You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I'll rise.
Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I've got diamonds At the meeting of my thighs?
Out of the huts of history's shame I rise
Up from a past that's rooted in pain I rise
I'm a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear I rise
Into a daybreak that's wondrously clear I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
Still I Rise ~ Maya Angelou
Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof
Proverbs ~ 18:21
|laundrette (by bcharles deviantart.com)|
The Tongue That Wags The Dog's Tale
"Chinese ... Japanese ... dirty knees ... look at these ..."
He was sneering to himself as he observed the scene below.
A boyishly good-looking man with a messy mop of brown hair and fierce blue eyes.
His face had changed from contorted grimace to mocking smirk.
John Rossiter was standing on his balcony.
His council flat.
John Rossiter was chuckling to himself as he watched Mrs Chang putting her washing out.
Regular like clockwork.
The block of flats resided in the poorer end of New Acres but faced the well-to-do houses of those who had made it.
She was a small and attractive Chinese woman who always spoke simply and eloquently.
No wasted words.
Her motions were always quick and nothing was ever wasted - she always spoke simply and eloquently.
John Rossiter had been a mechanic for twenty years but had been out of work for five years now.
A man of leisure.
Angry at the twist of fate.
Sleight of hand.
Another one on the scrapheap.
Most days Rossiter drowned his bitterness and dejection with cans of Stella - but because he was always focused on his predicament, there was always more resentment and objects of wrath to curse.
The Chang family were high on his priority list.
His hit list.
The hate list.
Rossiter often wondered how the Chang's had managed to buy a small terraced house when he was relegated to living in a crumbling block of flats.
Their dirty and dilapidated launderette couldn't have been making that much money.
Crappy little hole.
Tear it down.
So John Rossiter put it down to racial prejudice.
The one legged black lesbians.
The law of averages.
Give the fucking immigrants all the jobs.
As far as he was concerned it was the weak puppet government was pandering to all the foreigners and giving them hand outs.
Too scared to take a stand.
Pandering to them.
Especially the fucking headscarf wearers and their bearded husband.
Four-hundred years behind.
Like their women.
Walking behind their husbands.
The "powers that be" were obviously scared unless the thieving foreigners squealed about their human rights and called down hell fire.
"You get nothing unless you're a one legged lesbian or a scrounging foreigner!" John Rossiter announced loudly to his friends in The Moby Dick public house one afternoon.
His friends all laughed in unison.
The Moby Dick.
A stomping ground for all the embittered and lost souls of New Acres.
Scene of much drunken tom-foolery.
John Rossiter was sick and tired of every nation under the sun invading his little England and draining it of it's economy.
"I remember when Britain was great but not anymore!" Rossiter added melodramatically that afternoon in the pub,
Everywhere he looked he saw strangers.
"Fucking no white people left now"
In all his forty-five years John Rossiter had never seen so many foreigners cluttering up the place.
Or so many head scarves.
"The fucking ninjas"
England was no longer England to him.
It was held in a strangle hold.
"I'm not religious" John Rossiter exclaimed "But I 'aint having some backwards fucking religion taking over. This is meant to be a fucking Christian country!"
Several friends grunted in approval.
|When the door closed (by hearthy deviantart.com)|
Shing Chang was small and had a wizened face and did not speak unless he had to.
Rossiter listened to the couple talking in a language that sounded ridiculous to him.
Chiming sounds like a malfunctioning clock.
Fingers across a blackboard.
John Rossiter winced as he glared at them.
Fucking back to Vietnam or where ever you frigging came from.
Then the disgruntled man turned to look at his bushy golden retriever who was waiting patiently for him by the door.
The dog looked up expectantly at him.
"Come on Carlos!" Rossiter exclaimed stubbing out his cigarette "Let's go for a little jaunt!"
If only humans were more like dogs.
Easy to train.
You could put them down when they got ill or when they exceeded their usefulness.
Put down all the foreigners.
The dog barked back enthusiastically.
John Rossiter ruffled the dog's coat affectionately.
The only show of affection all day.
He was a lonely man.
If only foreigners were like dogs.
"Shove them all outside in the cold for the night" He sneered
If only he could train Carlos to bite or eat those scum.
