We have some little Asian haters in our apartment complex. This means they have a lot to hate, overrun as we are with Japanese, Korean, Chinese, and other people with black hair and non-white skin.
It started off with him and his friend yelling racial epithets at my youngest son from their balcony, which is higher than ours and which faces us. My son is in high school and doesn’t give a shit what some little kid and his friend say or do, so he just closed the blinds and ignored them.
Then a few mornings ago I was cleaning my bike and noticed a half-dozen exploded M80’s lying on the balcony. Ms. WM had told me that over the last few weeks the harassment had gotten worse; they’d begun shouting at her when she walked over to the parking garage.
I got home this evening to learn that it had escalated.
“You know little shitturds hate a Japnese?”
“Yeah. What’d they do now?”
“I’m gonna walkin to the garage and peeeeewww! Comes onna long water squirt. Little shitturds gonna sprayin me with pumpin water gun.”
“You’re fucking kidding me. What’d you do?”
“I done what you think I’m gonna done. I yelled at ’em little shitturds to stop sprayin onna water or they was gonna getta ass beating.”
“They shitturded runnin back inna the apartment. I was gonna make a appointment and runnin late so I was gonna go by this evenin but I got too busy onna dinner to worry ’bout little shitturds.”
At that moment there was a “thunk” against the balcony’s sliding glass door.
We turned off the lights and opened the blinds. There the little shitturds were, scampering back into their apartment. We saw a big guy from another apartment next to theirs and lower down doing exactly what we were doing, only he was already out on his balcony looking up at theirs.
I went out and saw three or four other residents, all on our side of the building, doing the same thing. “They throwing shit at you?” I asked.
“Yes,” everyone chorused.
“Well,” I said. “Let’s pay them a visit.”
I felt like Tai-Pan or the white dude in Shogun, leading my band of hardy Asian warriors off to battle. They were pissed. Some had been bombarded with half-eaten apple cores, others with banana peels, and one with a tennis ball.
We got to little shitturds’ door and knocked. No answer. Then I pounded. No answer. “I’ve tried to do this before,” said a guy named Yang. “But they never answer. Their parents aren’t home. They yell things all the time.”
“When I walk beneath their apartment they say things like ‘Chink!’ and ‘Japfuck!’ and ‘Yellow bitch!’ said one incredibly lovely young girl, who was a senior in high school. It’s pretty annoying.”
A little dog emitted a fearful, muffled yap from one of the inner rooms. “We’ll smoke the little shitturds out,” I said. “Eventually they’ll come to the door and listen to us talking, thinking we don’t know they’re listening. Then we’ll have ’em.”
We kept banging and knocking for a solid five minutes. Finally the little dog was yapping right there, on the other side of the door. I held up my empty hand, pretending to be speaking into a phone. Yang and the others stifled a laugh. “Hello? Security?” I said. “I’m over at apartment building 12 and there are some kids who are throwing stuff and shooting off what look like large firecrackers. Could you send someone over?”
The dog went completely silent.
“Oh, I see. That’s a code red? So I need to call the police? It qualifies as a terroristic threat? Okay. 911, right? Thanks. And you’re sure they’ll make arrests and take these kids to jail ? Great. Thanks again.”
The door swung open.
The two boys stood there, as pasty-faced and frightened as anyone I’ve ever seen, or imagined seeing. The ringleader stood in front. He was a very fat little seventh grader with long, unkempt hair, a small mouth, and the beady eyes of a bully. His accomplice was taller and skinny, blonde and blue-eyed, and he was shaking.
Shitturd One spoke so softly, and his voice shook so badly, that I could barely make him out. “I’m really sorry,” he said.
“Listen, do you sorry little snotnoses want to go to jail? That’s fucking assault, hitting people with shit, and it’s attempted battery throwing shit at their apartment, and it’s a goddamn felony to try and hurt someone with a fucking explosive!”
They were shaking so bad that the fat kid’s blubber on his neck was jiggling like a bowl of jello. “We’re really sorry, sir,” he half-cried.
“Sorry? You think I give a rat’s ass if you’re sorry? What’s your name, you little fucking punk?”
“Billy Snipkins,” he stammered.
“And what about asshole standing behind you? What’s your name, you stupid little prick?”
“Me?” he said.
“You don’t think I’m asking the fucking dog, do you?”
“But I don’t even live here.”
“That’s an extra year in prison for being a non-resident accomplice. What’s your fucking name?” I roared.
“What’s your fucking last name?’
“You two little pricks go to Shady Acres Middle School?” They nodded. “Okay. Talleywhacker, I know your name now and am calling your fucking parents. I have a student guide from last year.”
“Are the police coming?” asked Snipkins.
“Fuck yes they’re coming. And they’re bringing a fucking bomb squad and drug dogs.”
At the mention of drug dogs both boys began to cry. “We’re sorry!” they wailed.
“Well get your sorry fucking asses over to my wife and apologize to her and ask her to call the cops and tell them not to come. But she’s so pissed at your bullshit she probably will call ’em just for the satisfaction of seeing you two little assholes get cuffed and stuffed and dragged off to jail. And you can start your fucking apologies here.” I gestured at Yang & Co.
They were now crying in earnest, and apologized over and over to each of the assembled tenants, all of whom were doing their best to look stern, which was a challenge. Next we marched over to Mrs. WM.
“We’re so sorry!” they wailed.
“Why you wanna do that?” she said. “You thinkin Asian people onna bad? We makin your car and TV and iPhone and Chinese noodle. What you gonna do without no car and TV and noodle?”
They apologized some more.
“Where your momma and daddy?” she asked.
The fat boy looked down. “My parents are split up.”
“Where your momma then?”
“She always goes out to bars and stuff after work.”
There were a few seconds of silence as the picture gelled. He was a bored and angry kid, ignored by his parents, and he had no way left to get noticed in the world, or noticed by the world, except through causing trouble. In a few years he’d graduate to real trouble, if he hadn’t already.
My anger and sense of righteousness evaporated in an instant. That kid was me. “Look, pal,” I said. “This kind of shit will get you thrown out of here. Don’t take your anger out on people just because they’re Asian.” I wasn’t yelling anymore, and could barely muster up my lecture tone. “Go apologize to these other families and be done with it.”
He wasn’t crying now, but he was still terrified. “Are the cops coming?”
“No,” I said. “No cops if you’ll knock it off.”
“Okay,” he said. “I promise.”
Mrs. WM closed the door and we sat down at the table. She was grateful they’d been brought to justice. No one likes to be the object of racial hatred, regardless of the reason. But she’s also a mom, and happens to be the best one I’ve ever known. “Little shitturd’s momma better quit hoppin onna bars.”
“Yeah,” I said.
“You donna worse onna things than that when you was a kid.”
“Yeah,” I said.
“You feelin’ onna guilty ’cause you yellin at those boys but their momma and dad not around, and your parents was ignorin on you all time and you know how they feelin and they anger.”
“Yeah.” I said.
“You a grown up man now and gotta be a hypocrite. That’s what a growin’ up is for. So you can tell onna kids not to do what you did.”
“Yeah,” I said.
She reached over and squeezed my hand. “Don’ you feel onna bad. Those little shitturds gonna got a good lesson tonight.”
“Yeah,” I said.
“An you got onna good one, too.”