"You know, you could have just had sex with him," Professor Poppins said about Old Dude who used to traffic me. I hated that she could be that stupid, but I respected her for expressing it.
"Why didn't I think of that?" I asked with earnest sarcasm, looking at her, for once, right in the eyes. She had thick straight eyelashes and dark brown eyes like me. She perceived us to be very different because I'm sort of passing white and she's passing African American. I perceived us to be very different because our life stories were worlds apart, and I had better things to do than bitch about people calling me well spoken. I, in fact, loved being called well-spoken. "I mean, I could be smoking crack with him right now, sleeping with him, and fucking all these nasty old men he'd otherwise drug me for so they could rape me. Does that seem better to you?"
"Wow, it's like we're from different universes. I'm not trying to be insensitive." For once!
"I always assumed my experience was more common than people let on." Maybe it was all that rape culture propaganda.
"Just consider, maybe, for your happiness, next time someone tries to rape you, sleep with them."
"I will consider it."
Ley Rey followed me home. I initiated the friendship. Nobody else would talk to me. Everybody said my accent sounded like nails scraping against a chalkboard, and frankly I do not have a very strong southern accent. This was socially acceptable bigotry; southerners can't stand their own accents, to tell you how much this self-hate has been spoon-fed to us. (I'm not a nationalist of any kind, but, realistically speaking, young southerners are taught to hate themselves.)
As a matter of fact, the first thing Ley Rey said to me was, "Fuck you!" but by then I was tired of trying with new people so eventually Ley became my friend. I'm charming. Ley is queer; I won Ley over when a couple of 'em were talking about the Pride Parade, "That's what that was? I thought it was a bunch of hippies crowding the road on my way to my job. I was all yelling at them, 'Out of the road, hippies!'"
Ley Rey was a homeless person, probably the most physically attractive homeless person I'd ever run into. So you might think I was letting Rey follow me home for sex. I wasn't. The truth was, I had been conditioned to be a nice person, and letting homeless people stay for the night was something my parents wouldn't not expect out of me.
Rey kissed me on the way to finding my car. The car was lost; it was a big city. We walked for hours before the cops picked us up and helped us find it. There were a bunch of neon lights around; higher than average queer population. It was a little bit weird for me because Rey 1) looks just like my mom but taller and differently dressed, and 2) Rey was genocidal leaning. Rey didn't like white people, and I passed too white. Our complexions were barely different; Rey was slightly darker. Rey thought that if a black man raped a white woman and hit her repeatedly, she should shut up and take it. (You recognize that? Infamous sock puppet; same person.)
Meanwhile, I was tired of fighting and didn't want to get convicted of a hate-crime. Being the other, the southerner, was not in my favor. If it weren't for the camera feed at my son's school for when Principal Obi and I got into that fight, I'd already be in prison. The cop who called me later that day told me so, also that they got an excellent laugh out of it at the station, and how in the world did I learn to fight like that? Tae Kwon Do. No, really, that didn't look like Tae Kwon Do to them.
Meanwhile, my schizophrenia was going crazy. I was on anti-psychotics, which made me very complacent, kind of fat. Everybody was picking on me and my very imaginative, easily confused brain was making up reasons for me to hate myself, since seemed like everybody else did.
Imagine if you saw and perceived all of your worst fears, even though nobody else saw or perceived them, and everybody but the two people in the town who actually knew you, hated you. That's what I was going through. I was suicidal. Maybe that was why I was hanging out with Rey. The part of me that could sense evil spirits from a mile away, knew what it was doing. I was tired of living schizophrenic and ostracized, tired of being the gal who'd been through what I'd been through with so little common decency shown to me about it. I was tired of being my own worst tormentor. Old Dude nearly murdered me when I was 14 in one of the most inhumane ways imaginable; I barely survived. But he couldn't compete with me because my brain made me wish he was successful and falsified reasons why the world would be a better place if he was successful.
"You're a fucking racist," Ley said to me, when we got back to the RV.
"Says the person who wants genocide against white people, so kill half yourself," I said. Ley was half-white. "Tell you what. This'll be like Wanna Be a Millionaire; I'm going to phone a friend."
"Don't phone a friend. I'll motherfucking kill you."
"I'm historically extremely hard to kill."
"Because you're white?" I hate passing white. I don't hate white people. I don't think they're any different from anybody else. I just hate that people assume dumb shit about being white, like it's some kind of magic bullet proof vest.