But he was a big soft lump.
Perhaps Rossiter would see that bird with the big tits at the hairdressers.
Big pair of knockers.
Fucking hooked up to a big black man.
As if Englishmen were not enough for her.
Perhaps she'd be in sitting at reception with her jugs hanging out.
Nig nog loving whore.
Two hours later and John Rossiter was in The Moby Dick public house surrounded by a motley group of rowdy friends.
He was King of the castle.
John Rossiter loved being the centre of attention.
Most of the throng around him had known him all his life.
Half of them hadn't worked in years.
Some of them were on the sick.
Fiddling the authorities.
Too complacent to move.
Some of them were moonlighting.
Ducking and diving.
The government had driven them to it.
Giving all the jobs to blacks.
"Ask any patriotic Englishman and they'll agree with me!" John Rossiter scowled - slamming his pint glass down "You work all your sodding life for a couple of pennies and these thieving bunch of free-loaders just walk in and take your job and your goddamn money from under your nose!"
An Asian man walked past and shot Rossiter a vicious look.
Fucking corner shop owner.
"No offence mate" John Rossiter called out to him "I'm talking about the other Paki's who sponge off us and steal our jobs!"
Several friends laughed out loud.
"Bastards!" Shane Harlow snarled "They come here because they can get it all free. The house's and everything else besides!"
"Glass the cunt" Rossiter snarled nastily.
"England for the English!" Jason Fipps asserted enthusiastically.
"I am no racist but those Indian ones are devious fuckers!" Harry Weaver pronounced angrily "Those fucking Muslim ones are the worst! Want to make us all fucking like them"
"Religion is for weak minded sheep!" John Rossiter retorted in a passion "I believe in science and not that fucking bollocks!"
Several men laughed - although most of them hadn't read a science book.
"Mad fuckers those Muslims!" Russell Lock exclaimed as he shook his head for maximum effect "Stone you alive for shagging. This country will soon be run by blackies!"
"Rivers of blood mate!" Shane Harlow bellowed as he downed his pint.
"Enoch Powell was bloody right ... and they called him a fucking racist!" Jason Fipps added with a sneer.
"What about the bloody chinkies?" John Rossiter interjected passionately "Have you seen the state of chinkie women? They're all fucking short and have no hooters!"
Several hours later and John Rossiter was back at his flat.
His little palace.
Smoking a fag and stroking the dog whilst watching the snooker on the TV.
His partner strode into the room and virtually flung his dinner at him.
A tall and attractive blonde with vibrant green eyes.
Worked in the travel agents.
Too good for him.
And she knew it.
Virtually threw his dinner at him.
"Hey - cut it out!" John Rossiter exclaimed.
"It's curry" Naomi Page declared "You like that don't you?"
She eyed him up and down.
What happened to the lad she'd grown up with?
The well mannered young man who'd made such an impression on her.
He'd been replaced by a prematurely aged racist.
Sometimes she refused to let him near her.
He repulsed her.
But she stayed with him.
John Rossiter suddenly noticed that she was dressed in a little silver dress and wearing sparkly high heels.
"I'm going out" she announced.
He barely noticed anything she wore now.
She might as well have been a ghost.
"Where are you going?"
"Out with the girls!"
"Never you mind. You can come too - but you'll have to wear a dress!"
Naomi barely suppressed a smirk.
John Rossiter in a dress.
Now that was something she'd pay to see.
She pulled on a coat and was out the door within minutes.
"Fucking shut up!" Rossiter sneered.
The Pavilion night club was busy tonight.
Naomi Page was sitting between her three friends.
Most of them were sipping cocktails and giggling together.
Page's best friend Jackie Osie was also present.
Osie was mixed race.
John Rossiter hated her.
The feeling was mutual.
Osie's father was Nigerian and her mother was English.
Pretty and self contained,
Always well turned out.
Jackie Osie worked at the pharmacy at the local hospital.
Osie had been watching Naomi Page like a hawk.
Page seemed particularly distracted tonight.
It was clear something was wrong.
"You really need to dump that loser, babe" Jackie Osie informed her best friend firmly.
