AMERICAN MUD

Tony steps out the front door, the collar to his leather jacket up to cover his neck from
the drizzle, and walked with a meaningful bop to the car. His eyes glance around him,
shifting back and forth like a caged tiger as he’s being gawked at by zoo goers. Tony is
also a caged tiger; though he can’t see the eyes watching him, he knows they are there.
He can never escape the eyes of Big Brother or Uncle Sam.

His paranoid glare doesn’t prevent him from stepping in a deep pile of mud. The ground
sinks under Tony’s step, a fitting burial for a shoe that costs $100 without its partner.
Tony emits a mild curse that seems much more profane in his hoarse voice.

Tony stares into the car before he opens the passenger side door. He needs to make
sure all is safe. It is. He opens the door to the car and takes a seat. He purposely
wipes the mud from his shoe onto the flooring of the car – punishment for the man that
disturbed his rest and caused him to ruin a pair of shoes. The person who is responsible
is his nephew Christopher, who looks up at him with frightened, solemn eyes. What the
fuck did he do this time? Tony thinks.

“Hey, Uncle Tone! I’m glad you can help me on such short notice,” Christopher says as
he puts the car in gear and drives down the street.

“Ah, what can I do if I gotta fuckin’ meathead for a nephew, eh?” Tony jokes. “Besides,
family is family.”

Tony looks out the window, at all the lights they drive by. The lights begin to blur to the
eyes at a certain speed, causing blocks to look like one giant store sign. Everyone has
something to sell, and everyone has a price. He thinks during one of the moments of
clarity he often has.

“So, what the fuck is this all about?” Tony asks as he stares out the window. When
Christopher fails to answer, Tony looks at him and repeats the question.

Christopher is visibly shaking. He’s in a situation he doesn’t know how to handle, which
is why he summoned Tony to bail his ass out. “I don’t know how to say this, but I did
something really fuckin’ stupid.”

“Eh, we all make dumbass mistakes when we’re young. What you do, knock up some
bimbo or some shit?”

Christopher laughs cautiously, as if he doesn’t think it’s funny. But to hear him laugh
eases Tony’s mind. “Naw, Uncle Tone, I ain’t do somethin’ like that. Besides, the
niggers are the ones that bail on their fuckin’ kids, and I ain’t no nigger.”

“But you listen to their fuckin’ music all the damn time,” snaps Tony as he turns off
the radio, killing Tupac in mid-verse. “What the fuck is that shit, anyway? I can’t even

understand what the fuck they sayin’! We should just take a ship and send them all
back to fuckin’ Africa, the fuckin’ apes. The same with the fuckin’ Japs and Koreans.
Slant eyed mutherfuckers!” Tony pauses to let the anger seethe in him. Unexpectedly
he bangs the etched-in “air bag” sign in front of him and says, “Moving in on our fuckin’
turf!”

“Yeah, I hear ya, Uncle Tone,” adds Christopher. He makes a turn into the back of
an abandoned store and parks the car. It’s a favorite spot of the family, because it’s
secluded, empty and has a dumpster and a rare payphone nearby.

Christopher pops the trunk, and both he and Tony exit the vehicle. They move to the
back of the car to peek at what’s inside the trunk. Tony isn’t so happy at what he sees.
“This is what I had to show ya.”

“What the fuck did you do?” Tony nearly shouts. “Do you know what fuckin’ hell fire is
gonna come down on our ass because of this?” Tony turns around and begins pacing
back and forth while mumbling “Jesus fuckin’ Christ. Jesus fuckin’ Christ.”

Tony surprising slaps him in the back of the head. “What the fuck, Christopher? What
the fuck? What did you fuckin’ use on this son uva bitch?”

“Baseball bat.”

“Jesus fuckin’ Christ. Do you know what we’re dealing with?”

Christopher shakes his head. “I don’t know,” he whimpers. “Could be Jap, Chinck, or
Korean … they all look the fuckin’ same to me.”

“We gotta get rid of this shit.”

“I was hoping you could fix it, you bein’ good with this sorta thing.”

“There ain’t no fixin’ this shit.”

“I was afraid you’d say that. I brought a trash bag.” He steps over to the backdoor,
opens it, and grabs a black trash bag from under the seat. He returns and Tony is still
looking down into the trunk shaking his head.

Together, they disassemble the body. This isn’t the first time they’ve done something
like this, and they’re efficient, clean, and professional. They know where to tug and pull
to get the job done quickly; they’re almost surgical in their manner. But they’re far from
surgeons.

They place the pieces in the trash bag and then carry the bag over into the dumpster.
Quietly and deftly, Tony and Christopher return to the car; their dark deed done. They
drive along for a few minutes in the direction of Tony’s house.

“You gotta learn how to fuckin’ control your temper,” Tony says calmly.

“I know. The fuckin’ thing wouldn’t work, so it pissed me off. I just fuckin’ lost it.”
Christopher shakes his head. “My father is gonna fuckin’ kill me when he finds out I
broke his plasma TV.”

By A. Jarrell Hayes

Bio: A. Jarrell Hayes is a poet and novelist born in Baltimore, Maryland. He is the author
of over ten books and ebooks of poetry and fantasy fiction. His next project is an urban
fantasy novella titled Detecing Magic with Dick Hunter, which is slated for a February
14, 2011 release. His books are available in bookstores nationwide and Amazon.com,
with autographed copies sold on his website www.ajhayes.com.

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