The Interrogation

Short story by P. Lewis Henderson

When I returned to my dorm that night, I discovered that I’d locked myself out; my keys were still inside my dorm. I helplessly knocked on the door. I could just barely hear my roommate snoring.

I decided to spend the night in the only place left open on campus—Robeson Hall, the Fine Arts building. I entered through the back where the door was open. I hid in one of the rooms, underneath the easels, nestling under the empty cartons of Chinese food and dust and discarded yellowed newsprint for about five hours or so until I was rudely awakened by a sharp whack across the buttocks. I lurched up and saw a CSU security officer standing there, looking down at me. “What the hell you doin’ sleepin’ in here? You homeless?”

“No, I can’t get in my dorm,” I said.

He sucked in his breath.

I think I remembered his face. He was the officer I went to report that my old car had been vandalized, and he looked very ugly this morning. His nostrils flared. Everything about him—his rigidity, the rapid anticipatory breaths coming out of his chest—spelled open hostility. He acted like he’d met me for the first time; worse, he acted like I’d committed manslaughter. The bastard wanted to see blood: it was written all over his face.

He drew his stick.

“You’re a liar,” he panted, casually flinging the stick around—before he took a wild swing towards my face with all his might. The stick hummed in the air as I ducked away from it. But that merely fed his rage/lust; he hadn’t gotten his release, so he swung the stick again against my ribs; the stick struck it with such force I was surprised to feel it didn’t hurt so much. He looked inexplicably outraged.

“You’re a liar,” he repeated…. “Tell me what the fuck are you doin’ sleepin’ in here, you pissy-ass fuckhead.”

“I already told you I can’t get in my dorm,” I panted, feeling my bladder open up against its will, and the first few droplets of urine already forcing their way into my underwear.

The cop didn’t want to hear what I had to say. He swung the stick towards my face again and this time, he made sure he didn’t miss. The stick thrashed me up across my eye, near the temple, and just at the edge of my mouth, up against the teeth; my teeth cut into my lip. He hit me again in the same place, then when my head jerked around he thwacked me across the back of my skull.

My whole head tingled and suddenly felt very heavy with rage; I seemed to have heard a thousand airplanes roaring through my ears at once. The blood streaming into my eyes began to burn and my right eye violently blinked. It was very thick, glue-like—not the bullshit blood when your finger gets cut. I could hear it dropping everywhere, on the papers, on the floor, like silent atomic bombs….

I looked up out of the other eye. He struck again, but missed, because I covered my head, and that pissed him off even more. I wondered if he was going to kill me; I only hoped he didn’t want to. I had never been beaten by the police and it was my assumption that all those stories about “police brutality” were just exaggerations of flighty, paranoid minds. But there was nothing fanciful about those bits of blood coagulating on the floor. Any more childhood fantasies still latent, kid?

“Show me some goddamn ID, you idiot,” he screeched in abject hostility, unbuttoning his holster.

I gave him my student ID—he snatched it rudely from me, looked at it, turned it around and around, held it up to the light, him poking his fucking Vaseline lips out all the while. “Is this a fake?”

“No—it’s real.”

“It doesn’t look real to me,” he snorted. “Now—how about your validated card? Huh?” He rudely flung the ID on the ground, and stomped on it. “Show me that.”

I pulled it out and showed it to him: he snatched that from me, too. “Oh—so you ARE a student here, after all,” he growled. “Well—that don’t make no goddamn difference to me. Get up, faggot.”

I stood up, but not fast enough for him, because he yanked me up violently by the bloody front of my shirt. Then he slapped me across the face with his big open palm. I felt a stinging numbness there where he’d hit me, commingled with all the other blows, physical and emotional, I had gotten there all semester long. “You’re onea them mo’fuckin’ white boys, huh,” he screeched, looking me up and down bitterly. “You think you somebody special, right? You think you can do whatever the fuck you like? Right? You think you King Shit? Huh?”

I stood there looking at him perplexed. He swung the stick towards me again and struck my arm as I dodged it. “I said you think you can do any fuckin’ thing ya want, right?? Well speak up!—“

“No,” I helplessly whimpered, “I never said that—“

“Don’t you ever talk to me in that tone of voice,” he suddenly spat.