"What do you know?" Naomi Page shrugged looking away.
"I know he's the biggest racist pig I have ever met!" Osie retorted sharply "I know that you deserve better than that scumbag!"
The other girls had become very quiet.
"Why do you have to always make this about him?" Naomi Page replied fidgeting uneasily.
"Because your boyfriend is a disgusting animal!" Jackie Osie interjected "And Karma is a bitch, honey!"
Naomi wasn't going to argue.
She loved and hated her partner.
All the girls stared silently at each other as the music blared around them.
They all hated John Rossiter.
Wondered what the hell Naomi saw in the bastard.
The night was over.
"I just don't want you to waste your life with that loser when there are so many men out there" Jackie informed Naomi.
"Like Louis" Naomi replied.
"Like Louis" Jackie said with a smile.
Jackie's good looking baby brother.
Had the hots for Naomi since God knows when.
And he was good-looking and smart.
But Naomi just stayed with that loser.
That racist bastard.
Because she pitied him.
No basis for a relationship.
The two women kissed and departed.
There was nothing more to say.
Hopefully Naomi would see the light some day.
The following day, John Rossiter observed Mrs Chang from his balcony again.
She was carefully gathering up her dry clothes from the washing line.
"Bloody ching-chong bitch" Rossiter snarled "Go back to ching-chong land!"
"Don't be so nasty John!" Naomi Page exclaimed with disgust from the sofa.
"Sod off!" Rossiter retorted
"She's bloody parasite"
"Actually, I think Mrs Chang is a very nice lady"
"You fucking love her!" John Rossiter retorted with derision
Naomi didn't look up, she was flicking through Marie Claire magazine.
"You're a bloody lesbian"He added.
"You'd like that wouldn't you?"
"Maybe me and Jackie can put a floor show on for you?"
"And you love the blacks as well!" John Rossiter added with contempt.
"Well you know what they say about them"
She was smiling.
John Rossiter grunted.
"That they have something big that you are clearly lacking" Naomi Page finished easily.
The confused expression on John Rossiter's face was priceless.
Naomi Page had spent her entire life saving people.
But perhaps John Rossiter was a lost cause.
He was a child-man.
Never knew his dad.
His mum was drunk half the time.
But he'd been a charmer.
Gift of the gab.
But that seemed like a lifetime ago.
He was a sullen man now.
Bitter and resentful.
Now all she saw was someone she was growing to hate but too scared to leave.
The following day John Rossiter was walking past the old launderette with his bushy dog.
Carlos the wonder dog.
Suddenly a familiar voice began speaking to him.
"Nice dog" the soft voice pronounced.
And John Rossiter knew exactly who it was.
He could fucking smell her.
The smell of that shit they ate.
John Rossiter slowly turned to face Mrs Lanying Chang.
She had that knowing expression on her face that Rossiter detested.
Mrs Chang was like a Chinese Yoda.
Wizened and all-knowing.
"Very nice dog" the older woman repeated as she bowed slightly.
Grinning like a loon.
When Mrs Chang looked up she had a strange smile on her round face.
There was an unflinching look in her black eyes.
Slitty fucking eyes.
A chill suddenly ran down John Rossiter's spine.
He stared at the woman for a long moment.
What powers did she possess?
"Well ... ah ... thanks ..." John Rossiter stammered.
Ashamed of his weakness.
He suddenly felt disgusted at his politeness.
Should of told her to fuck right off.
"You come again" Mrs Chang urged "bring dog ... we have tea"
She was staring into his eyes with that odd smile.
John Rossiter was taken aback by the invitation.
Bile rose in his throat.
He was instantly suspicious.
"I'd best be going" Rossiter said finally
The woman nodded slightly.
"I need to see a man about another dog"
She missed the note of sarcasm n his voice.
Stupid fucking bitch.
The Chinese woman was still affecting that peculiar smile as he walked away.
Sitting in the park as Carlos bounded around with the other dogs - John Rossiter pondered the recent exchange with the strange Mrs Chang.
The more he thought about it the angrier he became.
"How dare she even address me?" He snarled.
The sight of her shining face smiling at him had totally unnerved him.
That he exploded.
