The yellow menace

October 27, 2012 § 24 Comments

We have some little Asian haters in our apartment complex. This means they have a lot to hate, overrun as we are with Japanese, Korean, Chinese, and other people with black hair and non-white skin.

It started off with him and his friend yelling racial epithets at my youngest son from their balcony, which is higher than ours and which faces us. My son is in high school and doesn’t give a shit what some little kid and his friend say or do, so he just closed the blinds and ignored them.

Then a few mornings ago I was cleaning my bike and noticed a half-dozen exploded M80’s lying on the balcony. Ms. WM had told me that over the last few weeks the harassment had gotten worse; they’d begun shouting at her when she walked over to the parking garage.

I got home this evening to learn that it had escalated.

“You know little shitturds hate a Japnese?”

“Yeah. What’d they do now?”

“I’m gonna walkin to the garage and peeeeewww! Comes onna long water squirt. Little shitturds gonna sprayin me with pumpin water gun.”

“You’re fucking kidding me. What’d you do?”

“I done what you think I’m gonna done. I yelled at ‘em little shitturds to stop sprayin onna water or they was gonna getta ass beating.”

“And?”

“They shitturded runnin back inna the apartment. I was gonna make a appointment and runnin late so I was gonna go by this evenin but I got too busy onna dinner to worry ’bout little shitturds.”

At that moment there was a “thunk” against the balcony’s sliding glass door.

We turned off the lights and opened the blinds. There the little shitturds were, scampering back into their apartment. We saw a big guy from another apartment next to theirs and lower down doing exactly what we were doing, only he was already out on his balcony looking up at theirs.

I went out and saw three or four other residents, all on our side of the building, doing the same thing. “They throwing shit at you?” I asked.

“Yes,” everyone chorused.

“Well,” I said. “Let’s pay them a visit.”

I felt like Tai-Pan or the white dude in Shogun, leading my band of hardy Asian warriors off to battle. They were pissed. Some had been bombarded with half-eaten apple cores, others with banana peels, and one with a tennis ball.

We got to little shitturds’ door and knocked. No answer. Then I pounded. No answer. “I’ve tried to do this before,” said a guy named Yang. “But they never answer. Their parents aren’t home. They yell things all the time.”

“When I walk beneath their apartment they say things like ‘Chink!’ and ‘Japfuck!’ and ‘Yellow bitch!’ said one incredibly lovely young girl, who was a senior in high school. It’s pretty annoying.”

A little dog emitted a fearful, muffled yap from one of the inner rooms. “We’ll smoke the little shitturds out,” I said. “Eventually they’ll come to the door and listen to us talking, thinking we don’t know they’re listening. Then we’ll have ‘em.”

We kept banging and knocking for a solid five minutes. Finally the little dog was yapping right there, on the other side of the door. I held up my empty hand, pretending to be speaking into a phone. Yang and the others stifled a laugh. “Hello? Security?” I said. “I’m over at apartment building 12 and there are some kids who are throwing stuff and shooting off what look like large firecrackers. Could you send someone over?”

The dog went completely silent.

“Oh, I see. That’s a code red? So I need to call the police? It qualifies as a terroristic threat? Okay. 911, right? Thanks. And you’re sure they’ll make arrests and take these kids to jail ? Great. Thanks again.”

The door swung open.

The two boys stood there, as pasty-faced and frightened as anyone I’ve ever seen, or imagined seeing. The ringleader stood in front. He was a very fat little seventh grader with long, unkempt hair, a small mouth, and the beady eyes of a bully. His accomplice was taller and skinny, blonde and blue-eyed, and he was shaking.

Shitturd One spoke so softly, and his voice shook so badly, that I could barely make him out. “I’m really sorry,” he said.

“Listen, do you sorry little snotnoses want to go to jail? That’s fucking assault, hitting people with shit, and it’s attempted battery throwing shit at their apartment, and it’s a goddamn felony to try and hurt someone with a fucking explosive!”

They were shaking so bad that the fat kid’s blubber on his neck was jiggling like a bowl of jello. “We’re really sorry, sir,” he half-cried.

