Monthly Archives: November 2008


“Boy, I’m telling ya, somebody has got to do somethin bout them Mugabes,” Alvin had just finished cutting a kids hair and was leaning back in his chair reading an old L. A. Times.

The three of us—Jabo, Leroy, and me—groaned: “Oh, Jesus Christ, Alvin, not Mugabe again.”

“Look here, turkeys, yo’ll got to pay attention to what’s happenin in the mother land. Especially now that our President is a child of one of the countries in the mother land.” He scolded us like we were schoolboys, which of course we resented, but since it was his place, and we liked being in out of the cold, we just listened.

“We got to keep up with what’s happenin over there…”

“But Alvin,” I broke in, “Sudan and Somali, what’s happening in those countries is worse than what’s happening in Zimbabwe. Man, they killing folks. How come you ain’t interested in them countries.”?

“Cause my people, my ancestry, come from Zimbabwe, that’s how come,” he said with a straight face.

Jabo took it this time. “Alvin, you didn’t know nothin bout Zimbabwe until the mess over there started. How you know your people come from there?”

“Well, they might have. Anyway, that is neither here nor there. What I’m trying to tell you turkeys is Robert Mugabe’s nephew, Leo Mugabe talks to God. How do I know? Cause he said so, right here in the paper. Now did any of them tyrants in them countries you named say anything about talkin to God? No, they have not.”

“Okay, Alvin,” I said, “I haven’t read anything yet about anybody in Sudan or Somalia talking to God, but I’m betting some leader has identified himself with God.”

Alvin ignored me. “Leo Mugabe says that the financial mess the world is in is an act of God. God punishin us for what we doin to Zimbabwe but He is on Zimbabwe’s side. I mean, man, the dude puts a smiley face on everythin goin on in the country.”

Leroy joined the conversation. “You know, my cousin twice removed on my father’s side talked to God. She spoke in tongues every Sunday in church.”

We all knew about his cousin because we attended the church when we were boys.

“Leroy,” Jabo addressed him, “did God every answer cousin Bertha?”

“Man, I don’t know,” Leroy answered, “she never said.”

“Okay, you turkeys,” Alvin addressed us again, “you don’t care nothin bout the Mugabes in Africa. But you better pay ‘tention to Kenya, cause they gon be askin President Obama for money, you just wait and see.”



Filed under Africa


As usual, I rode with Alvin to open the shop. He seemed preoccupied, like he had something on his mind.

“Old man,” I said, “what’s bothering you?”

“Look who callin me old. I think, but correct me if’n I’m wrong, you’re older than me.”

“That is neither here nor there. What I want to know is are you sick or something?”

Jabo and Leroy were standing at the backdoor of the shop. “We though yo’all was never gon get here,” shouted Leroy as we got out of the car in the parking lot behind the shop.

“Yeah, where yo’all been,” added Jabo.

“It is only eight, you turkeys, and Alvin don’t open till nine. So, what’s your problem?” I said.

Alvin unlocked the door and preceded us inside.

“Louis, what’s up with Alvin,” Jabo asked, “he looked like he worried.”

“I don’t know. I’ve been trying to get him to talk to me but he’s not saying anything.” I couldn’t tell them no more than that.

Alvin took up his position in the barber chair and rattled the newspaper he had unfolded. He was ready to talk to us.

“That boy ain’t no miracle worker. Everybody wants a piece of’m. He ain’t no miracle worker.”

Leroy was the first to ask “Alvin, whatya you talkin bout?”

“Yeah,” I asked, “who ain’t no miracle worker?”

“Alvin, stop talkin in riddles, and say sumpin we can understand,” advised Jabo.

“What’s wrong with you turkeys,” Alvin shot back. “I’m talkin bout our new president, Obama. Look here, them pu…pu, Louis what they called, them dudes on TV what always talkin and talkin?”

“You mean pundits?” I answered.

“Yeah, them. They all sayin he got to hit the ground runnin. Well, I ain’t disagreein with them, but the boy is takin his time, as he oughta do. And then, there’s them groups and others them environmentalists who want him to do sumpin now bout the environment.” He took a breath.

“Well, Alvin,” I said, “you right a whole lotta folks want him to do a whole lotta things even before he officially becomes president. But that, I think, he expected since he promised change from what Bush did.”

“Yeah, but how gon acted immediately on the economy, Iraq, and that country where the other war is, and I just read in the paper, somebody wants him to straighten out the law department right now. He is one smart dude, but ain’t no miracle worker.” Alvin paused again for breath.

“He just a man.”


Filed under politics


“Today is a glorious day for old Alvin,” said Alvin referring to himself in the third person.

“Did you win the lottery,” asked Leroy.

“No, I did not win the lottery, Obama did,” crowed Alvin.

“Alvin,” said Jabo, “you were for McCain, so how come now you a Obama man?”

“Yeah, Alvin,” I added, “how come you jumping on the bandwagon?”

“Look here, you turkeys, am I not black? His winnin makes me a part of a histrionic event.”

“You mean historic,” I corrected.

“Whatever. You’ll member when we were in school, our teachers taught us we could do anything but we would have be twice as good and try twice as hard as the white folks. Now, grant you they would’ve never encouraged us to try to become the president of these United States, but they pushed us,” Alvin was on a roll.

“Well, Obama spent more money than Clinton or McCain and for almost two years, he tried damn hard to attract voters of all nationalities and races. I tell you the boy is good.”

“I feels kinds good, myself,” Leroy said.

“Yeah, Alvin, you gotta point. No matter who we were for, for us, it is truly a historical moment.” Jabo tried to sound profound.

I added my dime’s worth: “I thought it wouldn’t happen in my life time, I surely did.”

Alvin puffed out his chest. “Ain’t this a great country or what, huh? Now little black boys and girls—are we still calling ourselves black—any way little African American boys and girls can now dream of being president of the United States of America. Ain’t that something.”

Leroy got in the last word. “Lord, God almighty is surely smilin on us black folks today.”


Filed under politics, race