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Let’s talk about the N-word and other naughties.

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Old 01-21-2018, 12:29 PM
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Default Let’s talk about the N-word and other naughties.


I’m writing a short story in which a character uses the N-word. Yeah, nigger.

I’m a fifty year old American white guy. I’m not a racist at all, but this is the way the character speaks. My wife instantly shut down when she read it and said: “if you ever want to publish this you can’t say that; not in today’s climate.”

I think: yeah, but that’s how some people talk. Sure it’s a slur, but the character who says it is just an accurate representation of some humans.

So, is it a no-go these days? I mean, unless you are Cormac McCarthy? Or Stephen King?




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Old 01-21-2018, 03:34 PM
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Originally Posted by brianpatrick View Post
I’m writing a short story in which a character uses the N-word. Yeah, nigger.

I’m a fifty year old American white guy. I’m not a racist at all, but this is the way the character speaks. My wife instantly shut down when she read it and said: “if you ever want to publish this you can’t say that; not in today’s climate.”

I think: yeah, but that’s how some people talk. Sure it’s a slur, but the character who says it is just an accurate representation of some humans.

So, is it a no-go these days? I mean, unless you are Cormac McCarthy? Or Stephen King?




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If you are black you can use it. If you are white you will be gettin' a whippin' somewhere down the road.

Ask Lenny Bruce, George Carlin, ... you get the idea.


And if you don't follow your muse and write what you must you ain't a writer, you are a sycophant.

Just sayin'.
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Old 01-21-2018, 04:16 PM
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Oh yeah, make no mistake, I’m keeping it.

Just looking to start up a conversation about language taboos, the current culture, and maybe getting some insight into what fallout may come.


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Old 01-21-2018, 05:40 PM
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Originally Posted by brianpatrick View Post
Oh yeah, make no mistake, I’m keeping it.

Just looking to start up a conversation about language taboos, the current culture, and maybe getting some insight into what fallout may come.


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That bein' the case what terms does the character use when referring to the other (than his) gender?
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Old 01-21-2018, 07:00 PM
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If it fits the character then it should stay. I'd say just like using any swear word, it should be done with certain panache and not overdone.

Me, I'd never even create a racist character unless it was to illustrate a point and it is accurate in our world that white people use this slur just as much as a black person and sure does depend on where you are

Me, if I ever use this word is like Voldemort and even when reading Samuel Clemens, if I were reading outloud, I'd probably skip over it, but I don't think it should be censored as much as it should be minimized like anything else; 'tis a sparse spice this n-
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Old 01-21-2018, 09:42 PM
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Depends on where you’re trying to get it published. Literary and crime fiction have never worried about profanity, for example.

And as a side note, the day you allow political correctness to be your editor is the day you cease to be a writer and start to be a hack.
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Old 01-22-2018, 12:00 AM
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What else have you read where this word is used? Did the author get any flack for it, or did the readers read it as the voice of the character?

Have you researched it's use in fiction, or spoken to black people to ask their opinion?

I hate the c-word, but I have a character who would have no problem saying it, a lot. I hate writing it, truly.
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Old 01-22-2018, 03:08 AM
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[QUOTE=An old face
I hate the c-word, but I have a character who would have no problem saying it, a lot. I hate writing it, truly.[/QUOTE]

Aw, that's only because you ain't British.
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Old 01-22-2018, 03:10 AM
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[QUOTE=An old face

spoken to black people to ask their opinion?

[/QUOTE]

Get this on your iPhone and show us how it goes.
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Old 01-22-2018, 03:20 AM
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Yep. Fuck today's climate.

Any objection to the representation of a truth, ie: that some people say the word nigger, is retarded by definition :big grin:

And it rests on the principle that some truth shouldn't be talked about which makes absolutely no sense.

There's a series on Netflix called Underground. It's about slavery, but they won't use the word nigger. What they will do is produce a poorly scripted, unbelievable trashy drama full of terrible actors which just happens to have slaves in it.

