Land Of The Free, My Ass !
by Saab Lofton
In Seattle, the Pike Place Market (a century old venue for merchants, craftspeople and small farmers) has its own monthly newspaper -- for the past several months, a literary serial of mine appeared in it. The serial is entitled Lady Coyote, which is about a fictitious street musician who sings for spare change and dispenses wisdom the way an ancient sage would.
However, the newspaper's publisher, Gary Goedecke, physically threatened me when I asked about my paycheck! TWiCE! The first time was over the phone, at which point, he claimed to have studied under Bruce Lee himself when the legend lived in Seattle, so his old ass actually challenged yours truly to a martial arts duel!
The second time was in person, and yes, I finally got paid, but then Gary got in my face, shook a balled fist at me and swore that I'd "regret it" if I ever asked him about money again! What's worse, Megan Lee, the paper's editor, sat right there behind her desk the whole time and did/said NOTHiNG!
Later, she even went so far as to imply that I was somehow at fault. You see, Gary's wife died earlier this year, the late Mrs. Goedecke handled payroll, so merely mentioning the word "payday" will set him off? Once again, white folks having the gall to expect everyone to tip toe around their already colossally spoiled comfort level ...
How about this: Get over that culturally programmed urge to blame a nigger for every-fucking-thing and simply admit that -- death in the family or not -- it is entirely unprofessional (and downright psychotic) for a publisher to threaten a writer!
For the record, I could've easily taken this senior citizen down, with or without a black belt, but that's soooo besides the point -- here, chew on this for a while ...
pro·fes·sion·al adj \prə-ˈfesh-nəl, -ˈfe-shə-nəl\
3: following a line of conduct as though it were a profession
... today, the latest issue of the Pike Place Market newspaper was released -- after being two weeks late; more unprofessional behavior -- and Episode 6 of Lady Coyote was nowhere to be found. There was no explanation or apology or anything. The following is the episode in question, and after reading it, one can clearly see why a teabagging minuteman like Gary Goedecke would have a problem with its message (Oh, did I forget to mention how right-wing Gary is?) ...
a fictional series of vignettes
by Saab Lofton
"Communism forgets that life is individual. Capitalism forgets that life is social, and the kingdom of brotherhood is found neither in the thesis of communism nor the antithesis of capitalism but in a higher synthesis. It is found in a higher synthesis that combines the truths of both."
--Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
To a populace made callous by corporate culture, the homeless are odorous eyesores, but however unsettling they may occasionally be, their presence is a reminder that Lyndon Johnson's War on Poverty rages on. And when an insensitive tourist pointed out the amount of transients in Pike Place Market, Lady Coyote took that as a cue to strum a melody about how hard street people have it …
In Saturday morning serials
The hero hung from a cliff
Well, we're all a paycheck away
From being frozen stiff
... sadly, her song failed to sway the smug tourist: "We're damned if we do and damned if we don't. Either folks are free not to care or we're forced to help the poor -- and before you know it, we're in some Stalinist dictatorship."
"That's ludicrous," Lady Coyote angrily glared with a pair of narrowed eyes, "my mother is from Scandinavia, where there's free expression and a rock bottom low level of poverty--"
"--but Scandinavian taxes are sky high," the tourist rudely interrupted, "I'm not spending ten bucks for a can of beer just to take care of some stranger!"
"Strangers are friends you haven't met," Lady Coyote then glanced at this tourist's hand, "besides, aren't you holding a bus schedule? Isn't public transportation paid for via taxation?"
A thoroughly bested tourist stormed off while Lady Coyote called out, "enjoy Seattle's Ride Free Zone!"
(by the way, for those of you who don't live in Seattle, the buses there are free between six a.m. and seven p.m. so long as you're riding within the confines of downtown)
I posted this because it's important for people to realize America is NOT a free country, but an expensive country, and that freedom of the press belongs to those who own one. The snide bitchy critics who insist that my poverty is supposedly my own fault are never around for moments like this -- when something as rare and bizarre as a publisher threatening a writer's life occurs ...