The black people won’t stop coming. One after the other I kill them. I dole out a torrent of hyper-accurate punches, kicks and head-butts. I take blow after blow in return – to my face, body, kidneys and spleen – but in the end I vanquish the mother-fuckers. I’m the one left standing atop my assailant’s corpse. Still, there’s always another black man behind the one I’ve just bested.
I find myself at one point expertly wielding nun-chucks. I fight one dude into submission; knocking his head repeatedly – left, right, left, right, left – he finally falls and I step over him. He’s managed to stab me in the side somewhere along the way. I stomp his head once and it is decisive; game over for him. A bloody fucking mess.
Despite the stab-wound, I keep moving. I enter a pedestrian tunnel under some construction scaffolding. We are in front of a tenement building not far from my apartment. I drop the nun-chucks. As the next homeboy comes charging at me, I jump and grab an overhead metal bar and manage to kick him in the face just as he reaches me, which puts an abrupt stop to his attack. He falls back hard, but recovers surprisingly quickly. I turn to get some space between us and he reacts by throwing gasoline from a beer can, soaking my sweatshirt with it. I catch a glimpse of his smile over my shoulder as he lights a match. I see the reflection on the pavement of the fireball engulfing me from behind. I scream as the flames overcome me. My own screaming voice wakes me from my dream.
I sit up, shake my head and put my bare feet on the cold tile of my basement bedroom. I hold my head in my hands and collect myself.
After a minute I head for the stairs that lead up to the living room. The dream was pretty grim – empowering – I’m fighting back against my tormentors – but grim.
I’m glad to be out of the nightmare but being awake – here in this apartment – isn’t all that much better really.
In the bare kitchen there’s no coffee. Warren and Bill, my roommates are still asleep, despite it almost being noon. Fuck. I’m going to have to go out to get a cup from the bodega, which requires getting dressed and going across the street in the bitter cold. No way to start the day. A good day is when I wake up and I have both drugs and coffee ready to go.
Not waking my self up screaming because a black dude has set me on fire is usually a plus as well.
At least I have the drugs. I should really by all accounts be thankful; I’ll take a caffeine headache over dope-sickness any day. I also have a few dollars, which means I can afford to buy a cup of coffee. That’s not always the case either, so I should really stop complaining.
The dream got me riled – out of sorts – call it what you will.
I don’t like having racist dreams. My people – my parents, the community where I grew up – we don’t roll with racism. I don’t roll with racism. I think black people have gotten the shaft in this country and that white Americans like me have an obligation to help make up for past injustices.
The dreams though… The dreams are cooked up in a different part of my brain, the lizard brain, the part I have no control over. The part that’s not rational. Or maybe it’s is all too rational… and racist…
Because I know the dreams are in direct reaction to being jacked – mugged – 4 times in the last 3 months. 3 of those times were by black dudes and once by a gang of Latin dudes (Puerto Ricans I assume). Once with a gun, once with a knife (the Puerto Ricans) and the other two times my assailants did it the old fashioned way, they just beat me up. I don’t take it personally. Really I don’t, I hate white people too. We are the fucking worst. I’m willing to give my muggers the benefit of the doubt. They aren’t doing it out of hatred. Well actually, there was probably some degree of racial hatred mixed in there, but I’m sure it was mostly to steal my drugs and my money. Completely understandable.
On second thought, maybe I do take it personally. My subconscious should probably weigh in on that, because I’ve never had dreams about race-war until black people started beating me up and stealing my drugs. It’s been two weeks since my last beating though, so the timing of my dream is curious. You would have thought I’d have a dream like that closer to the incident. I guess my subconscious needed some time to stew.
I go back downstairs to my shithole of a bedroom.
Our loft apartment was pristine when we moved in. It had just been remodeled with hardwood floors and exposed brick walls. In my downstairs bedroom however, they did the floor in a cold white tile, kind of like a laboratory. It’s below street level so it’s always cold. Always. That was kind of appealing when we first moved in back in September, when Indian summer was still in play. Now that it’s winter, basically, it sucks.
We’ve wrecked this place. It’s dirty and smelly and we have a dog and it sucks. Our furniture stinks. It’s always dirty. I fucking hate it here.
I want to wait to shoot up until I’ve had my coffee. Performing ritualized activities like shooting up and having a morning cup of coffee, in the proper order makes the experience appear that much more civilized and complete; it makes doing what I’m doing – living my limited miserable junkie life – seem at least not immediately as completely out of control as it actually is. I realize though that this morning it’s futile. I will not wait. I will do the drugs. I also realize I will probably skip the coffee and be annoyed with myself later when the caffeine headache comes on. Oh well. It feels like this script was written long ago. I am powerless to change it.
It’s a shame because I’m on maintenance rations, so you really want to make the times you do use, as pleasurable as possible (meaning coffee first). Maintenance rations are two shots a day, one in the morning (to get right) and one at night (to get right). No recreational use in between. It’s drug survival mode. I sit down on the bed and prep my shot on the nightstand table. I shoot it unceremoniously, getting the vein on the first try with minimal prep. Half a bag. Not enough to get a buzz even. Yes of course it’s pleasurable, but it’s still just a taste. I need more. It’s going to have to do for the next 9 or 10 hours though, unfortunately.
Part 2 to come soon…
Author’s note: If you find this in any way worthwhile – even if you hate it, you find it worthy of your scorn perhaps – consider leaving a comment. It would mean a lot to me. Thanks…
2 thoughts on “Race War, It’s personal – part 1”
I AM SO IMPRESSED. Not surprised because I know you’re a great writer, but I guess kinda surprised because I’ve only read your “lighter stuff.” This is fantastic. I want the novel.
Thank you soooo much, Dina! You don’t know how much comments mean to me. They really make all the difference.