Jul 10, 2009

What he said

He didn't have a problem with niggers. He didn't have nothing against them. Nothing, he said and he shrugged. He wasn't a racist, he said, and he said it so you'd know that sometimes people thought he was, but that was wrong, and he resented that. He wasn't like that. He wasn't a racist and he didn't have a problem with niggers or nobody who didn't have a problem with him, and people only thought that anyway 'cause they were prejudiced, assuming he was something 'cause of how he looked.

Jimmie looked like white trash. He had long hair that wasn't washed and a fu manchu. He lit his cigarettes with a lighter with a picture of a naked lady on it. He had a couple of missing teeth, like maybe from a fight, and he spent his nights in the bars around Waco. During the days he'd take work through the temp agency, place called ManPower, and he'd get jobs unloading trucks and doing piece work or cleaning jobs where something'd exploded or yard work. Which was how he ended up working for my dad one year before Christmas. He was wearing two flannel coats and cramming leaves into these black garbage bags and smoking and just talking.

He didn't have a problem with niggers, he said. He wasn't a racist. He would have one over to the house, if he could. Wouldn't bother him. He couldn't though because of his dog. The dog was a racist and she didn't like niggers, so he couldn't have them over. She was a pit bull, brindle-colored dog he'd had since she was little. She was a sweet, sweet bitch. She loved children and everything. She wasn't dangerous. Wasn't mean. Wouldn't hurt nobody, except she just didn't like the niggers and would always try to tear the shit out of them.

"What did you say to make him tell you that?" my dad asked. "Why would he tell you that?" I said I didn't know, it was just what he said.