Chapter 3: The ER

John strolled into the emergency room with a gait which--were it not for his general appearance--might cause one to confuse him for holder of title deed on this particular property. He just had an altercation with that ginger hobo, and decided that due to the possibly lethal dose of benzos (which he had mostly barfed up a few hours ago), he was gonna hang around in the ER just to be on the safe side.

"Standing room only," he said out loud, much to the confusion of a passing wheelchair-bound gastropod who couldn't help but notice that there were plenty of seats available in the waiting room ER.

What he was getting at is that he'd be damned if anyone found out about his ill-advised brush with pills, so rather than actually check in as a patient, he was going to stand around in the ER waiting room for the next two or three hours (because sitting was no good: were he to pass out sitting around, this would not be dramatic enough to catch the eye of anyone who he would need to stab adrenaline into his heart or whatnot).

He knew he was probably fine, but this would be an additional part of his penance for attempting to assassinate such an important local philanthropist such as himself. He rolled his eyes at his own indulgence in such meta-grandeur, a not uncommon occurrence.

He wandered into the waiting room, stood next to the vending machine, and began to ogle his cellphone--a past-time of anybody trying not to draw attention to oneself.

"William Blackshaw" called out the triage nurse into the p.a. A latino-looking man with a young woman escorting him got up and sludged over to the check-in desk. John found himself resenting the fact that--as he took mental inventory of the room--he was unable identify exactly what everybody's ailment was. After all, most of these people probably just had a bad fever, but his expectations of the E.R. waiting room archetype is that everybody should be sitting their with their own severed foot in their hands or burns on their face or a shark through their wrist... none of this 'everybody looks vaguely sick' crap.

"You don't look too sick," a voice said to John that he immediately begged to be a permanent deterioration of his hippocampus resulting in irreversible hearing of voices instead of pending interaction with a nearby denizen. He looked over his right shoulder and saw a blond gentleman roughly his age clutching his stomach.

"Seriously?" John's eyes said to Blondie without ever opening his mouth.

"Sorry, I know that's a dicky thing to say and generally a poor observation," followed up his new pal. "I'm just beside myself with frustration, because I've been here for hours in pain. But the pain is starting to be replaced with anger, perhaps that's the therapeutic philosophy of this waiting room."

John did that half-smirk pursing of the lips that indicated general ambivalence, and turned his head back to his phone.

"More likely though," continued the unfortunately real person, "they need to hire more white staff members, cuz this is getting ridiculous."

"Oh yea?" said John, who was wondering why he had been singled out for this unusual S.O.S.

"I actually live closer to Methodist, but it's like... all blacks working there. Fuck that," said Blondie.

"I take it you find that African Americans offer sub-standard medical care?" said John condescendingly.

"Dude, please. Don't even get me started. They've had a different genetic evolution than us. Who's more likely to injure or steal when things get tough, a group that evolved in a tribal setting or a group that evolved in a feudal one?"

"You sound like a very intelligent gentleman," John said as he wondered why he was always a lightening rod for shit like this. He was less interested in this dick's personal reasons for being a racist than his reasons why it was acceptable to engage a stranger in this type of conversation. This guy must be a special breed to take such personal sexual abuse upon the social contract.

"Look I know racism gets a bad name, but why do you think there was no looting in Japan after the Tsunami hit the power-plants? Simple! No blacks. They're all rioting in New Orleans. I personally have no problem admitting being a racist, I think people presume that all people are actually equal, which is very short sighted. I'm Brian, by the way."

"Well, Brian, I can appreciate your selective lack of presumption, but what would be your solution the the issue of blacks having an incompatible genetic evolution to whites?"

"Short of just sending them back to Africa. I don't really see a realistic solution."

"Really Brian? With all those answers in that brain, you think that we're simply doomed to make the best of a situation where different races start to evolve together?"

"I wouldn't call that evolution, I'd call it devolution."

"Let me ask you a hypothetical. Would you steal a loaf of bread to feed your family?" John said, putting his phone away.

"Hell, no. We live in a nation of laws, and I have a responsibility to support my family so that we never get put in that situation. I'm a hard working American. I'm Tea Party all the way."