“But I was just—“

“Shutup, nigger, you a goddamn liar!”

“But I—“

The coon cop pushed me roughly to the ground and started stomping all over and around my thighs. My angels told me he wasn’t the only coon cop in the building, and they proved to be absolutely right. The others came right on cue; the two feet turned into seven or eight others. All of them were security officers and, as I could vaguely smell, drunk. When they were finally finished, I rolled over on my back, because it felt better than being on my aching stomach. The ceiling twirled around and around, along with their faces and the coon cop who assaulted me first shrieked, bent over me, with his horrible stinking breath on my face, “you know I can just kill you if I wanted! Ain’ nobody would know I kilt you!”

The others were standing around looking when he forced me back up again by the front of my shirt. All of the buttons were torn off; my blood was all over my chest and my shirt and on his fingers and along the outer edges of his black hands. One of the cops vaguely smiles. Yeah, it’s funny that I got pummeled. The funniest fuckin’ thing in the world.

They make me sit in one of the stray desks. Coon-cop number one pulls his gun out of his holster and then roughly forces it right under my chin. The gun itself seems to be happy knowing I’m about to die; I can even sense the bullet giggling deep down inside the chamber. “I can kill you, black nigger. Or I can do this.”

He rips off my penny-loafers and my socks. He takes matches out of his pocket. Coon-cop number two gets up and locks the door just to make sure nobody comes in to spoil the fun. Coon-cop number three draws his baton, as does coon-cop number four. “Say,” says number four, “you a student here?”

“No, he isn’t,” spits number one, putting matches in my toes, “he isn’t. He’s got some goddamn fake IDs so he can come in here an’ loiter—or steal shit. Goddamn stupid sonofabitch.” He spits violently in my face. My jaws ached so violently I was unable to speak. He slaps me a couple times before the matches begin to burn into my toes. I started to scream, but as I shrieked the officers threw stray paper balls at me and told me to “shut (my) black ass up”. They’d handcuffed my hands to the desk by then and laughed at my every move, until coon-cop number one got up and gave me another violent push and knocked me down so that my head violently rapped on the hard tiled floor…. “Damn! Wilkins, you tryna kill the nigger–?”

“Thass right,” he shrieked, “thass right! Thass right! FUCK that punk-ass bitch-muthafucka! I don’t give a FUCK what the fuck he did do or didn’t do, I’mo fuck that nigger UP! I’mo kill that black-ass sonofabitch!—“

“Say, man,” Coon-cop number two suddenly said, stroking his night-stick, “less FUCK that nigger.” He laughed dryly when he said it. He turned to me and looked me dead in the face with this stupid half-smile. He had a very long aquiline nose with small lips and mouth and protruding buck teeth and skin like cold coffee; he had eyes that rolled around in their sockets with lazy arrogance. “Hey, bitch-nigger,” he barked, “you been fucked in the ass before?….”

I didn’t answer him. My mouth hurt—though I knew I had to get some words out of it if I wanted to live. He got up and walked over, uncapping his brandy bottle. He took the leftover matches with him, too, though he had no cigarettes on him. “I axe you a question, nigger,” he spat. “I said, have you been fucked in the ass before?….”

He didn’t wait for a reply. He doused me from head to toe with the brandy. What was left he tried to force into my mouth. The stench and taste of it burned my nose and throat: everything smelled like rubbing alcohol. When I spat some of it out he smashed the bottle across my lips and teeth.

I felt my head pounding like a billion sledgehammers when he struck the match and started talking shit. He waved it around me. The other nigger cops laughed and howled and slapped their thighs. It just got funnier and funnier, so funny, that they should have made a goddamn sitcom out of it. “You wanna burn, nigger?” the coon cop taunted, “you wanna burn, mothafucka? Burn, baby, burn, baby? Burn the mo’fuckin’ baby?”

“Yeah! Burn baby burn!”

“You better talk, boy.”

“I can’t,” I groaned.

