German

being the German kid in the 20’s in Los Angeles
was difficult.
there was much anti-German feeling then.
it was a carry-over from World War 1.
gangs of kids chased me through the neighborhood
yelling, “Hienie! Hienie! Hienie!”
they never caught me.
I was like a cat.
I knew all the pathways, through brush and alleys.
I scaled 6 foot back fences in a flash and was off through
backyards and around blocks
and onto garage roofs and other hiding places.
then too, they didn’t really want to catch me.
they thought I might bayonet them.
or gouge out their eyes and eat them.

this went on for about 18 months.
then all of a sudden it seemed to stop.
I was more or less accepted but never really.
which was all right with me.
those sons of bitches were Americans,
they and their parents had been born here.
they had names like Slover and Sullivan and
Fife.
they were white and fat and had running
nostrils and big belt buckles.
I decided never to become an American.
my hero was Baron Manfred von Richthofen.
he’d shot down 80 of them.
and there was nothing they could do about
that.
and their parents didn’t like my parents.
and I didn’t either.
I decided when I got big I’d go live in someplace
like Iceland,
never open my door to anybody and live on my
luck, live with a beautiful wife and a bunch of
animals.
which is, more or less, about what
happened.