A Sort of Socio-Moral Study
Well, that was a total fucking embarrassment, jackass.
“‘What’chu talkin’bout, Willis?’ You’re the A-hole who done wanted get’im some churchin’ in.”
What? You knew I had planned on going for the ol’ bi-yearly fix, it’s not like I sprung the visit on you or dragged you by the ear or anything.
“I’m not ashamed of a goddamn thing. I said unto the people the truth.”
You never are ashamed of a goddamn thing, are you, Chalice?
“You never are ashamed of a goddamn thing, are you, Chalice?”
Don’t be a little prick.
“Don’t be a little prick.”
UGH. … Where’s the Reverend when you need him?
“Ha! Hey, buddy boy, you know damn well the Reverend knows I can be as big of a little prick as I want, whenever I want.”
Well that’s the point, douche: I need his magic shoved down your throat right about now and get you away from this use of speech for a spell. Hell, we all know you’ve proven to be a prick time and time and time and time and time—
“OK, so really, what’s the fuss, Gus? I done rose. I gone mades the peoples’ ears perk on end. I learned them is what I done. I shined a light, shined a livin’ light on their errant ways; displayed upon the canvassed minions the crisis of their casual overthoughts. I mades the Reverend Any Major Dude prouds is what I done.”
Alright, alright, stop it with this faux Southern preacher speak. It’s fucking insulting, cock. It’s fucking racist is what it is. … Chalice, that was neither the place nor the time to choose to do that. Fucking-A, you could’ve taken out an anonymous classified in the Bridgeport News if you feel that strongly about it. …
[OK, let me interrupt our confrontation here to bring you up to speed. At the start of last week I got the inkling to go to church. On occasion, maybe twice a year, a beautiful sadness overcomes my perpetual sense of inanity, and my courage aches to be revitalized with a visit to a place where the promise of unreality emboldens one’s belief in the presence of a reflective community. I needed a little “we” time with the believers. I chose 8 a.m. Sunday Mass to attend; get it over with early, and have the remainder of the day to come up with excuses to avoid reading. I informed Sinclearly of my decision, and with a shrug and a ‘Don’t bother me none; shit, I can take this hangover anywhere,’ he agreed to attend with me. So, the Sabbath rolls around, and Chalice puts up no fight when I reach out to him at 7:15 to see if he’s still into checking out Mass with me: he rolled out of bed, went to the kitchen to grab an ice tray out of the freezer, stepped into the john, put the plug in the sink, dumped the ice cubes into the sink, filled the sink with cold water, reached into the medicine cabinet and grabbed three packets of Alka-Seltzer, ripped open the packets and plopped the tablets into the full sink, then plunged his face into the water, occasionally bringing his lips back up to the surface to take a gulp or two of the effervescence before plunging his face back into the freezingness. Once all the liquid was sucked up from the sink, he looked up to himself in the mirror, and said to me, “Now, that’s how you get bidness done.”
Things were going nicely. I had been getting in my usual amount of daydreaming, daydreaming that today consisted of sword fights with pirate-types, me bounding about the altar and tabernacle, saving the laity from sure rape and pillage. I caught Chalice every now and again sticking his tongue out at one of the dozens of squirmy children who would occasionally get on their knees on the pews to face backwards in order to more fully examine the interior design of sanctity. But then that part of Mass came along where people are able to speak up from the pews: a girl will ask for thoughts for a sick aunt and the whole congregation will respond in unison, saying, “Lord, hear our prayer.” Today, a husband brought up an ailing wife – “Lord, hear our prayer”; a wife brought up a husband serving our country overseas – “Lord, hear our prayer”; a child brought up an injured puppy – “Lord, hear our prayer.” But then out of the freaking blue Chalice chimes in: “For all the political-leaning, bookie-indebted jagoffs in this parish who practice the Bridgeport Roll, rolling through stop signs without any consideration ‘cause the very act of consideration suggests possessing a sense of culture, a sense which this neighborhood unfortunately can’t seem to shake its fear of. Being cultured. I know all you macro-chugging, soccer’s-for-homos-and-illegal-aliens type of racist Democrats want to kick the ever-livin’ piss out of the very idea of ever being cultured”; and without missing a beat, Chalice leapt straight into a rhapsodized “Lord, hear our prayer.” The parishioners, caught off guard, some stunned, others steamed, merely mumbled the petition, their words half-assedly shoring up his. The priest gave Chalice a piercing stare. By default, because it was obvious Chalice and I were attending the service as one, I was on the receiving end of Father’s scolding stare, too. We bolted. Surprisingly, no Bridgporter chased us out the doors.]
“I ain’t no racist, bastard. … And you’re just afraid to admit it right here and right now: I staged a coup, motherfucker. I shook Bridgeport down. I’m your wet dream, pussy-boy.”
A coup? What in God’s name are you talking about? A coup? We live here, buddy boy; sorry to say, but we aren’t going anywhere. This is home, and you damn well know we could not have asked for a better plot in life. We want to keep our taxes in check, keep the streets plowed, the garbage picked up on schedule. You don’t fuck with the 11th Ward like that—especially not inside Nativity.* Do you realize what we—what I’m going to have to deal with now? I can’t wait for the precinct captain’s next visit to our door. That should be a pleasantly intimidating experience. … Hey, you know what a real coup would be, don’t you now? …
[We stand here for a full minute in silence, eye to eye. Me, I’m anticipating; Sinclearly, he’s a prober. The first quarter-minute we abhor each other. The second quarter-minute we are two alone. The third quarter-minute we are torn together. And in the final quarter-minute we are one person.]
“You would never.”
Yes I would.
“You don’t have the balls.”
Oh, but I do, Chalice, I do.
“Why would you do that to yourself?”
“Ok, to us.”
“Ok, ok, to me.”
Because my man, we come from the land down under Madison, from the land where it’s justice to say: “We are proud to have with us the poet lariat of Chicago.”**
“No, no, no.”
Yes, yes, yes.
“Hoz, no, you are not growing a rattail.”
[To be continued.]
*Bridgeport is in Chicago’s infamous 11th Ward – home to five of this city’s mayors.
**Mayor Richard J. Daley introducing Carl Sandburg in 1960.