with the sound of machine guns and tanks in the back ground and your grandmother asked me to listen to the words.”
Emma began to Sing the words to the song for everyone to hear.
“This is no fiction, this is no fact. I’ll always belong only to you each day. I’ll be living to make sure I’m giving you more love and more joy than age or time could ever destroy.”
Sally nudged her mother and sister Jeanette. The story was surreal. A white man and a young black woman fell in love in Detroit during the week that riots raged on the streets. Him a young Republican from nowhere Nebraska and her a teenaged black girl alone for three days playing house. This was the Prince Charming from every story she ever read. He was the knight on dark nights when unrest had reached it’s boiling point. They fell in love within a week while being alone. Emma’s father returned several days later with a shotgun in hand and found the young white man in his living room watching a ballgame on television. He stood dumbfounded at the site of a young white man sitting in his chair in his house. Elmer rose, extended his hand and told him what his purpose was in being there- discussing Richard Nixon with colored people.

“My daddy told your granddaddy to leave before he shot him. I was sure I was never going to see your granddaddy again. There is a special kind of crazy that happens when you are so in love that you can’t think about anything else except for that person. I was love sick and mopey for days and then about a week later, the most unexpected thing happened.”

Elmer returned with flowers and a ring. The tall black man looked at the young thin white man with flowers and invited him in. He reasoned that if he were to shoot him, it would be best to do it behind closed doors. Once the door closed, Elmer began talking rapidly and nervously.
“Sir… This might sound crazy to you but I have fallen deeply in love with your daughter and would like to ask your permission to marry her. In your absence, I was here with her making sure that no harm came to her. I have the means to take care of her and I aim to…”
“My daddy thought about shooting him and then looked at me. I’m sure I had a stupid in love look in my eye and I’m pretty sure he knew that the possibility of a baby within me was not only possible but probable and so it was… Here’s your momma 50 years later… And life is truly a wondrous thing…. Happily ever after? Mostly.”

 