“Awwww, that’s cute. That really is, you know. You know I gotta wife an’ kids, nigger?…..You ain’t known that, did yuh? Did you? Well, lissen….if I knew you were messin’ with them if you grew up, I’d cut your mothafuckin’ balls off an’ stick them down your throat. NIGGER. So,” rasps coon-cop number four, “you been fucked in the ass lately, cocksucker?”

“No.”

“You haven’t?”

He struck another match because the old one burned out….

“No, I haven’t,” I stammered, “I, I’m not, I’m—n-no-n-n-not, I’m not l-li-ii-like—“

“That nigger retarded, yo,” number three laughed. “Leam ‘lone. Nigger gon’ get killed anyway….”

“I’m-I-mnnnnooot, not that w-wa-wa-way,” I stammered.

Coon-cop number two chuckled and screamed “FUCK YOU” and casually chucked the light at my pants. My whole body was suddenly engulfed in flames which lapped quickly all around me for only a second before some kind soul sprayed me all over with a fire extinguisher. He sprayed it in my face and in my hair and my chest and the back of my head and tried to get it in my eyes. When I finally came to my senses I realized they were all over the ground pissing on themselves in hysterical laughter. “Man,” number four cackled, “uncuff that nigger, he’s ready.”

I told them all the lies they wanted me to tell. When they finally saw that I roomed at Dabney Hall, they started piecing things together. Maybe I was responsible for trying to kill this unidentified man whom they found nude and unconscious in the bathroom. Maybe I tried to kill Melissa McCormick and really did crush little Tony Randolph underneath an oak chest-of-drawers. There was little else to say, other than to have them prove it. And where could they do that?

“Come with us,” they told me, leading me out by the arm.

I wasn’t burned at all, but that didn’t mean shit. Anything could have happened now, because this was a typical situation in which black men found their end at the hands of cops. The more blood spilled, the more frenzied they get—it’s a religious thing with these motherfuckers. They took me down to the headquarters, which looked just like a prison. I guess this is where it all ends for one when he decides to educate himself—prison. They handed my “phony” ID card over to some gray-haired kook who clicked on a computer and began hammering away at the greasy keys. They took me into this bare, bleak room with light blue walls and worn, scuffled tiles where, right as I was pushed down, I pissed in my pants again. “Don’t keep on doin’ that, you gotta give us a urine sample before ya leave,” one “lady” says, robotically snapping on rubber gloves: a fat, bloated uncouth package of gold teeth and bobby pins and disgusting warts and wens. With this dreary, flat, disgusting voice, like a hostile, phlegmatic robot, she tells me, “I’m gonna do a strip-search on you, okay? This is to make sure….”

On and on she goes. All night long. Blah, blah, blah, blah, vo-do-do-de-O-do, ooga-booga, unga-bunga, just like the radio mindlessly droning away in the background somewhere about “love”. Get on with it, bitch.

I take off my pants and shirt and they look through everything there. They run a metal detector over the burnt remains of them, put them through the x-ray machine, and then some. They examine every scrap of paper still in there. All the while they explained the burns and bruises away lamely as my having been “drunk” and having “fallen from the shower after washing up”—with that unidentified man they found as their perfect, ready-made alibi. They ordered me to pull my ass-cheeks open, which I did with such unease they did it themselves. “You’re wasting our time, Mister Morris,” the dreary mole-ridden monotone robot snaps. “Cooperate with us and you’ll get it all over with.”

“But I don’t see what all this is about—“

“I said COOPERATE WITH US AND YOU’LL GET—IT—ALL—OVER—WITH,” she shot, more forcefully. Then she stuck something long, thin, cold and hard up my ass. My asshole contracted immediately feeling the cold hard steel. I heard a camera shutter click as I felt the latex fingers probing deeper and deeper, poking around trying to find something, but they didn’t find anything. Then I was kicked around in the sweat room a few more times before a couple guards pulled down their pants and pissed all over me. After that I gave them a sample of my urine, then some of my sputum, then my semen.

When it was all over, finally, I found I didn’t have to sleep. It was daylight already. They handed me my clothes, my card, my validation ticket, my briefcase, and pushed me out, just in time for class.