For me what should offend is how badly the content is handled.
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Old 01-22-2018, 08:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Nick Pierce View Post
Aw, that's only because you ain't British.
How do you know?
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Old 01-22-2018, 08:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Nick Pierce View Post
Get this on your iPhone and show us how it goes.
See my previous answer. I wouldn't have a problem in respectfully asking a fellow human being how they felt about the use of n-word in works of fiction.

I'm not looking to provoke a reaction from them, anger or insult them. I am genuinely interested in their opinion. I would put the question into context by including all offensive terms in literature, rather then just fixating on that one specific word?

Are you from the USA? I don't believe there is the same racial tension where I live as that which is fed to us through the media about the USA.
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Old 01-22-2018, 01:13 PM
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Originally Posted by An old face View Post
How do you know?

I've noticed a Brit will call another guy a cunt with the same casualness a Yank will say a bloke is an asshole.

Since you eschew the "c-word", a term that is generally avoided in America, voila!
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Old 01-22-2018, 01:35 PM
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Originally Posted by An old face View Post
See my previous answer. I wouldn't have a problem in respectfully asking a fellow human being how they felt about the use of n-word in works of fiction.

I'm not looking to provoke a reaction from them, anger or insult them. I am genuinely interested in their opinion. I would put the question into context by including all offensive terms in literature, rather then just fixating on that one specific word?

Are you from the USA? I don't believe there is the same racial tension where I live as that which is fed to us through the media about the USA.
I'm in South Florida (Jesus, doesn't anybody read my stuff?).

Even discussing that term is a non starter between me (a Black Irish, English, Seminole Indian - yeah just add alcohol and wait one hour before dialing 911) and anyone else around here.

Why? We all know the history. We all been through the Obama era. Now we all are focused on food and shelter (those of us that ain't drugged, drunk or just plain crazy - oops- should that be something like socially impaired?)

Gettin' into a discussion about that kinda crap is useless in my realm.
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Old 01-22-2018, 02:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Nick Pierce View Post
I've noticed a Brit will call another guy a cunt with the same casualness a Yank will say a bloke is an asshole.

Since you eschew the "c-word", a term that is generally avoided in America, voila!
https://youtu.be/jTifRi3qDkU
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Old 01-22-2018, 04:23 PM
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From my point of view I’m writing modern literary fiction (whatever that is), and I honestly didn’t think about the curse words. Most of my stories have them. But my wife (who really doesn’t much like my stories anyway) and one of my daughters were so serious about the use of the word being a story killer that they pretty much stopped reading at that point and launched into a diatribe.

Yeah, I know I won’t be pressured into changing it. I just thought a discussion might be helpful for others, and I also had the idea that someone could come along and present a convincing argument about why it was wrong to use these curse words.

I actually love the C-word. I can see why others might not, but I almost never use it. In America it mostly is a slang for a vagina, and there are much more creative words to use for said lovely.




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Old 01-23-2018, 01:55 AM
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Originally Posted by JohnConstantine View Post
I must say this vid supports part of my premise quite admirably.
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Old 01-23-2018, 01:58 AM
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[QUOTE=brianpatrick

In America it mostly is a slang for a vagina, and there are much more creative words to use for said lovely.

[/QUOTE]

And none of them will be presented in the story?
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Old 01-23-2018, 02:41 AM
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Originally Posted by brianpatrick View Post
...In America it mostly is a slang for a vagina, and there are much more creative words to use for said lovely.
Around here it's reserved more for idiotically stupid people who also happen to have a vagina, or as an insult to those who don't.

We use more lovely words when referring to the actual thing.

Usually.
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Old 01-23-2018, 04:30 AM
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In Blighty a cunt is a term of affection for anyone who votes Conservative.
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Old 01-23-2018, 11:13 AM
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I may have said this before but in my opinion the responsibility of the writer is not simply to come and see but to accurately report what he sees to that end I htink we could take the case-example of nigger and factor it to encompass a whole range of taboos typically frowned upon in art.