A Little Different Than Detroit

December 29, 2017

Bill was a bad ass.  He was one of those sixty-year-old men that could
still kick your ass or make love all night without the aid of pills.
He could lift heavy weights and run many miles.  After receiving a
severance package and retiring early from General Motors in suburban
Detroit, Bill decided to take up his daughter Lulu’s invitation to
visit her in Seattle.
Bill liked Seattle but found it a whole other world different than
Detroit.  Bill liked Detroit and when he inherited his parent’s home
east of Telegraph at about 5 Mile, he stayed living in the city.  Bill
had his bar that he would frequent to watch Tiger’s games in the
summer and Red Wing games in the winter.  He had his ten-dollar a
month gym that played ghetto Rap on the Musak and Bill was fine.  In
Seattle, everyone was fit and trim but a little too waif like in that
they all were Vegan, had odd piercings and were militantly opposed to
the president.  Bill voted for Trump and was proud of it.  Bill
surmised early on that there probably was not one person within the
city limits of Seattle that voted for Trump and so he stayed in the
closet about his admiration for his president.
Christmas came and Bill gave Lulu cash and some gift cards to
Starbucks.  Lulu bought her dad a raincoat and told him he could ditch
the umbrella and then she handed him a certificate.  Bill looked at it
and thanked Lulu.  Lulu explained what it was.
“Daddy…  I have a really good friend who is a life coach and I think
the things he helps people with could really help you when you go back
to Detroit.  Try to keep an open mind to this.  It is for sure
something new for you and at your age, new things help you to keep
your mind fresh.  Your body is in great shape but I wonder if your
routine leaves your mind without a challenge sometimes.  Tomorrow my
friend Rolf will be here to begin to work with you.”
Bill was intrigued and so he graciously thanked his daughter and
awaited what was in store for him.  It came at 7 am the following day.
Standing at the door was a wide-eyed gay man with two dimples.  The
expression on his face made the person looking at him open their eyes
wide also.  Bill tried not to be wide eyed too but he couldn’t keep it
up.
“William…  Mondays for the next month, we will not be carnivores.  We
will eat things like lentils and tofu…  Have you had an exam
recently?”
“It’s been a few years…”
“Exactly what I mean.  You probably are eating steak for breakfast in
Detroit… Okay so no meat today.  Tomorrow and the rest of the week,
you will have a choice between rainbow trout, salmon and maybe tuna.
Lu has given me carte blanche to take over the kitchen and create what
you will need…  We will be having green tea with our steamed veggies,
soup and lentil pasta…  Okay next…  We will not be drinking our water
out of plastic bottles.  We do not do that here in Seattle.  The
amount of oil and water needed to make a disposable water bottle is
ridiculous.  Lu already has a purifier and we will be using glass
bottles and being really careful with them…  Okay next …  you probably
are used to eating chips and the like back home for snacks.  I will
provide you with the proper snacks.  I make great Kale chips that we
can have with nut butter and fruit…  All that I provide for you will
be come from fair trade farmers.  We do not need pesticides or to help
anyone looking to kill forests and little creatures that live in
forests just to farm.  We will be visiting the market together and I
am giving you this really awesome reusable sack with containers that
you can clean and reuse at the salad bar…  Okay…  So…  Any organic
waste, we can put in these bags and I have my own compost heap going
where I live in Redmond… And now for the exercising regiment…  Lu
tells me you’re relatively fit for an old timer.”
Bill followed all the things Rolf threw at him regarding saving the
planet and good nutrition.  When it came to exercise, Bill turned the
tables.  Bill could not be tired out by the things Rolf gave him to
do.  Rolf was a bit stymied by Bill.  Usually older men complained and
huffed and puffed.  Bill was barely winded.  Finally after a few
weeks, Bill proposed a change for Rolf.  Bill asked if Rolf would be
game to let Bill run a day from beginning to end.  Rolf smirked and
went along with it.
Bill picked up Rolf in Lulu’s yellow Smart car.  They stopped at a
Starbucks and had lattes with pastries and then drove to the gym.
Bill and Rolf ran two miles at an 8% grade, bench pressed 245 lbs, did
five sets of pull-ups, leg lifts with a 15 lbs. dumbbell and then swam
two miles.  They then drove to a Mexican restaurant outside of town.
Instead of listening to the weird space music with the sound of the
ocean waves crashing in the background, Bill had on the Rush Limbaugh
radio show.  Rush was talking about Trumps achievements and the
collusion between Mueller, Comey, and the former president Obama,
Hillary and a slew of others.  Rolf looked at Bill horrified and
demanded that Bill change the channel.  When Bill wouldn’t do it, Rolf
reached to do it.  Bill grabbed his hand before he changed the
channel.
“If you believe we still live in a democracy, there should always be
the things out there that you don’t agree with that must be accepted
regardless if you agree with the point of view or not.  For a month, I
listened to what you wanted, I ate what you made me eat, I drank what
you made me drink and I kept an open mind to it all.  Now today, it’s
your turn…  You don’t have to agree but you should permit it if you
truly believe in a free society…  Now with that said…  I found a
restaurant way out east with the NHL channel that will have the Red
Wing’s game on and has strippers.  We will be eating Mexican food,
drinking a pitcher of Margaritas and watching ice hockey and some big
tits…  Are we understanding each other?”
Rolf sat with his arms folded on the way to the restaurant.  Once
there, Bill ordered a steak with beans and rice and Rolf had vegetable
fajitas.  Rolf watched his first hockey game on television and
actually liked it as he got liquored up on tequila and watched women
spinning around poles attached to the ceiling.  Bill dropped Rolf off
at his home east of the city.  In the front yard was Rolf’s wife
gardening.  Rolf’s wife was a smallish man who was trying to keep the
bark inside the liner that went around a tree.  He stood to kiss Rolf
and could smell booze and cigar on his glassy eyed husband and
demanded to know what happened.
“Well darling…  I made a deal with a client from out east that I
would put aside the training for a day and live life the way he does.
It consisted of steak, Rush Limbaugh, breasts, ice hockey, tequila and
cigars after lifting weights, running and swimming with a right winged
geriatric hetero…”
“And I’m supposed to be cool with it all?’
Rolf giggled and kissed his wife on the neck, breathing nasty cigar
breath on him as he lead him inside their home.
“Lovely…  I learned today that we don’t need to agree but we should
tolerate…  Or something like that.  So you don’t have to agree with my
day but it would be really awesome if you just took it for what it is,
shut the fuck up and get into that bedroom because for one day only…
There’s a little bit of Detroit going on in daddy.”