 

1993, 2011

 

 

Henry Miller, the Cops, and Keith Lamont Scott

“Months have passed since the incident and yet I can’t forget his face, his manner, his whole being. He’s a man, and I can say it calmly and soberly, whom I could kill in cold blood. I could shoot him down in the dark and go quietly about my business, as if I had just brushed a mosquito off my arm.

“He was unclean, unfit to associate with human kind, even with those misfits behind the bars. As long as I live I shall never forget that cruel, ash-grey face, those cold, beady man-hunter’s eyes. I hate him and all that he stands for. I hate him with an undying hatred. I would a thousand times rather be the most incorrigible convict than this hireling of those who are trying to maintain law and order. Law and order! Finally, when you see it staring at you through the barrel of a rifle, you know what it means. A bas puissance, justice, histoire! If society has to be protected by these inhuman monsters then to hell with society! If at the bottom of law and order there is only a man armed to the teeth, a man without a heart, without a conscience, then law and order are meaningless.”

–Henry Miller, “The Soul of Anesthesia,” The Air-Conditioned Nightmare.

*

Miller’s books are a grab-bag of sheer genius, sharp insight, German romantic bombast, and occasionally flat-out nonsense. Sometimes all four can manifest themselves on the same page, or even the same sentence. I have always been a fan of his works. Personally I take issue with his Orientalizing of blacks, Chinese, Jews, and others whom he idolizes as much as he trashes (well, that is Miller for you: he is, or was, a walking mass of contradictions). And you can have his romanticized view of the Old South, which comes perilously close to that reactionist old-school Agrarian crap–the kind of nonsense that Allen Tate and Company eulogized in I’ll Take My Stand (1929).

As a self-admitted “Brooklyn Boy,” I don’t think Miller ever truly understood what the South was all about, anymore than he truly understood Jews or African Americans or in particular the Chinese, whom he was overtly fond of extolling in long rhapsodic passages in his books. Miller was a first-generation German-American profoundly alienated from mainstream American culture. For Miller, the Others–whether artists like Kenneth Patchen, Beauford Delaney or Dr. Marion Souchon, or Jews (like Bezalel Schatz or his second wife, June Smerdt-Smith-Mansfield-Miller-Corbett), or blacks (like Duke Ellington, Delaney, DuBois and Armstrong)–were screens onto which he projected his own rage and disgust at Anglo-Celtic-Germanic America. Miller extols Patchen and Delany to tear down a philistine America. Not that it was necessarily a bad thing, however: Anglo-America needed it. It still does. But all of this is beside the point.

I did not need Henry Miller to tell me anything about the brutality of American police, because I already know what American police are capable of. I posted the above quote because Miller’s sentiments about American law enforcement are precisely in alignment with my own. Miller’s disgust corroborates my own. Miller’s rejection of America’s phony sense of innocence regarding its treatment of criminals–not to mention the very society and culture that helps spawn these criminals–corroborates my own.

Keith Lamont Scott was not a criminal, but the cops in Charlotte-Mecklenburg wished to believe that he was. It’s an old, old story. Today the police in Charlotte have “confirmed” (not) that Keith Lamont Scott, who was killed on Tuesday, September 19th, actually did have a gun in his hands when they confronted him. Purportedly, the video footage (if one looks hard enough) shows that Mr. Scott was armed. According to Yahoo News:

Police say Scott was holding a handgun, which investigators recovered from an apartment complex in Charlotte, and posed a threat because he was not obeying police orders to remain in his vehicle and drop the weapon. An officer subsequently fired his gun, hitting Scott, who was later pronounced dead.

Scott’s family, however, said he was not armed and was holding a book while waiting for his son to be dropped off from school.

The officers were searching for a suspect who had an outstanding warrant, according to a police statement. Police said Scott was not the suspect officers sought.

Police have identified the officer involved in the shooting as Brentley Vinson, who has been employed with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department since July 21, 2014, and is currently assigned to the metro division. He has been placed on paid administrative leave as the investigation continues, according to Putney.