"Because I survived rape while a knife was inside of me." That wasn't schizophrenia; it happened long before I lost my grip on reality. It probably had something to do with why I lost my grip on reality.
I called up Sue. Sue was going out with this lady named Anita at the time, who was frankly deeply unpleasant and the best thing about her was her long flowing dresses. I loved her dresses. Sue's a guy, tall average height African American man (6'1). He calls me his sister, because I'm married to Handsome and he calls Handsome his brother.
"Hey, oh my God, I'm so happy to hear from you!" Sue said, his voice enthused. Tears popped into my eyes.
"I'm happy to hear from you, too," I said. "I've been going crazy over here; I thought maybe you all hated me."
"Don't ever say that!" Sue half-yelled at me. "We love you."
"I love you guys, too. I'm sorry my schizophrenia's been acting up."
"So, what's been going on with you?"
"This racist-ass, genocidal wannabe, judgemental ass hobo followed me home."
"That doesn't sound good! What the fuck is going on with you?"
Rey said, "You on the phone with a white person?"
"Sue, I'm going to hand the phone to this judgemental ass hobo."
"Alright, I'm ready for them!"
Rey: "Are you white?"
Rey's face screwed up upon realizing he was on the phone with a deep-voiced cisgender southern African American man, who I can educatedly assume schooled Rey in the art of being a smart ass. Two minutes went by and he hung up the phone and said, "I'm going to fucking kill you."
Rey had an entitlement complex because he was a mixed transgender person. Like how a lot of women feel like the world should be spoon-fed to them because they have vaginas. "Oh, I'm so oppressed, look at me! Everybody walks on egg-shells around me, but I am so likely to die of a hate crime!"
Sue called back. "Are you alright?"
"Yes, but if I get murdered, I want you to write this down, Ley Rey did it. Ley spelled ley, Rey spelled rey. In Spanish, that means Law King. Dude's not Spanish; made up his own name, but everyone around here knows it."
"Tell Ley if he murders you, I'm coming after him with a machete and I'm going to turn him into plethora of sushi and go cater a yacht party."
I told Ley that. Spent a few more minutes on the phone with Sue. Told him I'd be fine. Sue didn't get a wink of sleep that night. I'm the friend group's friendly crazy person. They're all protective of me, even though I keep telling them I'm a demon in a fight.
"Lemme ask you something," I said to Rey. "Have you ever been victim to serious racism?"
"What's serious racism?" Rey asked intelligently.
"You know, violence."
"No, but I get microaggressed against all the time."
"Goddamn, I think I broke my eyes rolling them this time. I rolled my eyes too hard."
"I'm going to fucking kill you."
"Yeah, see, I've gotten a few random acts of violence out of racism..."
"You committing violence?"
"No, violence committed against me."
"I wish I was one of my ancestors so I could shrink your head; because that's what my ancestors did. They were head-shrinkers."
"Darker than you."
"I get so much in the way of microaggressions, I really want to get a machine gun and go on a killing spree."
"Is that a threat?" I made deep eye contact with Rey.
"Here's as good a place to start as any."
"Might as well set down some ground rules. You harm me or any member of my family in any tiny way, a bunch of Folks are going to take a road trip, like sitting shiva, this is how Folks do it, and they're going to leave you in pieces all across the Pacific Ocean, got it?"
"Yeah, right, how are they going to find me?"
"Double your IQ and that's the IQ of the guy you just got off the phone with."
"Is he a Folk?"
"Yes." No. That being said, if he wanted to round up a bunch of gangsters to do some righteous murder, it wouldn't be difficult. Sue was a regular guy, kind of older, and reformed Christian. (The sort that doesn't addle you with their religious beliefs.) The thing is, everybody's related to someone who's married to someone who knows somebody who's in a gang. It's a law of nature, has nothing to do with what color you are.
"How did you get involved with gangs?"
"It's not difficult. I have affiliations." I made up some elaborate shit, very serious about it. Truth is, I can park in gangsta's only parking, but only because I have so many scars on my face and such a big sharky smile. You don't actually have to be a gangster to park there; you just have to look like one. I look like one, but I am not one. I don't get bossed easily; that's the difference there. The closest I come to being a gangster, is being the impromptu street comedienne who makes the guys in the monocolor shirts laugh with physical gags and jokes. Gangsters are used to having people be very scared of them and it's a bit dehumanizing, so they love it when somebody like me (different looking, female) notices they're there and tells them a joke. "So, if you want to end up cut up while you're alive until you're dead in a bunch of little pieces and people will find a finger here, a foot there, all across the Pacific Ocean, please do kill me."