Happy Birthday to the White Earth

May 9, 2017

Percy sat in the room with a smile, looking unlike all the others in the room.
Eloise didn’t want her father, who was an assistant to the assistant
to the director of the EPA to discuss the fact that he had voted for
Trump and in a sense, was working for Trump.  She wanted no political
topics, discussions or debates to take place during the party for
their child who was turning one year old.  Little Sarah Mordecai
Terreblanche-Arnofsky.  The name Arnofsky, Jewish and Russian in
origin was the last name of the father, but not the husband of little
Sarah Mordecai’s mother.  Terreblanche, a French name, came from
France, then in the Acadia region of Canada then all the way down to
Louisiana where Eloise was born and raised along with her parents and
their parent’s parents before them.  And the name in English
translates to “White Earth”.  Oh and Mordecai?  Eloise and her husband
did not want to steer their biologically female daughter towards
acceptance of female identity.   They both feel that one day, Sarah
Mordecai should choose what gender she wants to be.  The gifts were
all neutral, most homemade gluten-free and vegan sweets.  The cake was
not really a cake but a bowl of honey mixed with picked fruit and
granola.  One of the Moroccans in attendance brought the recipe over
from North Africa.  In fact three men were playing dissonant sounding
Arabic music in a room with a hookah.
Percy poured himself a glass of wine, went out to the balcony and
looked over towards San Francisco from the condo he paid for in
Oakland.  Percy walked into the living room where all the young people
with their toddlers were sitting on the floor with their children.  A
young couple with ratty, matted dreadlocked hair wore shirts that read
“Resist!” in large letters, their small child also had on an onesie
with the same word on it.   Rainbows, Black lives Matter, Oakland is a
sanctuary shirts.  The guests ate vegan pizza, smelled of some sort of
oil and body odor.  Music indigenous to the middle east played.
Everyone was young and very militant.
Percy went to Oakland Coliseum to watch the A’s play a baseball game
earlier that weekend.  He wore a green and yellow shirt with a green
A’s hat.  The television in the living room had no volume on a
baseball game was on.  Percy ate carrot sticks and watched the game.
A young man in a beard, who shook his head a lot up and down, pulled
down at his beard and decided to engage Percy in conversation.
“I’m guessing this whole things ain’t your scene, man…  Everyone was
on edge wondering who the square was.  Maybe ICE.  Maybe FBI”
“Oh, I don’t know, young man… Square things can be a little round at
times…  You’re close.  I’m with the EPA”
The young guy laughed at the levity and tapped Percy’s knee in
approval thinking that Percy was only joking about being from the EPA.
Percy wasn’t joking.
“I looked at your whole get up man, and I was intrigued.  I mean
like, I just needed to know where you’re coming from, your bag, your
perspective.  You’re wearing baseball stuff and all.  I’m looking at
you and I’m thinking you look like the type that might have voted for
Trump…  So did you?  Are you part of the NRA?  Are you against a
woman’s right to have abortions?  Do you deny global warming?”
Percy lifted his glass of wine like he was toasting the young man,
took a drink, tilted his head to the side, adjusted his horn rimmed
glasses and gave a cryptic answer that only drew the young man more to
him.
“  Sonny…  I’m working with a realtor as we speak.  I’m trying to
find prime land on the equator on Mars.  I want a warm spot like
Phoenix…  You know like a balmy minus 10… Did you know?  No, you
couldn’t possibly know…  Anyway…I was raised in a house by a black
lady back in the early seventies who did all the cooking.  She had a
wide space between her two front teeth and she had bout twenty cats
running round the place.  If you wanted to finish your food, you
didn’t dare give a crumb to the cats til you were done.  If you did,
them cats would be all over you.  I had a mom and several men that
were suitors of some sort that courted my mom.  We lived in a home
where everyone contributed something and we ate together and the
adults hated the war and Nixon…  Did you ever live in a house like
that?  These were real Hippies.  They fucked each other in a loving
way, took a lot of dope and shared.  The music was good and people
really hated the president, the government and the establishment.  Can
you dig that a square like me was raised like that?  When you were a
tadpole in your daddy’s nutsack, my mom wore no bra, slept with
colored men with real Afros and wanted equal rights for women…  Now
