Sunday, June 30, 2013

Queers: A vignette for the times we live in

So these two guys (we’ll just call them Larry and Moe) are sitting in a bar across from each other at a booth. The remains of a just finished meal between them. They’ve just gotten a couple more beers. On the TV screen over the bar, the announcers at CNN or Fox or MSNBC are announcing and discussing the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Prop 8 and therefore allow same sex marriages in California. Larry starts curling his lip in disgust and shaking his head in disapproval.

“This is wrong,” he says.

Moe: “What’s wrong?”

L: This gay marriage thing. I tell ya it’s wrong.

M: Yeah it is queer… (he chuckles at his own joke)

L: Nah, I’m serious. We shouldn’t be doin this.

M: Ahh why not, why shouldn’t they be as miserable as the rest of us? (this time he laughs out loud at his own joke)

L: Yeah, see, that’s part of the problem right there. You think it’s funny, you’re making jokes.

M: So? What else ya gonna do? Ya gonna get all pissed and miserable an start chewin the inside a yer mouth over it? You think yer gonna stop this?

L: Well I ain’t gonna just sit back an laugh about it.

M: So wattaya gonna do?

Long pause, Larry thinks it over, drinks some beer.

L: Well I don’t know what I’m gonna do, I just know it ain’t right.

M: They’re all grownups , they can do whatever they want. They ain’t hurtin anybody.

L: Yeah they are!

M: Who? Who they hurtin if they wanna get married to each other?

Larry thinks it over again.

L: Me.

M: They’re hurtin you.

L: Yeah, they’re hurtin me.

M: How?

L: How?

M: Yeah, how? How does what a couple queers in San Francisco do hurt you here?

Larry takes another slug of beer while he thinks it over.

L: Well I think it’s wrong. I think it ain’t right.

M: Who says it’s wrong?

L: Me. It’s wrong. See, I just said it. (now it’s his turn to chuckle at his own joke)

M: Oh I see, you say it’s wrong so they can’t do it.

L: Ahright, it ain’t just me. God says it’s wrong.

M: When did he say that?

L: I dunno it’s inna bible or someplace.

M: Well I ain’t no authority but I’m pretty sure it don’t actually say those exact words. Besides, so what if it does? Not everybody believes in the bible. Not everybody believes in the same thing as you or me.

L: Well they don’t have to but I believe it and if I think it’s wrong I’m supposed to say so, right? Ain’t I supposed to speak up when my religion says something somebody’s doin is wrong?

M: Well think and believe whatever ya want, just don’t expect everybody else to buy it. They got a right to do whatever they want just like you do.

L: Well it hurts me that people are doing something my religion says is wrong. They’re saying what I believe is wrong. There, that’s it: They’re denying me my religious freedom telling me I gotta shut up while they do the things they do. I got rights too, ya know.

Moe sits a long time thinking. Has some beer. Larry sits drinking, feeling like he got his point across. After a while Moe gets up from his seat. He’s got his ketchuppy steak knife in his hand. Instead of proceeding to the bathroom, he slides into the seat right next to Larry. In fact he forces Larry right up against the wall pinning one of his arms back against his side and he grabs Larry’s other hand and forces it down on the table. He holds the sharp greasy knife-edge right over Larry’s little finger.

L: Wha’… Whattaya doin?

M: I ever tell ya about my religion?

L: Whattaya mean, we went to Catlick school together. Twelve years.

M: Yeah, but that ain’t my religion now. Lemme tell ya what my religion now says. My religion now says that whenever somebody else tells me I gotta do what their religion says, I get to cut off one of their fingers. No wait, that's wrong. My religion says I HAVE TO cut off one of their fingers.

L: That ain’t no religion.

M: Yeah it is. It’s my religion. You telling me I can’t practice my religion the way I’m s’posed to? Now I gotta cut off two.

L: Two?!

M: Yeah, one for sayin I have to be against queer marriages because of what your religion says, and the other for saying I can’t follow my own religion and cut off one of your fingers.

L: Ahright ya made yer point.

M: Not yet I ain’t.

L: Cut this shit out!

M: Tell you what. My religion is merciful. I won’t cut off the thumb or the index finger. The first time. You need those and I want you to see the merciful side of my beliefs. I’ll just do the pinkie and ring finger. Ready?

L: Goddamit, cut it out!

M: You’re telling me I can’t practice my faith.

L: You can’t cut off my goddam fingers, no!

M: I have to cut ‘em off. God says so.

L: God never said that!

M: Well maybe not to you. Listen the harder you struggle here the worse it’s gonna be. Just close your eyes and… you know… pray.

L: “Y- you’ll go to jail for Chrissakes!

M: God’s law supersedes man’s.

L: You’ll go to jail?

M: I’m ready to pay the price for my religious beliefs. You can’t tell me I can’t follow God’s law… now hold still…

Moe presses gently but firmly down onto Larry's pinkie finger with the edge of the knife. Just when it's about to break the skin:

L: Ok. I get it.

M: Get what?

L: I get it. I get IT! I ain’t stupid.

Moe relaxes his grip and slides back. He goes back to his seat and has some more beer. Larry does all the stuff you would expect to get back his composure. He takes a good drink of his beer.

M: So ya wanna talk about abortion?

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