Cocksucking cunt-eyed Christ-killing halfbreed nigger-kyke faggot.
The words roiled inside Andy’s head, but never made it to his mouth. Senior management had their eye on Omar, wanted to make him more visible, give the company a more “multicultural” front so that row upon row of nerdy-looking white people didn’t scare off potential business. Which worked fine until their client had turned out to be the biggest homophobe good-old-boy an Oklahoma matron had ever squatted out. Even if Omar had kept his mouth shut about, his very presence had quite literally queered the pitch.
“…not going to bend over for some jigaboo buttboy!” rang out, and the office-space went still and silent for a moment as the words carried over cubicle walls and open office doors. Andy felt a dull ache begin in his chest. A chair squeaked, a heavy trod pounded four steps from the nearest open door, and he came onto the scene as Omar and Arthur were having it out.
It took half an hour of rising voices in Andy’s office to get both sides from the two men. About three-quarters of the office waited with one eye or ear toward the closed door, to see what would happen. Omar left first, face a sour mask, and shut the door first behind him. The security guard came a few minutes later with a cardboard box, walked Arthur back to his desk, and then escorted him out of the building. Word got around the building before Arthur hit the parking lot.
The clock ticked toward end of shift. Andy caught Omar outside on a smoke break. The big dusky man was sucking on a thin white Virginia Slim.
“I didn’t do it for you. I want you to know that.” Andy began, his tone flat of emotion “Some people might say that I fired Art because you’re multi-racial, and homosexual, and we need to keep our affirmative action or something. That’s not true. I mean, I wasn’t showing special preference or anything. I didn’t fire him because of you. What Art said, it was wrong of him to say that kind of thing, to anybody, about anybody. If you had said something like that, I would have fired you, but he said it so I fired him.”
Omar nodded, blew his smoke and ground out the butt, then walked back inside.
Andy took the bus home, sat with an empty seat between him and the black woman with the three mocha-colored kids, and watched the faces get on and off until his stop, thinking about the hotbox meeting in his office, all three men intense. Arthur had made every argument against Omar that Andy had never given voice to, voice finally cracking under the strain and stress that came from working eighty-hour weeks only to have the whole deal fall through with a dusky-skinned handshake and a lisped hello, but he stopped short of defending his words or trying to get Omar fired. Art knew he had been wrong, regretted it—or at least, regretted having been caught saying it. Andy was afraid Omar would get dramatic about it, but he stuck to the facts about what they had both said, letting Arthur dig his own grave with his own words.
At his stop, three olive-skinned lads with jeans pulled down to their buttocks waddled on, hanging off each other and talking crude. It wasn’t until he was half a block from home he realized they’d been speaking English.
“Obama’s claiming he’s black again!” Andy’s mother greeted him as he came in.
He shushed her with a kiss. “Mama, you shouldn’t say that.”
“But it’s true!” the blue haired woman said, gesturing at her laptop where the news was playing. “He’s a high yeller. No call to pretend he’s African-American. He’s mixed.”
Andy dropped the subject and picked up a beer from the fridge, headed to his room. After ten hard hours of grinding his ass into swivel-back and staring at a screen at work, he plopped down on his chair at cranked up the desktop. A teak-skinned beauty went down on a pale slab of white meat. Someone that might have been Omar’s brother was caught in a frozen grimace as two blond men took him from behind. A pale Mona Lisa smile played across the lips of a gravid white girl with jutting breasts and a taut swollen belly tattooed with “BLACK CUM SLUT” around the navel.
He deleted one series of captioned pictures, a half-literate story about slave girls that was nigger-this and nigger-that—but only after he’d read the whole thing through.
Spent and tired, the ache returned to his chest, Andy heard his mother snoring in the next room as the president gave a speech. He almost hadn’t voted Democrat, but did anyway. His mother certainly had not, and slept the sleep of the guiltless.