"She was fucking laughing at me!" John Rossiter.
"I'm sure she wasn't" Naomi Page replied calmly.
He was obsessed with the Chang's.
They were sharing a bath together and the suds and bubbles had long since evaporated.
"You weren't there" Rossiter growled "I tell you, that chink bitch was taking the piss out of me"
|My Beautiful Laundrette (by djailledie deviantart.com)|
She hated the way he talked about other people.
Page stared back at her lover with bewilderment.
It was getting cold now.
In the gloom, a shadowy figure crept along the street under the cover of darkness.
A broken lamp flickered as the man stood outside the shabby launderette.
A silvery can flashed in his hand.
John Rossiter stared with contempt at the chipped paint work and smudged class window.
He surveyed the scene.
The shop was so run down that it was bound to be devoid of any modern features like alarms or CCTV.
The man laughed to himself.
"Dirty rice picking fuckers!" He snarled.
Fuck off back to Cambodia or whatever hole they crawled out of.
Carlos the golden retriever had followed him out and was sniffing around and growling.
"Quiet mate!" Rossiter addressed his dog sternly "We don't want to wake those freaks up!"
With a sweeping gesture, the embittered man traced a large swastika on the glass.
Then in large spidery letters he sprayed a slogan on the wall.
EAT SHIT AND DIE
John Rossiter stood back and admired his handiwork.
"With any luck the filthy bastards will get dysentery and die any way!" He snarled.
Then he hurled a brick through the window and ran off with his dog in tow.
The following day John Rossiter was holding court in the The Moby Dick public house.
He had been explaining the previous day's events to his friends.
Rossiter savoured every moment.
And everyone clung to every word he said.
"Maybe Chang wants your body mate!" Shane Harlow bellowed.
Several people laughed.
The surly man enthusiastically patted John Rossiter on the back.
Rossiter had a face like thunder.
Don't joke about this shit.
"You should have seen the state of that launderette this morning" Jason Fipps announced "Graffiti and a broken window. It was a right state!"
John Rossiter had gone very pale.
Like a xheet.
Like one of Mrs Chang's sheets blowing in the wind.
He felt sick in his stomach.
"A Nazi sign as well" Fipps continued "Someone must really hate them"
"Not hard!" He retorted "Bet they reek of chow mein! Dirty Bastards"
"Fucking deserve it if you ask me. Does anyone fucking use that grotty launderette anyway?"
Rossiter also laughed
But he shifted uneasily where he stood.
It was too close for comfort.
He;d been an idiot.
But they deserved it.
Coming over here.
Stealing our jobs.
EAT SHIT AND DIE.
Three of hours later and John Rossiter and Naomi Page were lying in bed.
The sex had been fine.
But Naomi Page no longer felt satisfied and love no longer rendered her blind.
When she looked at her partner now, she saw a man who had prematurely aged and who was burdened by his own rage and bitterness.
John Rossiter had lit up and was smoking in bed - a habit that she always disliked.
She was lying with her back to her lover.
"I saw Mrs Chang today" Naomi Page announced "She was very friendly"
"Bet she was" Rossiter answered coolly.
"Got no friends has she"
"She asked us round for dinner" Page said simply.
John Rossiter felt as if a bucket of cold water had been thrown over him.
"Fuck off!" He exploded
"I fucking hope you said no!"
"Actually, I said we'd be delighted" Naomi Page said with a shaky smile.
"I said what a nice gesture and I said we' go!"
John Rossiter leapt out of the bed and pulled a dressing gown on.
"I can't believe it!" He raged "I can't stand those vermin and now you want us to actually eat their shit as well?"
"Oh come on" Naomi cried
"They are a nice couple and after what's happened ...they need friends"
"Tell them to go back to bloody Mongolia and find friends that speak that shitty language!"
"Oh grow up!" Naomi Page exclaimed rising up like a python about to strike "What is your problem?"
"I fucking detest the dirty inbreds!" Rossiter sneered.
"Well, it's too late" Page cried "And besides, I haven't had a Chinese in ages"
"I frigging bet you have!" John Rossiter rebounded "And a black as well!"
"Don't be so bloody rude!" Naomi Page commanded.
