An Excerpt from AMERICAN CHEESE

12

Bad Voodoo

On the street, the protesters got organized: the Black Cross distributed #BlackLivesMatter signs to angry urbanites, while the Pink Cross—apparently piggy-backing on the protest—handed out #PinkLivesMatter signs to the queers. And, as proof that maybe there is a God after all, the Bagga Donuts Company was there with a mobile food truck, getting the potential riot fueled up with free coffee and doughnuts.

bagga donuts FBI cut into the doughnut line and scored myself a hot cup of coffee and a glazed doughnut. The volunteer manning the roach coach told me to have a sweet day, but the odds of that actually happening were low.

At the other end of the block, the counterforce armed themselves with #BlueLivesMatter signs in support of the racist police state, and #AllLivesMatter signs, just to be disingenuous. Butt-fuck those assholes. The Red Cross had a mobile first aid station up and running, where they sold coffee and doughnuts at an inflated price. Fuck the Red Cross, too.

I ate my free, delicious Bagga Donuts brand doughnut and drank my free and tasty coffee. Someone gave me a protest sign: #PinkLivesMatter. Huh. The scene crackled and hummed.

AMERICAN CHEESE (1)

I vibrated. Boo’s phone in my pocket, receiving impulses from all over. I turned it off, but not before catching a glimpse of an incoming message: R U CRAPPY JACK ???

“Who in the hell,” I wondered aloud to no one in particular, “is Crappy Jack?”

A deep voice from behind me proclaimed, “You want to know who Crappy Jack is? I’ll tell you who Crappy Jack is!”

“Yeah! He’ll tell you who Crappy Jack is! Who’s Crappy Jack?”

I turned around. “Well, well. If it ain’t Ain’t-Jack. Small world.”

“Bat-Man!” The bull fruit had a #BlackLivesMatter sign. “What you doing here?”

“Yeah!” His skinny boyfriend had a #PinkLivesMatter sign. “Whachoo doin?”

“I’m protesting racial injustice and police brutality. Boudreau Johnson was a friend of mine. Say, you get that wine stain out of your kicks?”

“Sho’nuff!” Ain’t-Jack stuck out a foot to proudly display his whiter-than-white sneaks. “That club soda trick worked like a charm.”

“Yeah! Like a charm!”

“Told you so. How much you get for my Susskinds?”

“Bout four hundred dollar. Man, where is your pants?”

“Oh, I got into another fight with another motherfucker who wanted them more than I did.”

He laughed. “Funny, but last night you didn’t strike me as queer.”

“I could say the same about you, brother. All walks of life, I guess.”

“Yeah,” chimed in the skinny one, “all walks of life. How you know Boo?”

“We did some business together. He was helping me on a case. I know for a fact that Boo was constipated like a motherfucker, and he was not Crappy Jack. So tell me: who is Crappy Jack?”

A nearby TV cameraman came closer, to record our conversation. Judging from the camouflage fatigues he wore, the cameraman was either a war correspondent or he expected a war to break out soon. Ain’t-Jack saw him too, and pitched his response towards the microphone: he wanted his fifteen minutes of fame.

“Crappy Jack, a.k.a. Jack the Crapper, a.k.a. the Mad Crapper of Midland City, is the twenty-first century reincarnation of a nineteenth century African-American folk hero known as Shitheel Jack. So before I can tell you who is Crappy Jack, first I gotta tell you about old Shitheel Jack.”

I was disappointed. “Reincarnation is bullshit, man.”

“Ain’t saying it’s real. Hear me out.”

“Yeah! Hear him out!”

“After the Civil War, see, a series of mysterious incidents took place in some of the finest mansions in old Midland City. A man appeared, tall and strong, wearing a leather mask with lenses like goggles for eyes. A black man, they said. Probably a freed slave. He would gain entry into a house, usually during some swell soiree, and then take a smash in the foyer,” (pronounced foy-yay) “or on the stairs. Just an enormous dump. The foulest, stinkiest shit anyone had ever smelled—and this was back when the world was a far smellier place than it is today, so that’s saying something.”

I could well imagine. “Goddamn. Did they lynch him? Like they got Boo?”

“Naw, man, old Shitheel Jack was never apprehended. Yeah, they tried to catch him, but that nigger ran like no one had ever seen before! Flowing over obstacles with supernatural grace and supreme athletic ability—what today we would call parkour, I suppose. Free running. Went over ten-foot walls like they wasn’t even there. His legend grew with time: he could leap over houses, folks said, and even launch himself across the sky by blasting diarrhea out his ass like a rocket. Riding the brown rainbow!”

“Hot shit! So, whatever happened to him?”

“Nothing ever happened, see, and that’s the point. Eventually he stopped coming around, became a mythical figure, a boogieman white folks tell stories about to frighten the white chirren. People say he still out there somewhere, just waiting to shit on your front porch. Which is where Jack the Crapper comes in.”

“A.K.A. Crappy Jack,” I said for the benefit of the TV camera.

Ain’t-Jack nodded. “Crappy Jack is the nickname the cops gave to a person or persons unknown who’s been contaminating the corridors of power here for the last twenty years. A serial defecator! He’s dropped deuces in city hall. Funked up the public library. Smashed the community college. Been leaving his calling card all over the place for decades. Like Shitheel Jack, ain’t never been caught. But unlike Shitheel Jack, the Mad Crapper ain’t never even been seen—which is an important distinction.”

“So the man got shy in his old age, what’s the big deal?”

“Think about it: the original Jack Shit would walk into houses and do his dirty deeds while the terrified homeowners watched, see, and laugh in their faces and dare them to chase him. Those victims were in a position to know if Shitheel Jack was African-American or not. They seen his black ass, so if they say he was black we gots to believe them.”

“Yeah! They probably seen his equipment, too,” his boyfriend snickered, “and a man who can jump a ten-foot wall probably has size fifteen shoes, know’m sayin?”

“But Crappy Jack, now, he does his dirty work under the cover of darkness. No witnesses. The victim just walks into his office one morning a finds a stink-bomb upon his desk, compliments of Yours Truly, Jack the Crapper. Woof! So my question to you, Bat-Man, is this: why do the cops think Crappy Jack is black?”

“I’m guessing because of institutional racism?”

aMERICAN aSSHOLE 1

“No fucking shit. And for that matter, why do they even think he’s a single perpetrator? Could be dozens of people, who may or may not be black and who may or may not be in cahoots.”

“Or could just be,” I speculated, “a lack of public latrines forcing our homeless population to become inventive. Taking a shit is a basic human right—a fact sometimes overlooked by those who sit on golden thrones.”

“For real! Eliminating waste is a biological imperative. But now our police force done caught themselves their first suspect in the case: Mr. Boudreau Johnson, who just happens to be African-American—and this feeds into their narrative that Jack the Crapper, like Shitheel Jack of old, must be a black man.”

“Meet the new boogieman,” I said, “same as the old boogieman.”

“Shit, yeah. And do I even need to tell you that the very expression ‘boogieman’ is racist as fuck?”

# # # # #

#AmQuerying #satire AMERICAN CHEESE

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