this is the truth.  No bullshit, young fellow…  If abortion had been
legal in Illinois in 1965, I would not be sitting here talking to you
right now.  Yes sir…  I’m the son of a true, died in the wool, love
child.  She was only 15 at the time, if you can fathom that deep
thought…  Remember that nothingness is an experienced reality and
existence is transitory and fragile.
The young bearded man forgot that he had asked Percy whom he had
voted for and went on to describe an upper middle class upbringing in
a gated subdivision.
“Wow, young man.  That is truly a white milk, middle class,
homogenous, vitamin D, insulated life you lead.  Do you remember the
first black person you saw in real life?”
“It was probably at Dodger’s stadium in third grade…”
“Far out, man… I grew up practically a poor black child although you
would not know it to look at me…I grew up listening to Smokey Robinson
and Sly and the Family Stone.  We had a thing going on not unlike
Jonestown in Guyana.   Very cult like not unlike what is happening
today.  Free speech is acceptable as long as I agree with what you’re
saying,,,  Color didn’t matter.  Status didn’t matter…  You know, man?
People dying in Afghanistan and Iraq since before you could grow
whiskers and nobody cares if those young guys trying to make to the
end so that they can get their dough and go to college.  Nobody
protests the fact that we’re in a state of constant war.  Trump is the
problem…  Right?”
“Right on, man…  You said it!”
“Let it be soon, don’t hesitate…  Make it now, don’t wait.  Open your
heart and let my love come in.  I want a moment to stop when I can
fill your heart more love and more joy than age or time could ever
destroy…”
“That is some deep fucking shit, bro…”
“Yeah?  You can thank Smokey for that one…  Thing is that once the
war ended and people came home, shit began to fall apart.  Everyone
was worried about their shit…  It’s cool to take a stand when you have
food and shelter.  When you don’t have that shit…  Well, now…  It’s
survival of the fittest.  Origin of species, only the strong survive
and so on…  That’s just how it is.  A fire breaks out in this condo,
who lives?  Those with the best fight or flight response.  There are
people dying of famine in refegee camps in Africa…  Children dying and
some chubby white dude trying to win a Pulitzer is snapping off photos
of a kid about to die…”
“You’re one deep motherfucker…  Really man.  I mean, you show up here
and I think you’re going to be about as flat as the wall over here and
you’re deep as the ocean…  Keep talking , man.  I dig your vibe…  Do
you smoke?”
“The young man lit a joint and held it out to share with Percy.
“Not anymore, son.  I only smoke salmon now…  Where was I?  Old
people have issues with short-term memory loss.  Could have years of
smoking doobies as a youngster.”
Percy paused to hug his daughter who walked by with the baby in tow.
The young bearded man begged Percy to continue to talk.
“Man is condemned to be free; because once thrown into the world, he
is responsible for everything he does. It is up to you to give life a
meaning.  Better to die on one’s feet than to live on one’s knees and
that has nothing to do with submission or some homosexual
tendencies…  I’m cool with whatever you’re into, man… Freedom is
what we do with what is done to us… Putting your business in the
street, talking out loud… You better bring the chick around to the
sad, sad truth… The dirty lowdown.”
Percy mixed Boz Scaggs with Sartre and looked the young man into his
eyes like he was way out there.  The young man had no idea that the
old man was just yanking his chain, pulling his leg, putting him on.
After the Moroccan treat and ice cream, presents and singing, Happy
Birthday, Percy decided it was time to leave his daughter’s home that
he paid for.  Percy made it possible for his daughter to teach
philosophy at a junior college and still have a nice place to live
with her boyfriend whose job it was to try and stop ICE agents from
gathering up and deporting illegal aliens.  Undocumented…  You know
what I mean.
The young bearded man followed Percy out to a rented convertible car
and asked how he felt about President Trump.  Percy revved up the
engine on the rented eight cylinder Dodge…  A huge gas-guzzler.
“Son…  When you bought the boat and you’re rowing the boat, you’ll
take offense to those that will coast at your expense…  Just remember
this- Richard Nixon might have been the best suited man to have ever
been given the job of president…  Think about that and wonder why I
would say such a thing…  Some writers I know are damned devils.  From
them I say don’t believe the hype.  Their pens and pads I’ll snatch
coz I’ve had it…  Don’t … Don’t believe the hype… Peace be with you…
Man…”