"Brian, I hate to break it to you, but despite what you hear on Jon Stewart, true Tea Partiers aren't racists. Even the ones that think you want to be racists cuz that's what your daddy was... deep down you know that race isn't really what Tea Party politics are all about. The politicians say this, and you guys all wink in agreement, but--bizarre as is seems--it's actually true. Constitutionally centered small government is simply incompatible with racial intolerance. I can appreciate your desire to hold on to all the traditions that your grandparents handed down, but I'm afraid it's a lost cause."

"What, the Tea Party?" slammed Brian?

"No, racism." John replied.

"Are you gonna sit their and deny that 75% of incarcerated men are not minorities?" Brian retorted.

"Yea, I get all that, but what you're talking about is intolerance of a group of people. That's not true racism. Racism is a prejudice. It's an intolerance of a specific person because of their inclusion in a group. Listen, if you had a black neighbor who owned a successful small business and paid his taxes and voted for Tea Party candidates, you wouldn't have any problems with him, correct?"

"Well... No. Because all those things that make black people unlikable don't apply to him."

"Exactly. That wouldn't be pre-judgement, that would be judgement."

"Well, I'd be an idiot--"

"Yea, I know. On an individual level, you have no incentive to dislike a person just because of things that other people with their skin color do. Remember earlier when I mentioned how intelligent you sound? Well it's possible I was being a tad facetious. See, the thing about racism, it really only afflicts very average minds. Geniuses and the mentally challenged are never racists. Genuises, because they hold no value for lazy thought. And the mentally challenged, because their thought is so VERY lazy that it prohibits them from making the initial connections that would compare group actions to their skin color for the purpose of abstracting a worldview. But completely average intellect, they hear some rhetoric about how there is actually some science behind blacks and whites being different, and they want to use knowledge to help them navigate the world. Only problem is, like a chess game, you can only process a couple moves ahead. You know what it says about black people that they have built-in instincts for tribal behavior like crime and violence. But you don't know what it says about YOU for how you process this. When I asked what your solution was, you just shrugged like an asshole and daydreamed about them not being here anymore."

Brian snapped back, "Okay, Mr. Genius, if you're so smart, why don't you tell me the solution."

"The solution to what?"

"To the genetic predisposition of blacks to crime and violence."

John stared at him, "There's no solution for that."

"So how come no solution makes ME an idiot and YOU some type of fucking yoda?"

"Cause you're the one who had a problem with them."

Brian rolled his eyes, "You know, not having a problem with things doesn't make you smarter than me."

"It does if my goals are to not have problems."

"Now who's not critical thinking! If I have a problem, and there's no solution, I can't solve it by saying, 'It's not a problem anymore'!"

"Listen, you piece of fuck! A predisposition to crime is not a problem. You know what's a problem? Crime! If I have a predisposition to alcoholism, I have a potential problem: DUI. You know what would be good for me? Not hanging out in bars. If you're so worried about the African American prison population, maybe you should stop voting to cut programs and cut welfare. For someone who seems to think that blacks have no choice in the matter but to act criminally, you sure have no problem making the runway slick as shit, you cunt-whore! I'm not a very compassionate person, my sense of charity is basically limited to decreasing landfill volume by re-routing unsold breakfast burritos to soup-kitches. But salt of the earth grundels like yourself preach about Jesus and compassion all the time, until an arbitrary group of people has a difficult time assimilating to your by-laws, and it's 'to hell with those guys'. I'd love to see your attitude towards those with special needs. Send 'em back to the womb!"

Brian interrupted, "Always with you liberals, it's coddle, and no personal responsibility."

"Hey, fuck you buddy, I have no problem with the fact that most incarcerated men are black. If they wanna steal a car, fuck'em, they're going to prison. You're the jackoff who has a problem with some suburban nurse just because a bunch of drug dealers in Detroit want to spray bullets at each other all day."

Brian's red shirt had distracted John from the fact that he was bleeding Spartan-like through the fabric.

"What the shit happened to you anyway?" John asked.

"Some nigger stabbed me and took my wallet." Brian replied.

John remembered earlier wishing that this stranger wasn't real. He was beginning to take it back.

He was beginning to wish he was real.

John realized he wasn't standing anymore. He was down on one knee, the unfortunately imaginary aryan he was screaming at melted away and security guards were assembling in his periphery. He could make run for the door, but he wasn't sure he could trust his senses. Still, as the security guards approached, he had to admit to himself that he was not feeling particularly cooperative.

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