The boys on Dorsey station didn’t know my problems.

I’d enter through the back way each night, hide my sweater in a tray and walk in to get my timecard:

“Brothers and sisters!” I’d say. “Brother, Hank!”

“Hello, Brother Hank!”

We had a game going, the black-white game and they liked to play it. Boyer would walk up to me, touch me on the arm and say,

“Man, if I had your paint job I’d be a millionaire!”

“Sure you would, Boyer. That’s all it takes: a white skin.” Then round little Hadley would walk up to us.

“There used to be this black cook on this ship. He was the only black man aboard. He cooked tapioca pudding 2 or 3 times a week and then jacked-off into it. Those white boys really liked his tapioca pudding, hehehehe! They asked him how he made it and he said he had his own secret recipe, hehehehehehe!”

We all laughed. I don’t know how many times I had to hear the tapioca pudding story...\n
“Hey, poor white trash! Hey, boy!”

“Look, man, if I called you 'boy’ you might draw steel on me. So don’t call me ‘boy.’ ”

“Look, white man, what do you say we go out together this Saturday night? I got me a nice white gal with blonde hair.”

“And I got myself a nice black gal. And you know what color her hair is.”

“You guys been fucking pur women for centuries. We’re trying to catch up. You don’t mind if I stick my big black dick into your white gal?”

“If she wants it she can have it.” “You stole the land from the Indians.” “Sure I did.”

“You won’t invite me to your house. If you do, you’ll ask me to come in the back way, so no one will see my skin . . .”

“But I’ll leave a small light burning.”

It got boring but there was no way out.

Other works by Charles Bukowski...