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The Bro Train
On The Extinction of Men
© 2013 James LaFond
Writers tend to portray themselves in a positive light, if only via the nature of our enterprise. I think it is about time to admit to a sin against my fellow man, and thereby accept some of the blame for this world we live in, where ‘men’ seem to be in such short supply. We live in a time when most of the adult males I know live off of women: mom, wife, daughter, girlfriend, grandma. By turn many of these women are living off The State, making these nominal males parasites upon parasites; not even reputable as second tier biological organisms go, let alone as social beings of the mind.
Let me set the stage:
The Bro Train
It was the early 1980s, and I was working on a supermarket night crew. One of my coworkers was actually a friend, a hardworking man who had been an elite high school athlete, and was black. At this time it was unusual for whites and blacks to be friendly in Baltimore. Race-based street fights over busing were less than a decade behind us. This man’s name was ‘Big’ Earl ‘Bro Train’ Johnson. He had two fulltime jobs and rented two houses which he had renovated.
Earl took me on an urban renewal tour one time and pointed at a nice row of houses, “You see, that’s what the white mayor is building for my people.”
He then pointed to the other side of the street where the houses had been gutted for copper and aluminum, “And that is what these houses are going to look like after my people live in them for five years.”
Earl was an interesting guy. He became even more interesting when we found out he liked men, particularly college-age men. Earl and I were both college-age ourselves, but had been working since sixteen, so were socially much older than our scholastic peers at work.
We got a new worker on the crew, a handsome young Italian guy. This caused Earl’s decorum to crack. I had worked with him for two years and never knew he was gay until I heard him whisper across the aisles through the night, “Stallion, Stallion! Come to me my handsome Stallion!”
I was kind of surprised and let Earl know that I had had no idea. He responded, “No offense Jimmy, but I just can’t get into your sawed-off Abe Lincoln lookin’ self. You are not my type. I like that!” he said as he pointed to a frightened Mel, the young Italian rookie on the crew.
The Korean War vet who ran the dairy overheard this and said, “Hey Earl, my helper is a faggot.”
He then looked at me and said, “Our [day crew] white faggot should get together with your [night crew] black faggot.”
He then called for his assistant, “Hey Sweet Pants get over here.”
The old timer than introduced the flamer and the masculine gay who had just stepped boldly from the closet. Earl’s response was to pull a picture of himself in the nude from his wallet and show it to Sweet Pants [who was understood to be a catcher and not a pitcher]. Sweet Pants squeaked and literally ran and hid in the dairy cooler, as Earl laughed menacingly, “Shit, that little faggot, I’d send him back in here in a wheelchair with a bag strapped to his waist!”
We all thought it was crudely though frighteningly funny, and laughed. I had just recently established myself as someone who was respected and feared by the criminal elements on the street, and had cultivated a callous disregard for any weak men who could not take care of themselves. I never even considered questioning the ethics of Earl’s intimidation of my other coworkers.
Some days later, in the middle of the shift, Mel came to me worried. Mel and I walked home together on occasion. He was only 18 and seemed to look up to me. He said, with a rabbit like fear in his eyes, “Earl just offered me three hundred dollars if I let him blow me in the bathroom. What should I do?”
I said, with all of my 22 or so years of wisdom, “If you have to ask me than I don’t know you.”
With that I callously walked away.
A few weeks later Mel quit work for no specified reason.
A month later he came in to visit the morning shift people as I was leaving, with a pretty blonde girl on his arm, announcing their engagement.
With that Mel fell off my radar screen as a weakling that had moved on to better himself through marriage, leaning on a woman to make his way in the world.
Twenty-five Years of Karma Later
I was working part time for a grocery store. On my afternoon off I was called in. I told them I would be there in two hours, which was the length of my bus commute. After my shift the assistant manager thanked me for coming in and offered to give me a lift home.
As he drove me home I found out he grew up in the neighborhood where I was now renting, the neighborhood I had just moved back into. I also discovered that his name was Mel. When I announced that I now knew where I remembered him from, he would not even admit to having worked with me at the neighborhood grocery store. I did not pursue the subject as he seemed upset, even shaken.
After that night Mel never greeted me at work, and avoided contact with me. I also noticed him inappropriately touching a female staff member. Then he began making my work difficult, even at the risk of defying instructions from our draconian boss. This man would go to any lengths to sabotage my work station, even risking his standing with our employer.
This caused me to think back, to do some soul-searching, and to consider the concept of karma. I was now a post-management adult many times wiser in the ways of the world and the workplace than I had been as a young grunt. I had been called upon to hear sexual harassment cases. Indeed I had removed managers beneath me quietly when I found them acting unethically towards the men and women under them.
I can see through my own smudged rearview mirror that Earl [who was named ‘Big Earl’ for reasons other than height and weight] had been sexually harassing Mel. Mel had come to me, and I had turned away. Now, all those years later I was under him in a similar operation, and he was making my life as hard as possible; just behaving like a bitter scorned woman.
As a savage young grunt, carving out my own violent image of manhood from a criminal working class environment, I had utterly failed on a social level to help Mel in his more feeble attempt to become a man. In those days Mel would have been laughed at by the employer and law enforcement. He looked to me as a more respected member of our crew, who was an influential friend to his abuser, to make it stop, and I laughed and turned away. In retrospect, I think the Bro Train would have laid off if I would have simply voiced some concern on behalf of Mel. Earl was not violent at all and was easy to reason with. I just chose not to.
Survive and Let Suffer
My austere, defiance-based, and violence-supported, ideal of manhood had liberated me, and me alone, it being a thoroughly selfish artifice for dealing with the alienation and exploitation of my marginal life. I am still largely that person: the man who steps over begging bums; who regards males as a gender as an enemy force pool; and who walks idly by while boys are stomped and beaten by other boys, justifying it all with a nod to Darwinian law.
I think, every time that Mel makes life hard on me, that he is serving up some karma, in a primitive attempt to make me pay for being one of the people in his miserable life who through action and inaction, made of him someone socially far closer to a woman than a man. Every time I’m tempted to say, “Hey Stallion, what is your problem?” I remember that his problem, is at this stage, possibly insurmountable, and that I would not help him crawl out of his neutered abyss even if he asked.
I still, looking inside, find no compassion for Mel or his unfulfilling lot in life. His pathetic passive-aggressive workplace sabotage makes my cruel view that much more palatable as a value. Indeed, me being an hourly employee, I am materially enriched every time he deigns to meddle in my work and necessitates my working overtime.
I thought an hour ago, that my biggest sin concerning Mel had been my harsh refusal to aid him in our youth. After expressing our fleeting interactions over the decades and years, I think maybe my denying him the conversation that his feminized angst now seems to require of him, is probably the darker stain on my character.
Upon reflecting as philosophically on Mel, Bro Train and me, as I am equipped to, I feel refreshingly barren of any care for he who I long ago helped push into the pit of his self-doubting feminized hell. I feel like a ruthless apostate who avoided the fate of some weaker aspirant to manhood; like a barbarian who has avoided the domestication that has befallen the whimpering hordes of his fellows who have been rendered merely male by the Mighty Mother of Lies called Civilization.
I am at peace with my stain.
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Erique Watson     Sep 23, 2013

Dude, massively revelatory piece.
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