"I bet you've shagged that bloody nig nog bitch you hang around with!" Rossiter added maliciously.
Silence fell upon the warring couple.
"At least you let Carlos out"
Page added quietly.
She was exhausted from the fighting.
Waste of energy.
But how thoughtful of John to let the dog out.
"I didn't" Rossiter responded as confusion flashed across his face
"I thought you did?"
They looked at each other.
Three days later and the couple were standing outside the pleasant terraced house of the Chang's.
John Rossiter was dressed in a Marks and Spencer Italian suit
Naomi Page was dressed in a maroon evening dress from Monsoon.
They stood unsteadily beside each other.
As if they'd only just met.
Two school children on the first day of school.
Where had the love gone?
"If all this goes wrong, it will be all your fault!" John Rossiter snarled between gritted teeth.
Naomi Page looked at her lover but did not respond.
She had no energy to fight anymore.
Over the last couple of eveings she been thinking about Louise Osie a lot.
Called him secretly.
He seemed to really care.
Although Naomi felt guilty.
She'd made a decision.
Naomi Page was going to leave John Rossiter.
Get the dinner out the way first.
Then tell him.
In fact, she'd already left.
Naomi Page smiled back blankly.
Was quiet all the way to the Chang's.
Louis was everything John was not.
Kind and considerate.
Intelligent and attentive.
Everything that John Rossiter was not.
And he was black.
Handsome with green eyes and full lips.
Ten minutes later and the diminutive Mrs Chang was ushering John Rossiter and Naomi Page into a small but elegantly furnished dining room.
And Naomi wanted to run,
But she liked the Chang's.
She liked everyone.
She liked everyone.
And she was going to run off with a brown man and catch up on what she'd been missing.
"Welcome" Mrs Chang said with a slight bow.
The couple were momentarily taken aback by the tasteful artifacts and decor.
"This is a fucking palace" John Rossiter snarled under his breath.
Excusing herself politely - Mrs Chang joined her husband in the kitchen.
The starters were set out neatly on the dining table.
The cutlery gleamed and everything shone as new.
"Have you seen all this expensive shit?" Rossiter continued
"How did the bastard's get all this?"
"Hard graft" Naomi Page replied firmly as she took a seat
She didn't have any patience for him tonight.
Naomi nibbled on a piece of sesame toast as she watched her lover pace up and down the room.
Louis was waiting for her.
On the other side of this dinner party.
Her knight in shining armour.
He was a strapping man.
Naomi Page was barely able to conceal her contempt now.
Of all the men in the world she had fallen for a hateful racist.
One thing he'd never forgiven.
Her Serbian mother.
Naomi had a foreigner for a mother.
John Rossiter always glossed over it.
But she was dangerously foreign.
And he hated that part of her.
The yammering in a foreign tongue on the phone.
Taking our jobs.
Fucking our women.
Invading our country.
Clogging up the streets.
Fucking curry everywhere.
Taking our jobs
Fuck off and go back to where you came from.
Everyone had always agreed that Naomi Page deserved better.
But love was blind.
Louis was waiting for her.
Now she stared at her lover with ill concealed odium.
Carlos the golden retriever.
The missing dog.
He had shown more emotion at the absence of the hound than at any time during their three year relationship.
Posters announced the missing animal in shop windows and message boards all around town.
But Carlos had not materialised.
Rossiter's best friend had gone a wandering.
Started a new life like she would be.
With gorgeous Louis.
John Rossiter had taken the departure of Carlos hard.
He whimpered like his canine buddy.
And Naomi Page was past caring.
The couple glared at each other across the table.
Locked in an unspoken war.
The silence was quickly shattered
"Dinner is served!" Mr Shing Chang announced as the door flew dramatically open.
His guests jumped in their seats.
Mrs Chang wheeled in several intricate dishes on a creaking silver trolley.
John Rossiter's eyes widened at the sight of the delicacies.
The smell was intoxicating.
"For Miss - we have Chinese steamed fish and vegetables" Mr Chang declared with a flourish.
Naomi Page gratefully received her meal.