I think the justification of including peripherally or examining closely those taboos can be drawn in one part from the objectivity of the artist. This isnt to argue exclusively for Kubrick's clinical style nor do I believe it to be true for all of art. If you want a cozy mystery then by all means abide by the conventions of the genre and I least of all will criticize someone for that because to my mind (for whatever that is worth) there is room for everything. A disney film need not explore the backgrounds their characters inhabit. We dont need the Bolshevik Revolution in Anastasia, we dont need genocide in Pocohontas, we do need naked Matilda in the Hunchback of Notre Dame getting ahem 'pilloried' in her gypsy star and I eagerly await the hentai adaption of that.

I would argue that the luridness, the modern propensity of letting the camera or narrative linger upon that which is meant to titillate or otherwise arouse the carnal senses is in part what has caused the taboos to arise in the first place. A friend of mine talking about the electronic dubstep so popular in Europe said, The appeal is only to the monkey in me, it doesnt stimulate anything else.

If say a rape were to be depicted on screen without the accompanying gravity of the situation I feel most would be in agreement it is in poor taste, because the event doesnt match the tone, it lacks harmony. That doesnt mean that all such scenes have to be depicted the same way. I remember the torture scene from Reservoir Dogs as being a masterful depiction of the horror of torture that bewrayed the surface pop harmonies of the scene. Imagine a bluegrass ensemble the holocaust or a R&B tribute to the battle of Okinawa. I would though prefer a banjo/opera history of Napoleon's life.

But accuarcy is not premised on the slapstick or the exploitive. Works such as those by their nature simultaneously open themselves up collectively to criticism and singularly insulate themselves from the same. The tradeoff achieved by precluding themselves from deeper consideration is that they paradoxically and inversely get to plumb greater heights while cutting themselves off from more serious concerns.

The same scene under two different directors can be wildly different to which the ever growing list of remakes attests. Consider Romero's Dawn of The Dead, a biting social commentary nested in a horror film, with Zack Snyder's which is more or leass a straight up zombie thriller. Terrence Malick's philosophical treatment of The Thin Red Line against Andrew Marton's jingoistic version.

At the same time attempting for a serious work opens you up to criticism. Peckinpah was attacked for the violence of The Wild Bunch,


I have only one question," said the lady from the Reader's Digest. "Why was this film ever made?"

"We wanted to show violence in real terms," Peckinpah said. "Dying is not fun and games. Movies make it look so detached. With 'The Wild Bunch,' people get involved whether they like it or not. They do not have the mild reactions to it."

"Why did everyone bleed so much?" another lady asked.

"Lady," Borgnine said, "did you ever see anyone shot by a gun without bleeding?" (Link to full article)

Another relevance whihc echoes JC's sentiment was comment by Kubrick on Schindler's List:

Frederic Raphael, who co-authored the screenplay for “Eyes Wide Shut,” recalls Kubrick questioning whether a film could truly represent the Holocaust in its entirety. After Raphael mentioned “Schindler’s List,” Kubrick replied: “Think that’s about the Holocaust? That was about success, wasn’t it? The Holocaust is about six million people who get killed. `Schindler’s List’ is about 600 who don’t. Anything else?”

To conclude since all here are writers and to address brian's OP I would argue that to remove a word from our lexicon is the same as a painter refusing to use a type of shade or shape or a chef who refuses to use a particular spice. Nevertheless social mores demand respect, or maybe lipservice, sometimes a blowjob, rim...anyways a work serves to justify itself.
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Old 01-23-2018, 05:32 PM
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Originally Posted by bluewpc View Post
I may have said this before but in my opinion the responsibility of the writer is not simply to come and see but to accurately report what he sees to that end I htink we could take the case-example of nigger and factor it to encompass a whole range of taboos typically frowned upon in art.

I think the justification of including peripherally or examining closely those taboos can be drawn in one part from the objectivity of the artist. This isnt to argue exclusively for Kubrick's clinical style nor do I believe it to be true for all of art. If you want a cozy mystery then by all means abide by the conventions of the genre and I least of all will criticize someone for that because to my mind (for whatever that is worth) there is room for everything. A disney film need not explore the backgrounds their characters inhabit. We dont need the Bolshevik Revolution in Anastasia, we dont need genocide in Pocohontas, we do need naked Matilda in the Hunchback of Notre Dame getting ahem 'pilloried' in her gypsy star and I eagerly await the hentai adaption of that.

