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'How Do You Feel About...'
'The Loss of the Americans?': Marc the Mexican Asks an Old Yeti, 7/9/21
I had come to East Baltimore to deliver Emma's birthday present to her MomMom, my long time lady friend, Megan. I was kind of creeped out by the setting, the first time I showed up here in May. Megan had asked why and I said, “I used to date a girl named Little Debbie who lived on this street and I can't tell these houses apart.”
“Little Debbie, huh?”
“She was little and blond, just like the kid on the snack cake boxes. Her name was Debbie—had two boys who'd be in their early thirties by now, wanted me to be their dad.”
I never saw her so happy as when she took me into the kitchen with her Sister-in-law, her niece, and her niece's daughter, and the inquisition began. Megan said to Gloria, the matron who the Mexican neighbors all call Mama, “It turns out that my James here was rockin' it back in the day with some little thing called Debbie.”
Gloria said, “You and every other guy in Essex! My husband used to lick his lips when that little slut would sashay by in the alley with her sun dress on. I'd tell 'im, you want that, go get it! Yeah, that bitch still lives up the way—got what she deserved, ugly, the years didn't wear well on 'er.”
The Niece and her daughter were doing the math, and they began to grin and triangulate and probe:
“Mister James, you said she had two sons—no daughter?”
“No, just sons.”
“You saw her when?”
“1994.”
“Holy shit,” “Good Lord,” “Nah-a!” the kitchen erupted with four female declarations:
“You know she has a crazy dyke daughter that graduated from college and drives a pickup. She could be 26.”
“Yep, nobody knows who her daddy is.”
“That's my man!”
The 12-year-old came to the rescue, “They're picking on you because they're jealous.”
That brought a roar of distaff laughter as I shrugged my shoulders in mock innocence and said, “Look, she asked me to come see her.. I was taken advantage of...”
Well, they were still busting my balls about it 6 weeks later, then a knock on the door. A muscular Mexican man in his late thirties with good English said, “Mamma, Yanny [what they call Megan], lady's, are you all doing well? Do you need anything?”
He gave me a nod of respect and said, “Sir.”
He then continued, “You know I have the five units down the street. I've been picking up houses in this area—its a good area and we are going to make it better. My renters are all clean and do their yard. But if they are ever up to anything that is not right, just let me know and I'll take care of it. And, if you ever decide to sell this nice house, I will pay the best price.”
The lady's smiled and thanked him and said how nice the Mexican neighbors were to them, women bringing them food and the men checking on their safety.
The man was brief and professional and reminded us that he is Marc and left a card in case anything was ever needed.
I walked outside on the porch with him and down to the gate, and Marc said, “Sir, how do you feel about the loss of the Americans?”
“Man, that's not a subject I discuss but with a few people.”
“I don't blame you sir. I didn't come here to live with blacks. We came here to live with Americans. And one black guy gets killed by the cops and you all lose your country and it is all given to the blacks. This is why I check to make sure everybody is okay. Because Americans are not allowed to defend themselves. That is wrong. The Americans have my pity, Sir. To have a country that is not so good, that is one thing. But to have the best country and have taken, given away, just like that—I'm sorry.”
I liked Mark.
Of the 7 Mexicans I walked past on the side walk going to and coming from Megan's, all nodded our waved with respect, 2 walking out in the street to make room when they saw me walking Megan back from the store.
Of the 5 Bantus, one said, “Good morning,” and the other 4 glared hate into my face as we passed each other like a Comanche and an Apache on some deserted war path.
Well, just like Little Debbie, a nation that only lives in the moment, can literally lose its luster overnight.
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