June 19, 2009

Osama Sucks



This guy behind the counter after midnight in the convenience store I use because it’s convenient is a bad duck…stolid and solid quiet as a sniper straight as a soldier...an Arab Malcolm X (he wishes)...what he imagines is superior dignity trying to stand like a general but Abbie did it better...ramrod straight Abbie Hoffman stood...and looking like he’s only waiting for orders to jump across the counter and cut my throat…a Palestinian who tells people when he tells them anything that he’s Egyptian…maybe his family took refuge from the dumbass Israelis in Egypt...I knew better having actually looked at Egyptians with a curious eye…another guy confirms he’s Palestinian…well if you know me you know I support them…I go in and out of the place almost everyday...their cigarettes are cheaper and nobody minds me using the bathroom…I have taken actual Superman-quick baths there standing naked ridding body of work grime…sanding dust paint caulk glue…I have this fucked-up lifestyle down to a science…they never know… I leave bathroom cleaner than it was…I spend a lot of money there…cigarettes gas candy Fritos coffee gloves and those damned Starbucks frappacinos I was addicted to…one month in NJ a few years ago I spent $129 on them!...saved the receipts...dampened my enthusiasm…anyway this guy behind the counter after midnight till five…I can see he feels superior to me…doesn’t deign to answer when I ask him friendly-like where he’s from…they all are from somewhere else except the white woman who’s on pills…every time I go in he cops an attitude…very cold impersonal businesslike with me especially…not only am I American not only am I white not only am I old I'm probably a Christian that's how much he knows...on top of that he knows I'm a loner and nobody really likes a loner…tribal outcasts some of us actually hate football...one night I see him all-friendly giving a freebee to a black guy…making allies…forging an alliance…I would…the enemy of my enemy is my friend and all that…he treats women with distant aloofness bordering on disdain...you can see he doesn’t like white guys…nobody does...I don’t like most of them either…the place has Arabs mostly but also Russians Serbs Mauritanians the like…one guy in 2001 when I came back here a week after 9-11 told me when I asked that he was from Kandahar in Afghanistan…about when we invaded…his eyes were deader than hell looking at me…I would have felt the same way but it gave me the creeps.



didn’t have a clue I had demonstrated against the dumbass Afghanistan War…looked exactly like a dude in a red/white checked headscarf they were looking for...I called the FBI on him...he disappeared a few days later...for all I knew they took him to Arabia and cut off his dick...I don't care he looked at me like I was a corpse...and I didn't do it motherfucker I'm against it...gimmie a chance here talk to me I can show you it's not us it's the fucking government...being an alert citizen I thought...if he's not a killer he should be all right...of course I didn't know about Guantanamo or Abu Graib back then neither did you...I’m not jingo or racist but I wasn't taking any chances back then neither were you...I’m interested in them all…meet them tell them what little I know about their countries inquire for knowledge…I listen carefully ask questions and learn…some of them like me…some of the Arabs and one Russian are very pleasant & intelligent…I see their confusion about the United States and sympathize…I'm confused about the son of a bitch too...I want the America of John Adams not Jefferson Davis.



I help them with the lingo…try to explain the unexplainable…we have cordial relations…I stand a few minutes discussing things if the place is empty…then one will disappear…someone will say he went back to Iraq…or Egypt…wherever…one guy who was from this place in Russia I’d never heard of vanished…I liked him the best…he described his little country thoroughly in good English…looked it up on the Internet…interesting…beautiful scenery…what was the name of that place?...Dagestan...listen I know these guys all over town...all over the country!...I live in fucking convenience stores...if you know me you know I get in real conversations with people almost everywhere I go...I'm like a counter-phobic you know...afraid of heights I'm always the guy at the top of a forty foot ladder...I don't like most people I admit it but I'm always involved with them...even if only for a minute or two...what's the sense in all this trivial conversation...I don't say hey how do you like the weather...I say hey what is it like back in Palestine...listen that's a fucking crime what America has done to you people and I am dead-set against it and on your side buddy...sometimes their eyes bug out...where did this dude come from?



One night I go into the store after midnight in a manic mood from having worked since dawn painting this impossible New Orleans sty…mildewed to the max crap all over the walls…worked my ass off then the dude didn’t show with the cash see him tomorrow…I’m a little pissed off...nearly broke...feeling combative and I am tired of this guy’s superior-acting shit…I go in…three fat-assed private black cops in their greens with guns standing around outside as usual…they patrol the Garden District but spend most of their time shooting the shit drinking coffee and scarfing donuts in a parking lot …I go in get coffee need cigarettes I’ll be up all night writing…he’s talking on a cell-phone completely ignoring me I’m the enemy...I lay my coffee on the counter and wait…and wait…and wait...he talks on in Arabic…Islamic music is coming from a CD player somewhere…I like this music…it moves…it’s exotic…you know I like that babe…the everyday humdrum pap-ular music today bores the crap out of me…so I’m listening and waiting but he’s getting on my nerves...it’s like five minutes I’m keeping cool but can’t he multi-task…it’s a deliberate insult…okay motherfucker I think…you want to play the dozens I'll show you an insult…finally he finishes turns to me…I’m looking at him with hooded eyes by now…I look right in his eyes the whole time pay my fine take the change…but he puts cigarettes just beyond my reach on his side of the counter…well I strained my lower back muscles real bad not long ago reaching over just like that to pick up something light...nearly crippled for a week...so I pick them up carefully and say “Osama sucks”.I watch him start to melt down…aha…I found his button no problem at all…and pushed it…he likes Osama and doesn’t like us.

“What?”

“Osama sucks.”

I look him dead in the eye.

“Why do you say this?”

“Because he just does that’s all. He’s a phony religious hypocrite asshole murdering son of a bitch.”

He moves his hand below the counter...I wonder if the son of a bitch is going to shoot me...I turn to leave…the door is locked…Ha, ha!...he not only is blowing his cover he's locked me in!...taken me prisoner!...holding me for interrogation!...for saying Osama sucks!...in the United States of America!...he’s not in Kansas anymore but hasn’t snapped to it yet…I look at him sideways and say Open this door.

“Why do you say this?” he demands.

I am about to bust out laughing at him losing his cool…the cares of the day wane as my star is rising from the east.

I say because he does man now open the door…he asks same question again…I turn and rap three times hard on the glass door to get a cop’s attention…one turns and approaches…door magically opens…I walk out in a hurry to get to my writing place…cop says what’s the matter...I say I told him Osama sucks and he locked me in…I bust out laughing walking to my rolling home…I look back the cop goes in talking...I hear the guy explaining...aggrieved...tells cop He said Osama sucks…I hear the cop say he does suck…I break up getting in the van sipping coffee lighting a blessed cigarette... driving away laughing harder and harder toward Lower Garden District bar where I wrote this…then I met this director of a play…one of the best nights of my existence…the guy disappeared about a month later…I didn’t ask where he went…other dudes are glad he’s gone…so am I.

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