I would argue that the luridness, the modern propensity of letting the camera or narrative linger upon that which is meant to titillate or otherwise arouse the carnal senses is in part what has caused the taboos to arise in the first place. A friend of mine talking about the electronic dubstep so popular in Europe said, The appeal is only to the monkey in me, it doesnt stimulate anything else.

If say a rape were to be depicted on screen without the accompanying gravity of the situation I feel most would be in agreement it is in poor taste, because the event doesnt match the tone, it lacks harmony. That doesnt mean that all such scenes have to be depicted the same way. I remember the torture scene from Reservoir Dogs as being a masterful depiction of the horror of torture that bewrayed the surface pop harmonies of the scene. Imagine a bluegrass ensemble the holocaust or a R&B tribute to the battle of Okinawa. I would though prefer a banjo/opera history of Napoleon's life.

But accuarcy is not premised on the slapstick or the exploitive. Works such as those by their nature simultaneously open themselves up collectively to criticism and singularly insulate themselves from the same. The tradeoff achieved by precluding themselves from deeper consideration is that they paradoxically and inversely get to plumb greater heights while cutting themselves off from more serious concerns.

The same scene under two different directors can be wildly different to which the ever growing list of remakes attests. Consider Romero's Dawn of The Dead, a biting social commentary nested in a horror film, with Zack Snyder's which is more or leass a straight up zombie thriller. Terrence Malick's philosophical treatment of The Thin Red Line against Andrew Marton's jingoistic version.

At the same time attempting for a serious work opens you up to criticism. Peckinpah was attacked for the violence of The Wild Bunch,


I have only one question," said the lady from the Reader's Digest. "Why was this film ever made?"

"We wanted to show violence in real terms," Peckinpah said. "Dying is not fun and games. Movies make it look so detached. With 'The Wild Bunch,' people get involved whether they like it or not. They do not have the mild reactions to it."

"Why did everyone bleed so much?" another lady asked.

"Lady," Borgnine said, "did you ever see anyone shot by a gun without bleeding?" (Link to full article)

Another relevance whihc echoes JC's sentiment was comment by Kubrick on Schindler's List:

Frederic Raphael, who co-authored the screenplay for “Eyes Wide Shut,” recalls Kubrick questioning whether a film could truly represent the Holocaust in its entirety. After Raphael mentioned “Schindler’s List,” Kubrick replied: “Think that’s about the Holocaust? That was about success, wasn’t it? The Holocaust is about six million people who get killed. `Schindler’s List’ is about 600 who don’t. Anything else?”

To conclude since all here are writers and to address brian's OP I would argue that to remove a word from our lexicon is the same as a painter refusing to use a type of shade or shape or a chef who refuses to use a particular spice. Nevertheless social mores demand respect, or maybe lipservice, sometimes a blowjob, rim...anyways a work serves to justify itself.


I figured you’d say that. I didn’t realize it would be an essay. Well... I did, actually.

I feel the same way. I’m a pretty liberal dude, but I would absolutely disregard some SJW, Post-modernist bullshit.

For me it is about being real. What “really” happened. Yeah, it’s ugly, but so what?


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Old 01-23-2018, 06:25 PM
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Bahaha. I was going to say something about Quentin Tarantino and most any black character in both film and literature that may utter or use nigger ,but it reminded me of this book i subjected myself to, as it was recommended by a friend as a rip-roar, The Fan Man by William Kotzwinkle in which he uses the word "man" overtly and at a point in which a real gangster would say:

" We fine da niggaz we fuqda' niggaz up an' niggaz fine we fuqd' de' momn'fuq'her nigga ass. Ye wet me nigga?"

I didn't do this and i lied. But I've met a couple real gangsters. I mean . Oh.
Hm. Even in high school, I've met a lot of gangsters. Wow. Never thought about this --
Oooh shit.