“Sorry? You think I give a rat’s ass if you’re sorry? What’s your name, you little fucking punk?”

“Billy Snipkins,” he stammered.

“And what about asshole standing behind you? What’s your name, you stupid little prick?”

“Me?” he said.

“You don’t think I’m asking the fucking dog, do you?”

“But I don’t even live here.”

“That’s an extra year in prison for being a non-resident accomplice. What’s your fucking name?” I roared.

“Thurston.”

“What’s your fucking last name?’

“Talleyrand.”

“You two little pricks go to Shady Acres Middle School?” They nodded. “Okay. Talleywhacker, I know your name now and am calling your fucking parents. I have a student guide from last year.”

“Are the police coming?” asked Snipkins.

“Fuck yes they’re coming. And they’re bringing a fucking bomb squad and drug dogs.”

At the mention of drug dogs both boys began to cry. “We’re sorry!” they wailed.

“Well get your sorry fucking asses over to my wife and apologize to her and ask her to call the cops and tell them not to come. But she’s so pissed at your bullshit she probably will call ‘em just for the satisfaction of seeing you two little assholes get cuffed and stuffed and dragged off to jail. And you can start your fucking apologies here.” I gestured at Yang & Co.

They were now crying in earnest, and apologized over and over to each of the assembled tenants, all of whom were doing their best to look stern, which was a challenge. Next we marched over to Mrs. WM.

“We’re so sorry!” they wailed.

“Why you wanna do that?” she said. “You thinkin Asian people onna bad? We makin your car and TV and iPhone and Chinese noodle. What you gonna do without no car and TV and noodle?”

They apologized some more.

“Where your momma and daddy?” she asked.

The fat boy looked down. “My parents are split up.”

“Where your momma then?”

“She always goes out to bars and stuff after work.”

There were a few seconds of silence as the picture gelled. He was a bored and angry kid, ignored by his parents, and he had no way left to get noticed in the world, or noticed by the world, except through causing trouble. In a few years he’d graduate to real trouble, if he hadn’t already.

My anger and sense of righteousness evaporated in an instant. That kid was me. “Look, pal,” I said. “This kind of shit will get you thrown out of here. Don’t take your anger out on people just because they’re Asian.” I wasn’t yelling anymore, and could barely muster up my lecture tone. “Go apologize to these other families and be done with it.”

He wasn’t crying now, but he was still terrified. “Are the cops coming?”

“No,” I said. “No cops if you’ll knock it off.”

“Okay,” he said. “I promise.”

Mrs. WM closed the door and we sat down at the table. She was grateful they’d been brought to justice. No one likes to be the object of racial hatred, regardless of the reason. But she’s also a mom, and happens to be the best one I’ve ever known. “Little shitturd’s momma better quit hoppin onna bars.”

“Yeah,” I said.

“You donna worse onna things than that when you was a kid.”

“Yeah,” I said.

“You feelin’ onna guilty ’cause you yellin at those boys but their momma and dad not around, and your parents was ignorin on you all time and you know how they feelin and they anger.”

“Yeah.” I said.

“You a grown up man now and gotta be a hypocrite. That’s what a growin’ up is for. So you can tell onna kids not to do what you did.”

“Yeah,” I said.

She reached over and squeezed my hand. “Don’ you feel onna bad. Those little shitturds gonna got a good lesson tonight.”

“Yeah,” I said.

“An you got onna good one, too.”

§ 24 Responses to The yellow menace

  • John says:

    I hope your legal briefs are this good. Thanks for another great post.

  • Maybe you can get these kids interested in cycling? A Bikes Not Bombs kind of intervention? Wanky’s Big Brother After School Special?

    • Admin says:

      The idea of me role modeling for anyone to whom I’m not obligated by law to feed and clothe is positively frightful.

  • Rick says:

    That’s good. Perspective comes from where you stand and where you have been.

  • A-Trav says:

    Remember that kid that strong-armed my kid’s bike two years ago? He just got busted the other day for robbing a liquor store (while under house arrest). He’s fifteen years old. BTW- I was the skinny kid in back…

    • Admin says:

      It’s so fucking unfortunate. You can see the whole thing playing out. There but for the grace of Dog, etc.