Perhaps the delicious meal would make her last night with John Rossiter more bearable after all.
|Kiko (by hearthy deviantart.com)|
The woman placed a large plate full of food before John Rossiter.
He looked down at his plate in awe.
It was a mouth watering mountain of food.
And it smelt delectable.
John Rossiter slowly looked up at Mrs Chang.
She was effecting the same curious smile that she had shown him that day outside the launderette.
Rossiter suddenly felt unreasoning fear and he did not know why.
His hosts continued to stare unflinchingly at him.
Their eyes were alight with little dark lights.
But John Rossiter shrugged off the incongruous impression the Chang's were making.
He could barely conceal a stiffed chuckle.
Naomi Page glowered at him from across the table.
"Bon appétit!" John Rossiter exclaimed loudly as he opened his mouth and put a large spoonful of rice into it.
From the moment he tasted his meal - Rossiter was utterly intoxicated.
What magic spell had the freakish chinkies cast over him?
His special friend rice was distinctive and flavoursome.
John Rossiter savoured every single mouthful - lingering with anticipation.
He could lovingly identify every ingredient.
All except the meat.
John Rossiter was having difficulty identifying the meat.
It wasn't beef.
But then he wasn't exactly a connoisseur of cuisine.
Hardly a chef.
He did everything but sniff the meat,
And it had an unfamiliar smell and texture.
But it was succulent just the same.
It was like silk.
Naomi Page continued to glare at her partner with mounting disgust.
How could he be so ignorant.
A true Anglo-Saxon.
Suspicious of everyone.
Poking at his food.
And then eating it as if he was eating her.
On the odd occasion that they actually made love.
If you could call it love.
The love had died.
Gone off with Carlos.
Now Louis was waiting for her.
The handsome brother of her best friend.
Now Naomi Page observed the sensuous way in which he delighted in his meal.
Like he was having an orgasm.
She'd forgotten what that was like.
And now Naomi Page fought the urge to throw up.
Her husband eating like a pig.
Lapping it up.
John Rossiter was making little sounds of gratification as he ate his food.
The sexual allusions were turning Naomi Page's stomach.
She looked away.
"Have they caught the culprit or culprits who damaged your property?" Naomi Page asked her hosts when she had recovered sufficiently enough.
"They are looking at CCTV footage" Mr Chang answered with a broad grin.
John Rossiter attempted to ignore Chang's comment.
But it rankled.
Even as his hosts continued to stare oddly at him.
The couple continued to eat their meal.
Mrs Chang surreptitiously ladled more rice into John Rossiter's plate.
She smiled broadly with pleasure.
Looking right through him.
John Rossiter shivered slightly.
Mrs Chang looked down upon him with a knowing smile.
From up above.
Looking down upon him.
A cat looking at a mouse.
That weird little smile that lit up her face.
Naomi Page dabbed her mouth with her handkerchief as she secretly considered stabbing her one-time lover in the heart with a carving knife.
Now she sat back and observed as he slurped away like his missing dog lapping up his Pedigree Chum.
"I am sorry to hear about dog" Mr Chang suddenly announced.
Breaking the silence.
The words hung in the air.
But John Rossiter was too immersed in his special fried rice to acknowledge what had just been said.
He was lost in his meal.
The orgiastic feast.
Slowly the Chang's shook their heads.
Like Siamese twins.
"We think that if your dog were here now, he would be delighted to see how much you enjoyed your meal" Mr Chang declared.
"Your dog is happy now" Mrs Chang added.
Still affecting that peculiar smile.
That knowing smirk.
By the time John Rossiter had realised what he was eating Mr and Mrs Chang were no longer smiling.
Their faces darkened.
Their eyes were shining with little black fires.
Two avenging angels.
And there was a an air of pure malevolence in the room.
Retribution had been dealt.
Naomi Page threw back her head and laughed out loud.
Louis Osie was waiting for her.
Retribution had been dealt.
"Chinese ... Japanese ... dirty knees ... look at these ..."
Mr and Mrs Chang's had said in unison.
The words hung in the air.
EAT SHIT AND DIE.
It was around this time that John Rossiter pulled a long golden hair from his mouth.
|stop racism (by pourin deviantart.com)|