What Hath God Wrought or A Trump Tweet

December 22, 2016

Donald Trump…  You know, the guy nobody believed would become
president of the United States.  The great white hope. Brexit in
America, grab them by the pussy…  That dude.  He happened to watch an
MTV snippet of  resolution suggestions for white guys.  Trump
impetuously grabbed his cell phone, an I-Phone7+ that he received from
Rush Limbaugh as a gift for winning the presidency and decided to
record himself rebutting the millennial advice to white guys.  Very
unpresidential but damn funny.
“I happened to be up late wondering what I would do exactly if one of
our diplomats was whacked while giving a speech or if some exile from
Syria stole a plumbing truck from some poor Polish plumber in Windsor,
Ontario and decided to mow down people figure skating to, “It’s
beginning to look a lot like Christmas” in downtown Detroit.  Find
them and skin them alive?  Put them in Gitmo and play, Born in the USA
night and day in between waterboarding?  Slap Angela Merckle the way
Humphrey Bogart would have slapped a dame back when America was great?
Ah yes…Eisenhower, GM, IBM, unbridled American growth and prosperity…
Before the Beatles grew their hair and everyone smoked pot and hated
their parents for living through the Great Depression, fighting in
World War II and Korea, raised them wholesome and homogenously with
two vacations a year, just so that they could make love to whomever
and hate their parents for not liking Jimi Hendrix… And then I saw a
clip from MTV.   Today you got a whole lot of bust outs living in mom
and dad’s basement, playing beer pong and getting wasted playing
X-Box.  These are the same tools that when they get up to take a piss,
decide to go out and protest the fact that I won…  You know who I’m
talking about.  MTV put them on a recorded message to white guys.  Get
a little more aware, a little more hip and a little less white.  It
starts out with a wholesome looking white chap with a few nose
freckles who waves his hand as a gesture of hello but not a gesture
any person of color would ever do…  Why?  To damn white.  It smacks of
I’m a little pussy, cut in front of me in line, wet your finger and
jam it in my ear, take food you desire off of my plate and sodomize me
if you please.  Then you have the son of Steve Urkel, wearing a cat
shirt.  A nerdy black man who is in the know on what white guys need
to do in 2017…  Holy Smokes!  Then you get the poster boy for Michelle
Obama’s get-the-fuck-out-and-exercize-you-lazy-fat-fuck who looks like
the fat son of that hot Spanish chick, Sonia Veraga.  Next you have
Ugly Betty and Betty’s better looking sister and then the girl who
defected from her violin lessons and really thinks being white sucks…
Maybe she’ll date a black guy she was a pen pal to in prison with a
nice neck tattoo, gold-capped tooth and saggy trousers.  To his dismay
this modern day, Look Who’s Coming to Dinner might find out that white
momma wants to bag her daughter’s bad boy and white poppa’s decided to
switch teams during his mid-life crisis and grow a set of breasts,
crop his junk and learn to garden and cry at things that really don’t
warrant a tear while watching The View. Meanwhile Tyrone, Tramane,
Trayvon or what have you, might slip the hood on his hoodie at his
dinner, surrounded by dysfunctional white suburbia family worthy of
Jerry Springer and text one of his homies his shock and awe at how
white people really are and send the same damn message that Samuel
Morse wrote on his first message on the telegraph- What Hath God
Wrought?  And meanwhile back at the ranch…  We get advice to white
guys.    This just in… Soccer isn’t really a sport and if you played
it as a kid and got a trophy for just showing up, I got bad news for
you…  You probably didn’t win.  You thought I would lose and I didn’t.
Stop blaming Russians and Wiki Leaks for a flawed candidate.  Accept
that some times what you believe is not the ultimate truth despite
what a college professor might have spewed to you…  January 20th is
coming soon.  Make a resolution in the New Year to accept reality
instead of some virtual, alternative thing people have told you is
possible.  Okay…  I think that’s good.  Barron, did you hit the stop
button?”

