Sunday, November 27, 2016

the last book I ever read (The Sellout: A Novel by Paul Beatty, excerpt eight)

from The Sellout: A Novel by Paul Beatty:

It wasn’t necessarily a case of saving the best for last, but as Hood Day approached, Hominy and I had managed to install some form of segregation in nearly every section and public facility in Dickens except for the Martin Luther “Killer” King, Jr., Hospital, which is paradoxically located in Polynesian Gardens. Polynesian Gardens, aka P.G., being a majority-Latino neighborhood that carried a rumored reputation for being hostile toward African-Americans. In fact, local legend had it that the injuries black Dickensians suffered while driving through P.G. to the hospital were often more sever than the afflictions that had caused them to seek medical attention in the first place. Between the police and the gangs, navigating the streets of any neighborhood in L.A. County, especially any section not familiar with you, can be dangerous. You just never know when you’re going to get rolled up on for being or wearing the wrong color. I’d never had any problems in Polynesian Gardens, but if I were to be honest, I never went there at night. And the evening before our planned action on the hospital, there’d been a shoot-out between Varrio Polynesian Gardens and Barrio Polynesian Gardens, two gangs with a longstanding blood feud over spelling and pronunciation. So to ensure Hominy and I got in and out with our asses intact, I attached two small purple-and-gold Lakers pennants to the front fenders of my pickup truck and, for good measure, flew a giant Iwo Jima-sized, 1987 Championship Lakers flag from the roof. Everybody, and I mean everybody in Los Angeles, loves the Lakers. And driving down Centennial Avenue, even behind slow-moving lowriders that refused to go faster than ten miles an hour, the Lakers flags billowed majestically in the night wind, giving the pickup truck an ambassadorial vibe that allowed us to cruise through with a temporary diplomatic immunity.

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