Later--

Ahem. Also carap. I exhibit Bob Dylan's Hurricane
"..and to the white folks he was just a crazy nigger.."
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Old 01-24-2018, 12:30 AM
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Originally Posted by brianpatrick View Post
For me it is about being real.
Or not, as the case may be.

Django isn't real. I don't care for the movie to be honest, because I'm not sure I care for the intention.

Tarantino says he wanted to give people a hero, who could take on the southern slavers. And something about reducing it to comic book style goodies and baddies just put me off. I'm not so sure I need to indulge myself in a fantasy where a super nigga comes along and kills them all in order to feel good. But I won't say that it doesn't have any artistic merit; matter of taste.

So I think that's the key, and we all know this is subjective and why obscenity laws are stupid. But just from a perspective of art all that should matter really is merit, ie: does it work on some level.
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Old 01-24-2018, 12:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Beesauce View Post
Bahaha. I was going to say something about Quentin Tarantino and most any black character in both film and literature that may utter or use nigger ,but it reminded me of this book i subjected myself to, as it was recommended by a friend as a rip-roar, The Fan Man by William Kotzwinkle in which he uses the word "man" overtly and at a point in which a real gangster would say:

" We fine da niggaz we fuqda' niggaz up an' niggaz fine we fuqd' de' momn'fuq'her nigga ass. Ye wet me nigga?"
I'm tempted.

Do you think it was worth it in the end?
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Old 01-24-2018, 03:00 AM
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I really enjoyed The Fan Man.



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Old 01-24-2018, 07:37 AM
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Originally Posted by JohnConstantine View Post
I'm tempted.

Do you think it was worth it in the end?

Fan Man it's a cult classic and tiny quick, it was worth it, but i'd not say a favorite and when i finished i forgot the authors name and didn't go hunting down more of his work; was a'ight.
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Old 01-24-2018, 02:09 PM
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Originally Posted by JohnConstantine View Post
Or not, as the case may be.



Django isn't real. I don't care for the movie to be honest, because I'm not sure I care for the intention.



Tarantino says he wanted to give people a hero, who could take on the southern slavers. And something about reducing it to comic book style goodies and baddies just put me off. I'm not so sure I need to indulge myself in a fantasy where a super nigga comes along and kills them all in order to feel good. But I won't say that it doesn't have any artistic merit; matter of taste.



So I think that's the key, and we all know this is subjective and why obscenity laws are stupid. But just from a perspective of art all that should matter really is merit, ie: does it work on some level.


And of course the story I’m writing isn’t actually real. It never happened. But believable is what I should have said.




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Old 01-25-2018, 07:18 PM
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Homer's Odyssey Was Nothing
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...and of course the real artistry is in making the reader see "nigger" in their head without actually seeing it on the page...
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Mr. Ed said I should use his signature, since he's not anymore. In honor of his good friend Nok, here it is: "As far as smoking a cigar," she said, "I'd not know where to start or how to start." "It's simple," said I, "You light one end and chew on the other and hope to meet in the middle."
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Old 01-26-2018, 02:21 PM
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Here’s the first part of the piece:

Jesus Take the Wheel


Mickey opened a can of tuna and poured it into the bowl. He spooned a couple big bites into his mouth, and set the rest on the floor. “Come, kitty. Come,” he said. The black beast came, slipping up around the pantry from an empty box below the shoe caddy. “There’s a good boy,” said Mickey. “There’s a bubby-baby-boo.”

His cell phone rang. “You gonna take the fight with the nigger?” said the voice. “It pays ten large, win or lose. There’s a lot of fellas can’t get that in a year. And the side money—“

“Jeezus, Callahan.”

“Look, I ain’t racist; you know that. So the fight—?”

“I might—“

“What you might! This is ten grand for two hours of your time. Win or lose.”

“I gotta get to the garage. I got work.”

“You’re fucking crazy if you don’t take the fight.”

“Yeah, we’ll see.” Mickey hung up the phone and watched Tyson eat the tuna for a minute. Things are simpler when you’re a cat; they just are.


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