Nathan was mulling over his plans for the evening (Friday night in the big city!) when his cell went off.
The ring tone spit out the message like clock work.
That always took strangers within earshot by surprise.
Dare he answer it?
Nathan flipped the top of his cell and glanced at the number.
Ah, it was Jon.
Maybe, he'd like to cruise out to the Casino and blow off some steam, too.
"Yellow?" he teased playfully in to the mic, as he waited for his old school pal to respond.
Jon was having some problems with his girlfriend and was knocking him up - as English blokes would say in jolly old England across the big pond - to cry on Nathan's wide shoulders.
It was going to be a snap to twist his arm and arrange to hook up at Clay and Kearney where the rambunctious due could hop on a shuttle out to Red Hawk to gamble.
"See 'ya at 7 o'clock sharp, then."
As usual, Jon was tardy.
"Fashionably late," he uttered up defiantly, as if to say "so there!".
When it came to the nuances of social etiquette, Nathan wasn't one to dither.
Notwithstanding, his buddy needed a little sprucing up in the wardrobe department.
He gave Jon the quick once over.
The same old same old.
The 6' 2" former football player was sporting rugged black jeans (accented by an ornate western-style belt at his slightly-overweight waist), finely-tooled custom-made boots, and faded rustic plaid shirt topped with a requisite ubiquitous ten gallon cowboy hat (which screamed out red neck).
He was an ass-kicker, there was no denying it.
"Heh, let's zip over to McDonald's and get a burger," Nathan coaxed, as he double-checked the mad money in his worn leather billfold."
"s not steppin' inside of that fuckin' hellhole. I told 'ya, before. I'm tired of the immigrant workeover-running the place," he barked at his friend in disgust.
"Oh, come on. It's not that bad, Jonny-boy!"
"Look, McDonald's used to be a great American success story. When the guy who founded the place went global, and started to rake in millions, it underscored what capitalism was all about in this country. There's nothing wrong with the work ethic, and trying to strike it rich in the good old U of S A! But now, fast-food take-out joints like McDonald's are taking a nose dive, kiddo. To cut back on overhead, and increase profit, the greedy bastards have been rustling up low-paid illegal immigrants to serve junk-food junkies around the nation. And, to make matters worse, most of 'em don't speak any English. All they know is how to punch in the code for a McMuffin. And, calculate the change with the help of the cash register."
Jon paused to catch his breath.
"You know what really irks me now?"
Nathan was afraid to ask.
"Well, I'll tell 'ya," he continued, without skipping-a-beat.
"About every two-and-a-half seconds, some jerk-off in a brown monkey suit, starts dawdling next to the table while I'm trying to eat my happy meal. With a scraggly mop in hand, the loser starts to scour the floor over and over again. Seesh! The reek of detergent up my nostrils is enough to make me throw up, Nat."
"You're hilarious," Nathan chuckled a little nervously, when he caught sight of a couple of tough swarthy-looking construction workers giving the two of them dirty looks from a perch at a bus stop.
"You'd better keep it under your lid," Nathan half-whispered under his breath.
"They'll peg you for a racist. You'll get beat up like that gal in Baltimore."
"Fuck 'em. When they belly-ache about their rights and being mistreated, that's just Jim dandy. Ain't it? But, when an annoyed Anglo-Saxon legitimately gripes about the behaviour of a Mexican or a Black, they're called racists," he lamented, as he gave a knowing glance to the two dudes who were now glaring at him.
"The gardeners in WeHo and Beverly Hills tick me off, too Every ten minutes, they're hosing down the sidewalk. They don't have a clue about conservation, for one thing. And, forget about being knowledgeable about water shortages, either. The leaf blowers? Noise polluters, for starters. Ever watch those idiots in action? They just blow a whole stack of dead leaves from one spot to another, then back again. An exercise in futiliry. Great way to go, if you're being paid by the hour. Useless, fuckers! One day, one careless worker splashed water on my expensive boots. Did he apologize? No, sir! Must have been born in a barn. No manners whatsoever," he scowled.
"Well, in some respects, you're right," Nathan started to reply, before he was cut off.
"Damn right, I am. I talk the talk. I say stuff that other folks are thinking, But, they're too candy-ass to speak up about it. I tell 'ya, I am sick of the way decent white Americans are being treated in this country today. We should run 'em all out, send 'em packing."
At this juncture, Nathan howled.
His buddy was not unlike some ignorant - back-woods hillbilly - depicted in some Hollywood movie!
"Well, you can't take it out on them, really. Big corporations want cheap labor, so they exploit illegal Mexican workers. A lot of these immigrants come to America - legally or not - for a better life. Jon, aren't you familiar with the passage inscribed on a plague at the Statue of Liberty - you know - the one about the humbling masses?"