      I was the skinny kid and the fat kid. Trouble wasn’t my middle name. It was my official listing with the police.

  • Commuter Wank says:

    Good story. Sad story. Hopefully the life lessons taught and learned that night will steer all the parties down a better path. Kudos to you and your wife for handling it in a parental way.

  • Sam Wall says:

    Really nice piece.

  • David Wehrly says:

    Seth, beautifully written and touching. You’re a good man.

    • Admin says:

      Those are kind words from someone I very greatly admire. However, there are at least two schools of thought, diametrically opposed I might add, as to whether I’m a good man or not. Coming from you, though, outweighs at least a thousand anonymous detractors.

  • JP says:

    literary gold.

  • Jim says:

    Does your wife know you’re copying her excessive vowels and missing articles for the entire world to hear? Legend.
    I am Asian; yesterday I had to make a tough call: is this Masshole I’m dealing with merely being a Masshole or is racism intrinsic to his upbringing? Fuck him, he got back more than he dished. That’s what you get when you underestimate the Yellow Scourge.

    • Admin says:

      Racism is usually pretty easy to spot, right? The words, the attitude, the “vibe,” so whatever you gave this jerkaninny, it probably wasn’t enough. What disturbs me most is to see it in kids, because they’re hearing it from their parents.

      We got so much of it when we lived in Miami, Texas. My daughter had “Jap” scrawled on her school locker and no one thought it was a big deal. There were no black kids in the county, so in class when kids talked about black people using racial epithets, the teachers said nothing. My daughter raised a huge stink, which made the teachers prevent the kids from talking like that. This wasn’t ancient history, either. 2004.

      I recently got an earful from a dude about how there are “too many Asians” at UCLA. Dude never even went to fucking college. Of course he hates affirmative action because it “takes seats from deserving white students.” But he hates it when Asian kids overwhelm the lazy, stupid, privileged white students and get admitted to UCLA based on merit.

      Fucking morons everywhere. It’s pretty depressing.

      • Jim says:

        That shit your daughter went through is lunacy, particularly when the status quo reinforces it, as per the UCLA-commenting knuckle-dragger.

        Yeah I moved to the Bay Area from the Midwest 27 years ago for all those reasons; can’t imagine living anywhere else.

        Some Asian punk Quickly-owning girl recently thought it was ok to chop my wheel with her Prius. Long story short her bf ended up kicking my bike twice while the cops came. Fortunately (unfortunately?) hate around here usually manifests itself on the basis of the number of wheels one has vs. skin color.

        On a lighter note some crazy older black guy in the ‘hood was weaving back and forth on his bike. He took umbrage when I said whoa and proceeded to yell some choice epithets including, “whitey”. Almost fell off my bike laughing.

  • R. White says:

    Enlightening as always. Thanks.

  • Albacore says:

    Heard later that day in the retelling. . .

    “Wankmeister, did you order the Code Red?!”
    “You don’t have to answer that question!”
    “I’ll answer the question. You want answers?”
    “I think I’m entitled.”
    “You want answers?!”
    “I want the truth!”
    “You can’t handle the truth! Son, we live in an apartment that has Asian women, and those Asian women have to be guarded by men with bikes. Who’s gonna do it? You? You, Harvey Mushman? I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom! You weep for punk kids and you curse the wankers. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know: that Billy Snipkins crying, while tragic, probably saved lives. And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives! You don’t want the truth, because deep down in places you don’t talk about at parties, you want me in that apartment! You need me in that apartment! We use words like “wanker”, “sprunt”, “go to the front”. We use these words as the backbone of a life spent defending something. You use them as a punchline! I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom that I provide, and then questions the manner in which I provide it! I would rather you just said “Thank you,” and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest you hop on a bike, and take a pull. Either way, I don’t give a damn what you think you are entitled to!”
    “Did you order the Code Red?”
    “I did the job that—-”
    “Did you order the Code Red?!”
    “You’re goddamn right I did!!”

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