"How would any of them know?"
"Because I just got off the phone with one of 'em."
Rey was silent, seething. "Fine, I won't kill you!"
"Touch my kid and the same thing applies, only I'll do it to you myself and I'll be infinitely crueler."
I was serious about that one. Rey went to bed and I slept with my ears open and checked in the other room numerous times.
The next day, just before Harry was to go to school, he overheard Rey say that he was going to kill me, again. Harry let out a cry and I went into the RV.
"What's wrong sweetheart?"
"That person out there said she was going to kill you!" I forgot to mention, Rey looks like a beautiful woman; two x chromosomes. But Rey identifies male.
"Don't worry, honey, he's being hyperbolic."
Harry didn't catch onto the subtle difference in what he said and what I said. I took him to school, calmed him down, Came back. Handsome went to work. Rey asked for a ride to the store (which, by the way, nobody needs a damn ride there; you can walk there). So I gave Rey a ride to the store. While we were there, Rey stole two vodka bottles. We were then back at the RV, drinking. I had work to do that day. Very important work. Freelance writing work. This stuff never just falls into my lap but this time it did, and it was a high paying job.
"Fine, so, I'm going to kill you now."
"Seriously? That won't be easy for you."
"I'm going to fuck you and murder you."
"Fucking implies consent."
"Fine then, I'll rape you and then murder you," This was Rey talking; I can't see myself ever saying that to someone.
"Jesus Christ I'm so tired of fighting," I said. "You know, you could have consensual sex with me if you just waited a little bit. I'm kind of demi-sexual..."
His pants were down; he was wearing a purple strap-on dildo. He maneuvered me into the tiny bathroom on the sink and pushed inside of me without me ever giving express consent but maybe there was some implied consent there. I told him to stop numerous times, because he tried to choke me to death (a move easily defeated by a crossed-arms block), because he hit me numerous times, then I pushed him into the shower (think of that move Tom uses in The Boondocks) and stomped him like how he should have expected that would have went.
"You know, if you were the only allegedly black person I'd ever met," I said amidst stomps, "I would be totally racist now. I lived in a majority black area the majority of my life and lemme tell you..." Stomp stomp stomp, "You are the worst black person I've ever met. To call you a..." Stomp stomp stomp, don't wanna alienate my readers... "would be an insult to all the ignorant motherfuckers out there; it's supposed to be the worst word in the English language and yet it's too good for you. To call you a..." Here's another word I don't normally use; don't wanna alienate my readers, "would be an insult to all the crybaby pacifists out there; it's too good for you. You fucking...."
I heard footsteps, smoothed down my clothes, and jumped from the bathroom onto my bed.
Handsome. "Baby, what's going on?" Then, "What the fuck?" Rey had dragged himself to his feet and Handsome could see his strap-on dildo.
Rey said, "What the fuck?" as if he'd been done wrong.
"I'll take care of this." I grabbed Rey's arm and guided him out of the RV. "Go on now before I push you. We were supposed to do real business together, none of this shit." We were both writers; we were going to collaborate. "So this can never happen again. We are sexually incompatible."
"Fine, you racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic piece of shit!"
"Keep talking about yourself that way!"
We got into a yelling match and for once I sounded like that white trash trailer park person I claim not to be. Sure I live in a trailer park but I am far too proper for anybody to call trash and not be talking about themselves. This old pothead who once yelled at me to shut the fuck up because apparently my voice carries (I turned around and stared at him and told him I didn't hear him the first time, sir, and he mumbled something and ran back into his RV) came outside and asked me if I needed any help.
"Mind your own fucking business, old man!" I yelled at him for his sake.
We made significant eye contact and he nodded and went back into his RV. Another guy, an old black guy who looked like he was in his thirties, came by and said, "Rose, you never talk like this; what's going on?"
"I'm getting rid of a FEMALE serial killer, and it would be best if you just let me handle it."
"Okay, call me if you need me."
I said a lot of stuff I wasn't proud of on that day, and Ley left, having a great deal more respect for me than he'd had previously. I'd covered his body with bruises. It was by conscious decision that I didn't break his bones.
Later, I apologized to my neighbors for my breakdown and didn't explain anything to Handsome. The neighbors were understanding; I went into a dissociative fugue.
By no stretch of the imagination, Handsome deserved better. But by nature of going through a dissociative fugue, I had no idea what was going on and went to work. I'm supposed to be a humorist. I wasn't funny that day. Manic, yes; funny, no.