Donald Does Detroit or Let Them Eat Fluff

March 8, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

STAY IN SCHOOL AND PROVE TO THE WORLD THAT YOU CAN GET A DEGREE AND WHETHER YOU DO SOMETHING WITH THAT DEGREE OR WIPE YOUR ASS WITH IT, PROVE TO THOSE ABOVE YOU THAT YOU ARE WORTHY TO BE GIVEN A CHANCE TO RISE IN THIS CRUEL WORLD.  DRUGS ONLY MASK THE FACT THAT YOU HATE YOUR LIFE AND WANT TO GO TO A BETTER PLACE IN YOUR OWN FUCKING HEAD IF ONLY TEMPORARILY…  WHO WANTS TO BE SOMEONE’S BITCH IN PRISON?  WHO WANTS TO GET SHOT UP ON THE STREET?  I DON’T MEAN TO YELL BUT I WANT YOU TO KNOW I MEAN WHAT I SAY.”

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

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

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

La Vie Noir

February 3, 2016

I knew when I opened the door and saw Raymond’s eyes, I had to accept things like a man.  Nowhere to hide, nothing to say except maybe to explain that it was all on me.  I keep this diary with me and I’m not really sure who is ever going to read this.  Some copper and then he’ll pass it along to my mother.  Who knows about those things.  When you’re gone, you’re just gone.  I’m getting cold and things are getting distant and fuzzy.  It’s hard to focus.  I’ll try to get this out while I can.

                I came in the joint as I always did.  You know the place- dark with the piano music going.  Some couples whisper to one another, others sit there with that look like they don’t want to be approached but yet are itching for conversation.  That night, Benny was playing Mona Lisa by Nat King Cole.  Benny plays a little piano and sings and then takes out his trumpet with the mute and softly solos over a few chords held by his left hand on the piano.  Benny has a talent for music and a knack for making people feel at ease.  A nice voice, a nice smile and everyone’s best friend.  I dropped a five in Benny’s jar and asked what he thought.

                “She ain’t like most, boss.  Something different bout this one…  You land this one and I think you really got something…  But I could be wrong.”

                Benny was never wrong.  A man sitting at a piano captures certain nuances in the way a person looks, how they sit, what they drink and the look on their faces.  Benny is there for their entertainment but really he’s studying human nature nightly and gets paid for it.  I sat a few stools over from her and made like I was really interested in Curling.  She looked engrossed.  At a commercial, she took a sip of her red wine and asked me what I knew about Curling.

                “It’s something that some people do and …  Well, everyone has got to do something.  Some people go to piano bars in the dark so that nobody really sees them or see what they’re thinking.  There is some comfort in darkness.  Everything doesn’t need to have the light cast on it…  You know what I mean?”

                She smiled a sly smile and looked at me with those sad eyes.  She was everything a man could ever want in a woman.  She was a rare beauty, calm and refined.  She had the type of body that sculptors hope to sculpt. 

                “That’s a profound answer regarding a really obscure sport…  I like it though.”

                I bought her a drink and had another.  I learned her name was Gretchen and that she spent a lot of time drawing things that she felt and then wrote things to go with the drawings.  She would sell her creations through an art dealer.  She never let me know how she made her money.  She asked me what I did.  I told her that I was in to research and development.  I used round about ways of getting to the point and she rather enjoyed analogies and philosophies.  I wanted so much to move over one more seat.  I was drawn in and could not stop it.  Dames don’t usually do this to me.  I like them and some times love them a bit but then things develop that complicates things and then things just change.  When they become routine and predictable, you have nothing.  People force themselves to slug along knowing that they’re going against the grain because they are conditioned to find someone, marry that someone, have some kids, form a family and feel like they belong to something and maybe have something but then like ole Raymond, what do you have in the end?  I’m getting ahead of myself.

                Gretchen asked if I would be interested in seeing her artwork.  How could I resist.  What do I know about art?  Nothing, but then again I was taken in.  We left the club and went up an elevator to a penthouse that overlooked the whole city of Detroit.  A bunch of lights along the river and then a lot of darkness and that’s just how it is in Detroit.  She showed me easels of gray, sad but beautiful sketches of a profile of a girl in a field, on a swing, at the beach.  I was tempted to ask if the girl was her.  I didn’t want to be so simple.  I think she liked that I was abstract and you can’t be abstract and obvious. 