Vinson was not wearing a body camera at the time, but the other officers who responded to the incident were.

My answer to all of this is simple. It does not matter if the late Mr. Scott was or was not carrying a gun in confrontation with the cops. I have not seen the footage. In my mind, it does not matter whether I see the footage or not. I am convinced that Mr. Scott would have been killed whether he was or was not armed. In that case he would have been better off taking one of those suited-up thugs with him to the other side.

There is really no point in going over this ground again. To quote the late, great James Baldwin, “it has been said, and said, and said; it has been heard and not heard.” It is well known that the American police, like the bulk of law enforcers the world over, simply do not, never have and never will have the interests of the average man or woman on their front burners. The cops may be human beings, but they serve the interests of beasts. The cops are in the streets of Charlotte, Washington, D.C., Houston, Baton Rouge, Baltimore, London, Paris, Harare, Mumbai, Istanbul and other urban cesspools to maintain what the elite of these respective nations has determined to be “order.”

This “order” can be spelled out in layman’s terms. We already know what it means. The order is a pyramid. We know that; it’s just that we are generally far at the bottom of the pyramid or, just perhaps, somewhere in the center, sandwiched between the big shits in the capstone and unwittingly putting more weight on those at the bottom of it. Those at the bottom are generally black, generally Africans, and carrying the stinking weight of the world. For them, life is often more unbearable than death; yet we wonder why so many of them resort to drugs or alcohol or kill each other in impotent rage, filled with anger that they feel they can’t take out on a cop, let alone an Elite. For the elites, life is generally light, airy, whimsical, full of humor and goofy things; that Hollywood actor is always full of gags if he’s not full of drugs.

But there is a difference. Mister Mega-Star takes drugs because it’s fashionable, not because he can’t deal with the struggle to feed himself, let alone his family. He can live wherever he wishes; he can have the sex partner or car of his choice, and show up wherever in the world he feels like in the blink of an eye. Hell, he can buy an island! If he feels miserable, it’s his own undoing, not that of society, since he IS society: his misery is simply an existential hangover, a feeling of emptiness, a crisis of conscience after being confronted with the cold reality of his fake, shallow lifestyle: Jay Gatsby multiplied by a thousand.

Mister Gatsby has several McMansions at his disposal; the poor darkie is lucky to have a room in a flophouse. Mister Gatsby is a gourmand who enjoys dining and stuffing himself until he bursts; the poor darkie who does the same in a fast food joint is a glutton. Mister Gatsby “collects” things but that blue-collar darkie is just wasting his money buying sneakers. Mister Gatsby has super-models waiting on him hand and foot, ready to sacrifice whatever radical feminist sentiments they may hold dear at a moment’s notice. The poor darkie, or wetback, or gook, who does the same, is “promiscuous,” not a “playboy.” His woman is a “skank” and a “hoodrat.” If he has no status within his community he has to content himself with his imagination; outside of his head, people flee from him in horror. He uses his right hand, or pretends he is gay; every day you see him haunting peep show booths and adult book stores, smelling like a goat and pawing over young men on buses and subways.  The entire value system of the society is determined strictly by color, even more so than class–which explains why an outrageous elite snob like Bill Cosby can have his reputation irreparably damaged yet Roman Polanski, Woody Allen or even Ed Gein and Charles Manson can be begrudgingly admired as “outlaws.”

Lousy food, lousy education, shitty housing, filthy streets, dysfunctional families, high unemployment or underemployment, tainted water, unclean air, a staggering murder rate, an out-of-control drug trade–not to mention the proliferation of alcohol establishments and shady “store-front” churches that no one likes to talk about: this is the world of the poor darkie. (The last two are just part of an underground economy in the black ghettos that has existed for literally centuries; again, nobody likes to talk about it.) This world is not “Africa” or “Ape-frica”: it is simply the dirty end of the American cloth, the one Uncle Sam uses to wipe his ass with. This “order” exists all over the world in varying degrees of severity. Not all of the ghettos are “black,” of course–sometimes they are white–but they might as well be: “black” is not a race, it’s a condition, as well as a state of mind. The overwhelming majority of the elites are on the precise opposite end of the color/caste spectrum, even if a few happen to be blacker than my wallet.

