Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Voice From the Back

“You have to be kidding me,” I said. “Right out in the open like that?”

“No, man,” replied African Joe, his Nigerian lilt heavily accenting the no and minimizing the man. “Not right out in the open. It was in the back where it’s dark.”

“Aren’t there cameras back there?”

“No cameras, man. Cameras are all outside that back door. No inside.”

“Shit.” I ran a palm over my head, which my Russian barber had buzzed the hell out of that afternoon at my request. “Twice a month?”

“At least twice a month. Sometimes more. Never less.”

“That never happened to me. Never.”

“Dat’s because you always up at the front, man,” he said. “You never inside anymore with us. Mebbe you come inside sometimes, you can do it too!”

“Goddamn, man. I wouldn’t even know how to go about doing that. How the fuck do you even start that process in front of everybody like that?"

“It helps to be black, my friend.”

“Oh, shit. It’s always white chicks, right?”

African Joe laughed at this, displaying a mouthful of cheap gold caps he’d had installed in England.

“Yes,” he replied, “eets always the white women.”

“How the fuck do you do that?”

They come up to me, man. They come up and say ting like, ‘Is it true what dey say about the black man?’ And I say, ‘Is what true?’ And then they start talk about the deek!”

“Could that be any more fucking stereotypical?” I asked.

“Then I ask them if they want to feel it, and sometimes I put their hand on it so they can see.”

“And then they start blowing you?”

“One thing lead to another, man. You know how ting go.”