336 - These Parts


You walk into the diner in your usual casually defiant manner, cross the cold linoleum floor and have a seat at the booth nearest the door. You get a few gaping jaws, some hard stares, and some furrowed brows but it's nothing you haven't learned to handle, being who you are and all. You retrieve a menu from its place tucked between the sugar caddy and the dingy tile wall.

The waitress walks over to your table. For a moment she looks to either side. You can't decide if she's looking for someone to tell her what to do or if she believes a hitman could come for her at any moment. Either way, her confusion (or paranoia) loses out over her interest in making money and she takes your order.

After a you've been seated for just a few minutes, a man makes his way over to you from across the room. His slender frame is that of a man of at least eighty years, and though his posture is hunched, he still manages to tower over you impressively. Slim-cut jeans run the length from his dusty cowboy boots to his denim shirt. Atop his head, a cowboy hat leans precariously, not quite covering his pale blue eyes, but seeming like it could tumble forward at any moment to reveal whether the milky white tufts of hair poking out from the hat's brown brim are a promise of something more or just a fading memory his scalp has more trouble recalling every day.

"We don't welcome your kind around here," he says, wasting no time getting to his point. A high-pitched sucking sound follows as he repositions his stinky chewing tobacco.

"...and what exactly do you mean by 'your kind', sir?" you shoot back with righteous indignation.

The man is visibly taken aback by your open defiance. Obviously he's never encountered someone willing to fight back against his bigotry.

"I mean people what ain't got no clothes on, boy," he explains his hate - almost - apologetically. "Nuders or whatever you call yourselves. Can't go walk on' around with your manhood flopping out everywhere, people are tryin' to eat, son." He points at your glistening naked body as if it's something to be ashamed of.

The rage swells inside your exposed chest.

"I'm not your son, sir," you fire back, "but you sure do sound a lot like my father. He was an intolerant bigot, and it seems like that's what you are, too. A bigot."

"Now hold on, boy, I ain't no bigot, just think it's a little unsanitary for ain't nothin' to be between your ass and that seat but a coupla atoms of god's good air."

"God? Your god would be ashamed of you, sir, for the hate you wear so openly on your sleeve."

A man in the back of the restaurant begins a slow, rhythmic clap. One by one, the other patrons join in and the clapping swells into a raucous applause.

"Leave him alone!" shouts a woman two tables down.

"Down with bigotry!" screams a child.

A police officer seated at the counter comes to the table. "Sir," he says, addressing the older man, "maybe you'd better leave."

The old man, astonished that he's on the wrong side of penis history, leaves the restaurant in a huff. "Y'all all a buncha crazies!" he shouts as the door closes behind him.

"Sorry that happened," the waitress says when she returns. "I know you people got it rough."

You give out an offended gasp. "What do you mean, 'you people'?"