In other words, the very existence of cops is to protect Mister Gatsby from the poor darkie.

So in re-reading the above statement by Henry Miller, I am willing to absolve any one in those Benighted States who deems it necessary to carry a gun to defend himself against the cops. My heart does not in any way bleed for a cop shot in the head by some random citizen. Maybe I’m wrong on this score; maybe a murdered cop can be a “good guy.” But we all know that these “good cops” have usually toed the thin blue line of silence and complicity and kept their goddamned mouths shut as to the large number of domestic terrorists* among their ranks. Moreover, the police in America (and elsewhere) have made it perfectly clear that they see black people as moving targets. And seeing how they treat Native Americans on a regular basis, these cops still see themselves as a bunch of gun-toting cowboys–settlers, in other words. White, European settlers on red land.

We Afro-Americans know more than most that the cops are not our “buddies.” They are nobody’s friend, in spite of a few shining examples of cops who are caught doing some wonderful, charming things like buying ice cream for kids, or leading prayers, or partying–all caught on video camera to show the human side of an overwhelmingly oppressive force. Personally, I could fucking care less. A storm-trooper is a storm-trooper, even if he is doing the Charleston or the Suzy-Q. A nazi is a nazi, no matter if he reads my books or digs my paintings or my music. That nazi does not cease to be a nazi even if he takes off his uniform. He has to drop not only the Nazi ideology but the emotional and irrational racialism that made him put on the uniform in the first place.

There are many idiots, even avowed “liberals,” even Blacks, who still insist that in spite of the rapidly mounting evidence of police corruption and brutality, that The Law is The Law. It is not possible to tell these idiots that their forefathers spoke those exact same words at the height of Southern Jim Crow or even during slavery itself, or that Hitler’s, Stalin’s and Mao’s stooges operated precisely upon this same principle. No, sir. The Law is NOT The Law when it is 1) written by greedy psychopaths for the benefit of greedy psychopaths; 2) reinforced by murderous thugs. The Law is not Holy Writ. When the two situations above mutually manifest themselves within a given society, “The Law” has lost all moral authority–in which case, there has to be a new Law. But before there can be a New Law there must be a new and more just order. Until that time, citizens are obliged to defend themselves–even if violently–against the current socio-political Mafia that calls itself the New World Order.

*

“He had paid for his crimes in full, that is my belief,” writes Henry Miller. “If he should commit fresh ones I would blame it on the police, on the lawmakers, on the educators, on the clergy, on all those who believe in punishment, who refuse to help a man when he is down or try to understand him when in impotent rage he turns against the world. It doesn’t matter to me what crimes are chalked up against Clausen; our crimes, all of us who are on the outside, who go off scott-free, are greater. If we did not actually force him to become a criminal we most certainly helped him to remain one. And in speaking of Bud Clausen I am speaking for the great majority of men and women who suffered the same fate; I am speaking for all those to come, who will follow in his foot-steps and who have no redress until we on the outside become more enlightened and more humane.”

Thanks, Henry.

 

*It has been found that a disproportionate number of neo-Nazis and closet Klan members have also infiltrated America’s police, as well as America’s military (or “killitary,” to be more accurate). 

“The Police are Thugs!”

http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2016/2/12/egyptian-doctors-revolt-against-escalating-police-abuses.html

What took them so long?

Of course, the same can be said about every single oppressed group of people all over the world, including my own.

Now, if only African Americans with brains can revolt against our own increasingly nazified police forces, and that neo-plantation monkey culture (aka “urban culture” or “unhip hop”) and the uber-wealthy white demons that spawn all this trash: the 1% Oligarchy that thinks Negro entertainment should not only entertain clueless middle-class white people all over the world, but psychologically prepare young black kids for a lifetime of slavery–inside supermax plantations. The new plantations are worse than the old, of course: on the old plantations the slave, however shackled, was as close to nature as one could get. In the new supermax gulag/plantations the slave is as far away from nature as one can get. One can call it “progress” in a very sick way.