                Gretchen put on an Edith Piaf record on her hi-fi and poured us each a drink.  She put the drink up to my lips and then set it down on a table beside us.  She gently took my hand and put it on the small of her back and leaned into me.  In an instant it all felt as though it was meant to be.  The smell of her, the feel of her.  I was drawn in so strong. 

                I left some time during the middle of the night.  I didn’t think it would be right to be there in the light of day. Nobody wants regret or the awkwardness of having to say something, to force something.  There’s a right way the first time.  You hope to plant a seed and see if it grows. Things change when you put light on it.  I left my name and number on a piece of paper.  I sketched a boy sitting near a pond on the paper with a few words.

                “It’s rare you meet someone that fits so well, so much so that you can’t use words.  I enjoyed the evening and believe I would enjoy other evenings just as much.”

                I slept on the couch and woke to the sound of my phone ringing.  It was Raymond.  Raymond had questions for me.  There was hesitation in my voice and I felt I sounded insincere to him.  He offered to pay me for my time and I told him there was no charge.  Maybe that was the red flag.  I didn’t give it much thought and why should I when I had Gretchen on my mind.  Whenever my mind went blank or had time to rest, my thoughts went back to Gretchen.  I thought about the feel of her body against mine, her smile, her voice and her touch.  I wanted badly to see her and then I heard from her.

                “I make the best food a man could ever hope to eat.  I make the food, you bring the wine.”

                Gretchen wanted to see me as much as I wanted to see her.  Beginnings are always good and fresh and unpredictable.  The loving was above average, the companionship was everything a man could hope for and yet in the back of my mind, I knew this all couldn’t last.

                The older I get, the more I realize that things are transitory.  Things come and go and you take them for what they are and go on.  Gretchen wasn’t fading in my heart and I didn’t want it to end.  Men say they know what love is and I can’t say I do.  I could no more explain love than I could air.  I just know the two are things you need and when everything is good, you don’t have to worry about them.

                Gretchen suspected that the cleaners were at the door delivering her clothes.  She was getting ready to go out.  We were taking a boat ride on the Detroit River late night.  I opened the door to find a sweating Raymond with his tie twisted.  His teeth were gritted and he panted as he walked towards me.  He called for Gretchen to come out of the bedroom.  She emerged from the room wide eyed at Raymond who stood in front of her with a gun.

                “Raymond…  Why are you doing this?  There’s no reason for this.”          

                Gretchen was wrong.  There’s always a reason for everything and things like a jealous ex-husband with a gun, can be explained.  Raymond hired me and I couldn’t take the job.  I told him that there was nothing for him to worry about and so Raymond hired a detective to expose a detective.  Raymond’s lifeless body lays a few feet from me and there is Gretchen in my lap while I lean against the wall as I scribble into my notebook.  Should I call for an ambulance?  Will life ever get better than what it has been lately since I met Gretchen?  Probably not.  In fact I know it won’t.  If this is as good as it gets, then why go on?  I reached the top of the mountain and it’s beautiful.  Maybe it’s time to just let go and jump…  Give my best to mother.  That’s all.

Racial Profile- Detroit Style

April 20, 2015

You’ve seen this before- two lesbians with a black child that has hair like Buckwheat from The Little Rascals taking a photo with the crying child on Santa’s lap at some mall, somewhere safe in suburban America. Some of you think- It’s great that that little boy has a mommy and mommy to take care of them and love them unconditionally. Others of you think- when that child hits puberty and wants to fit in somewhere among his peers and identify with something that represents who they are, how many times will they hear from others who look like them, WTF?

Rich, well-to-do white people unable to travel a day by train from Moscow any longer to adopt a white child from an orphange in a region of the former Soviet Union which was closer to Fairbanks than Leningrad. Children from Europe, Asia, Central and South America are hard to come by but for some reason, black children either domestic or foreign seem to be plentiful. Occasionally the thought will come to someone- Can black people adopt white children?

