Loving the Alien
I sometimes think of it like he’s from a different planet. Every time he talks about how persecuted the rich are, or how feminism is turning our kids into homosexuals, or how my “people” wouldn’t understand this or that because we aren’t really part of the great Western tradition, I pretend that he’s from an alien world where everything is completely different. It’s easier that way. It’s hard to judge a guy too harshly for talking a lot of bullshit when he’s a space alien.
“Lawrence, do you listen to that rap music?”
“No, sir, Mr. Kendall.”
“I understand it is very popular with your people.”
“I like jazz mostly.”
“I realize you may think that it tells true stories of the urban streets. But as long as you wallow in your own despair, and celebrate your degradation, your people will remain in that despair and degradation.”
“I don’t really even pay attention to it, Mr. Kendall.”
“It glorifies everything that is ugly and wrong. There is nothing uplifting about it, as an artistic medium, Lawrence.”
“I’m sure you’re right, sir.”
“Our culture is at war, Lawrence. Don’t be on the losing side.”
Conversations like this are putting my kids through college. They both love rap.
Lately his big thing is the Muslims. He’s convinced that they’re responsible for the downturn in the economy, and that there’s an Islamic fifth column working inside the United States to bring the country down. Like subversives or something. He thinks every Muslim is an Arab and vice versa. He sends the girls out to get him food and stuff, so he rarely sees anyone, but when he goes into the city for banquets or speaking engagements or to meet with the other owners, he always has some story about seeing a guy in a turban or a skullcap causing trouble. He won’t ride in cabs anymore at all. Now Henry has to shuttle him around everywhere in the car.
Of course, Henry is happy to get the extra work.
“You’re not a Muslim, are you, Lawrence?”
“No, sir, Mr. Kendall.”
“I understand that a lot of your people have foolishly embraced Islam.”
“Not me, sir.”
“It’s not a religion of peace, Lawrence. It’s a religion of hate. Don’t fall prey to the apologist propaganda.”
“I’m a Baptist.”
“You should be very proud of yourself. So few people make the effort to assimilate.”
“Well, actually, I was born in Florida.”
“Insisting on keeping your cultural norms is what’s Balkanizing America.”
There’s a lot of things I’ve noticed about people from his planet. It would be nice to think that they all looked like crazy lizard monsters or something, but they don’t. Mr. Kendall is actually a really handsome man, for a guy his age. And they’re not completely alien, either. He treats the animals really well, and he pays us a hell of a lot of money. And not everything about his world is different: he gets nervous about pollution sometimes, and he likes kids, and we both believe in a similar God, although his is a lot angrier than mine is. One thing’s for sure, though: the people from his world are scared, all the time. Everyone’s out to get them, especially homosexuals, terrorists, and rampaging hordes of poor people who are all jumped up on crack. And they don’t have any natural defenses, these aliens. So when they get scared, they call people like me.
“Your people have an innate gift for dealing with the criminal element”, he says.
I used to feel bad about getting paid so much to sit around and do nothing all day (the aliens use our currency, thank the Lord), but he makes a lot more money than I do, and he doesn’t do any work either. His assistant, Mr. Cornell, also comes from the alien planet, although he’s more deep-cover than the old man. He writes all of Mr. Kendall’s op-ed articles. It’s funny, because he makes all the staff sign this confidentiality agreement saying that they’ll never reveal that Kendall’s column is ghostwritten. I guess on their world, nobody knows. On my world everybody knows, and nobody cares. The only people who think it’s a secret are the other aliens. They don’t even bring it up when they’re visiting the house; it would be like farting at daddy’s dinner party. I don’t think they write their own columns either.
“Lawrence, I’d like you to run a background check on the girl who delivers breakfast.”
“What for, sir? She seems pretty harmless.”
“It’s a pity that I have to do your job for you, Lawrence. I hired you as a security specialist, and here I am doing the work of protecting myself.”
“I don’t follow you.”
“Her name. Her name is Ali.”
“That’s an Arab name, Lawrence.”
“I’m pretty sure she’s not an Arab, Mr. Kendall.”
“It’s deceiving to go by appearances, Lawrence. Did you know that Mrs. Brandon, who tends to the dogs, is one of your people? She’s what they call a ‘high yellow’. It’s a term.”
“I think the ‘Ali’ stands for ‘Alison’.”
“Look into it, Lawrence. I don’t want to ask you again.”
I might put in some overtime. I’m thinking about buying a boat.