"Humble assholes, more like it. I wouldn't mind, if they pulled their weight. But, the truth of the matter is, as soon as they get to this country they go on welfare and drain the public coffers. They are the scourge of the earth, if 'ya ask me! On the news the other night, one anchorman reported that the Latino population has tripled from 15 million to 50 million in just a scant few years."
"Really?" Nathan responded in shock. He had no idea.
"They're taking all the jobs from young Americans. When I was a kid in the burbs, students usually worked part-time at McDee's on Easter break, during the Christmas holidays, and throughout the summer holidays. The money they earned paid for the cost of tuition, books, and their upkeep at College. Now, it's a lot tougher to get by, especially now that the Universities have raised the fees."
Nathan couldn't really argue to the contrary about that. It was true, after all. Times were tough, alright.
"I've heard that some of these McDonald's franchises are owned by drug cartels and that they're hiring their own, if you get my drift."
"That's preposterous. You don't know the owners are drug dealers."
"I wouldn't be surprised."
Quite a few immigrants from India own 711 convenience stores, so I don't know what is wrong with that.
"Just wait. One of these days they're going to poison us with that fast food junk at the take-out counter. Mark my words. Remember when that controversy took place in Arizona last year over the Mexican illegals? It was revealed that Hispanic instructors were teaching grade school students to mistrust white folks. And, at taxpayers expense! The jerk-offs actually hammered into their heads that white folks were responsible for their alleged oppression. Give me a break!"
And, there's another thing, he continued with his rant.
"Ever tried to have conversation with one of 'em?"
"When a Black individual and a White person have a conversation, their emotions usually ripple across their faces. So, 'ya get a sense of how a person is reacting to the other. "Ya get a line on how an individual is relating. With a Latino? Nothing! Pay attention next time. I have noticed that if I ask a Mexican a question - or speak to them in general at McDonald's or wherever - that they don't reveal their feelings. Their faces are blank! All the personality of a sluf. You know that old expression, eh? The lights are on, but nobody's home. Some days, I want to reach across the counter and shake some sense into them. What morons!"
Now that Jon was all fired up, it was difficult to calm him down.
"And, when they talk in Spanish with another employee, they do it to exclude white folks from a conversation. That drives me up the wall. I get angry. In fact, I want to shout at them - "Look this is America. Speak English. If you don't like the way we do things here, go back to Mexico!".
"They were probably born in Silverlake," Nathan kidded, as he glanced at his watch to check the time.
I had a real laugh the other day when I played a joke on one of them on the counter at McDonald's on Pine Street.
When a short fat Mexican worker turned to a fellow co-worker, and spoke to her in Spanish, I jumped on it.
"I know how to speak Spanish, I sternly warned her, as I looked her dead in the eye."
"You do?" Nathan reacted with surprise.
'No. Of course not. I just said that so she wouldn't try to pull that stunt in the future. If that low-life thinks I understand Spanish, she won't make fun of me to her co-workers in the future."
"But, you don't know that," Nathan replied calmly.
"You can tell. If you have words with someone, and they turn to a friend and whisper something hoping not to be heard, I think it is pretty much a given that they're disrespecting you whether you know it for a fact or not."
"Nathan, you can tell by the way they act after-the-fact."
"Jon, you're paranoid."
"Nope. I just know when I am being made a fool of, and I don't like it."
Fortunately, at this juncture in the heated conversation, the bus pulled up.
Now, the tirade would stop in its tracks, thankfully.
He hated it when Jon was on the rag about illegal immigrants.
But, believe it or not, just about everyone he knew was up-in-arms about the escalating situation with illegals.
In particular, as Jon noted, the general consensus was that their was a sinister plot underfoot - a conspiracy - to secure U.S. Citizenship for illegal Mexican workers (even by nefarious outrageous means).
Recently, he was sickened when a news report exposed a group of illegals who were renting a safe house, where pregnant Latinos were housed to help carry them to term.
When the neighbors complained that something suspicious was going-down on, the authorities stormed the premises, and found about two dozen babies in cradles in a kitchen with plastic draped over the young ones in a makeshift kind-of incubation tank.
Baby factories proliferating in the United States.
No wonder they call them anchor babies.
And, get this.
Immigration issued a press release informing the media that they were not going to charge the individuals with a crime.
They just shut down their shop.
Well, it doesn't take a genius to figure out that they'll just start up their baby factory somewhere else more remote, maybe.
Where will it all end?
Nathan shuddered to think.
(to be continued)