Slip Hip Willy was born and raised in a part of Detroit nobody ever visits or sees unless they live or work there. Willy was left in an apartment crying and crying. Back then his name was Michael or Bob or Steven. Nobody is quite sure. Velma never said a word to anyone about entering the apartment below and finding a dead white woman next to a dead black man. It was grizzly- blood, organs sticking out of flesh and flesh attached to blood splattered walls. It was nasty. In the living room on the couch was a small crying boy with blond hair. Velma scooped the boy up and loved him and raised him and life was great for the young boy and his mother who could not conceive a child on her own. Willy’s mother and care giver passed on at a young age from cancer when Willy was a little more than eight years old. Willy went to live a plethora of questionable family members all over Detroit. Willy culturally lived like any other poor black child in a poor area of the poorest big city in the United States- he stole, gambled, took drugs, sold drugs, owned pit bulls, tried Rapping and did jail time several times. So how did Slip Hip Willy get his name, get his fame and fortune and a night club in downtown Detroit? Here’s how it happened.

Handsome Hank raised and sold pit bulls to guys who wanted to make a few bucks. Handsome hired Willy upon getting out of prison to gather up stray cats and dogs to feed to starving fighting pit bulls. Willy would get $50.00 per animal. Word got out about domestic pets being taken from suburban people out on walks. It was on 8 Mile heading east towards Schoener that two Detroit officers saw two gray poodles chained to a pole out in front of a party store/gas station. The sight of two dogs better suited for dog shows than a stroll in Detroit, piqued the interest of Officers Jones and Johnson. Willy came out of the party store with a 40 ounce of Olde English 800 in a paper bag, eating a giant pickle. The two small dogs followed Willy willingly as he ate and drank and walked south of 8 Mile on a side street. Willy had blond corn rows and an oversized Pistons jersey over a plain white t-shirt and a sagging pair of jeans and really white gym shoes. The officers drove along side Willy who was slightly high and slightly drunk. Willy was rapping some inaudible profane lyrics to a rap song you and I never heard of as well as the two former military officers who were part of Detroit’s finest. They asked Willy about the two dogs.

“If I had motherfucking pitbulls, y’all woulda bin up my ass bout having fighting dogs… I got me a dog walking business. I walk dogs foh rich motherfuckers who work during the day and I’m fittin to take dem home soon.”

The officers offered to take Willy by car to the home of the people who hired him to walk their dogs. They knew it was bullshit and Willy was too fucked up to think of something better. He resorted to what he saw black men do with white officers when they’re dead wrong- disrespect authority.

“Man… Fuck you two Uncle Tom motherfuckers. You think you almost white cause you got you a job, a gun and a badge. I ain’t doin shit and you fuckin wid me. I’m fittin to git this shit on my cell phone. Y’all want to see another riot in Detroit? Fuck with me and see what happens.”

The cops destroyed Willy’s cell phone after they tried to cuff him and he fought back. He pushed down one of the two cops to the ground and took off running with the poodles. Officer Jones shot Willy four times in the left buttocks until he fell and writhed as if he was about to perish. Willy didn’t die. The poodles ate his pickle while will laid in a puddle of blood and Olde English 800. It was an open and shut case. A potential dog thief resisted arrest and was shot in the ass trying to flee. A group of men drinking on the front porch of a nearby house filmed the whole episode on their phones. The audio was in audible which was Willy’s fortune and the city of Detroit’s misfortune. A short balding Jewish lawyer with a high-pitched, nasal voice, sold a jury on the fact that Willy was a victim.

“Willy Johnson found the dogs chained up and tried to reason with the officers that he had in fact, found the animals and was inquiring as to whether there was a reward. A poor man raised in inner city Detroit was nothing more than profiled as a thief because of his prior record… Was it necessary for the officers to discharge their weapon at a man fleeing with two small dogs in tow? Was it necessary to shoot not once but four times? Something is wrong with our system when the law becomes unlawful, when the law becomes the judge and jury. Mr. William Johnson will never walk properly again because of this incident and why? I ask you why? Was either officer’s life in danger?”

Slip Hip Willy walked with a jive bounce due to the fact that he had several bullets lodged into nerves around his hip. It was a cool guy, old-time pimp bounce. Nobody looked at Willy’s limp as anything more than a cultural bounce. Willy collected 50 million dollars from the financially strapped city of Detroit. Of course his attorney collected his 33% right of the top but it was still a miracle of life.