An earnest and oh-so-sincere voice came over the car radio. "Hi, my name's Jennifer. I was in the Marines for eight years -"
My hand slams off the radio before she can speak another word. "Shut up, stupid bitch!" Eight years in the military and she's still playing the stooge? And I can tell her idiot ass wants to ask the same of me. Life's too short for that shit.
"Damn, Harry! Sometimes I think you're more hardcore than me."
That was Ro speaking, a criminal even back then, back before I'd started blogging. If he could read of my "peace, love and understanding" mantra now I'm sure he'd bust my balls because he only saw me in my day-to-day misery where I can't politely subsidize the idiocy of the world and I call every person who cuts me a off a cocksucking nigger. Still, he knew I was a pacifist at heart and like most people he mischaracterized that as something it's not. It doesn't mean I'm here to take shit.
Rolando didn't want to take shit, either.
I debated writing this but my words cannot be heard anyway. Not a soul alive can face that prospect - not even me. So I will say things that under other circumstances would be explosive but here they are no more than leaves blown in the wind.
Rolando shot a guy in an attempted drug deal rip off. If the moron had known Ro better he'd known he was going to end up on the short end of the stick. Ro is nothing if not committed. He tried to recruit me back in the day.
"C'mon, Harry. You gonna stay in that crap job forever, being a sucker?"
"It's not like I'm fucking happy about it."
"The world is all about taking. Either you taking cash or taking shit. You keep thinking it's anything more your life will be a total waste."
"It's already a waste."
"But I can't go down your road. In for a penny, in for a pound. I can't live my life waiting to die."
"You die every day pushing that broom, hombre."
When he says "hombre" he's about to get philosophical on you. I demurred. "I've got a cat."
"Good for you. Want to keep feeding it?"
"I can't let anything happen to me, no matter how much shit I have to eat. She is my revenge against the world, for one goddam creature on this goddam earth to have a goddam good life."
This is why 43, 44, 45, et al. can all go fuck themselves.
That made him laugh and eventually he gave up trying. He said I'd be a great ally because I was smart and can read people well. But I knew my heart would have to be in it for me to succeed, plus I saw it as an eventual trap. Now, however, I wonder of my choices.
I have nothing. I've never had anything. I never will. We are de facto slaves in this country just like any other. The-powers-that-be want to keep us on this treadmill or God forbid they'll have to empty their own damn trash can. I find it harder to argue with Ro's world view as I age.
What is sudden death compared to a slow death? With a slow death you never live. With a sudden death you live but it can be cut off at any moment. I told myself I was taking a moral high road, but was I?
My frustration is immeasurable. True, I don't want to have to be in a position to kill someone but on the other hand we're all in that position whether we like it or not. Murderous policies are put in place every day. How many of them have our implicit fingerprints? No such thing as a bloodless capitalist. We are in the process of having that revealed more every day. One can argue Ro is taking a more adult position than I am.
Better to be honest and direct about my killing. What point is there to life as a puppet on a string? There is none - and can be none. How many famous poor people do you know? Slaves are never heard. We as a society will never be rich enough to afford to listen to them.
I feel the same rage as Ro. We are both outsiders, ill-fitting parts by virtue of having a brain that can only serve as we see fit. One is expected to whore oneself out as one's "duty". The legal whores persecute the illegal whores to "prove" their morality. Let's face it, the only reason a whore is running this country is because we're a nation of whores. I can't say I'd not be a whore given the opportunity. I've yet to face it to know.
"You're buying a fucking suit?"
I took it as a betrayal of sorts by Ro. He was up and coming in the drug trade and wanted to show off. I wouldn't have bought a suit even had I won the lottery. I knew I was being selfish - just didn't care.
"Damn right, I am! One I told you about last week. I ain't dying in no blue jeans."
"Oh, you don't want to get a suit, man."
Nothing riled Ro more than telling him what he did or did not want. I was laughing behind my straight face. "Don't be tellin' me what I want! That suit be fine!"
"Nah, man. You don't want a suit."
"Shut up, Harry. You don't know what the fuck you're talking about."
"I know exactly what I'm talking about. When this world ends - and believe me it's coming to a fucking end no matter what the morons and monsters say - the people who are going to bring its final destruction will all be wearing suits. You can't hide evil in this world without wearing a suit."
I was only semi-tongue-in-cheek but proclaimed it as the one and only gospel. Ro loved my outrageous tone.
"You funny, man. You got no more use for those assholes than me. But I'm still getting that suit!"
I cracked a smile. "Yeah...you're right. When I was talking about suits, I didn't mean ones made of purple leather."
So is Rolando is facing responsibility more than I as I sit here bitterly wanting a Maserati and financial security? He's taking ownership of his wicked ways, facing the world for what it is instead of giving it a false morality to be served. Most would say between I as a janitor and he as a criminal that only I am being responsible. But I have come full circle. I've been lying to myself that by not breaking the law that makes me a "good guy". I haven't done what I wanted - and that leaves my insides as cold as the winter ice. Ro has done far more what he wanted than I have, for sure.
I'm destined for a fool's fate. To be a part of the working poor is to be a part of the most hated class in America. Oh, TPTB fall all over themselves praising us with their lips because they fear more than death itself to lose our slave labor, but our treatment is one of contempt, a vicious drive to persecute us for their dependency on us. Oh, you noble Romans, no wonder you put Nero in charge. Our chains weigh heavier every day and our woe is heard not even by God. Moses only comes once.
What path is open to me now? Part of me wonders of joining Ro. Some of the times I felt most alive were when driving around DFW highways with him, seeing the roads in a new and exciting light as I stepped outside the law to breathe the free air. It was like being in a completely different world. Ro refused to be a man on a string. But on the other hand, as that shooting pointed out, none of us are ever completely free and almost everyone takes some sort of refuge from the world.
No road seems right to me having slapped away the hand of possible success. I see towering skyscrapers gleaming in the Texas sun as proud monuments, and though I know those who inhabit those buildings lack my intelligence, I know I am only there to clean them. I would say that's criminal.