copyright © 2002 Jeff Goode

Anger Box

by Jeff Goode

copyright © 2001

I'm only telling you this because I don't have to. So, off the record, just between you and me: ...There's this guy.

And he works at the gas station on the corner of Aloe and Pennsylvania.

(And, frankly, I think he owns the station, but he's too fucking cheap to hire any help, so half the time you drive by, he's the only one there. So what does that tell you?)

So, anyway, so last week somebody kills this guy. Like a drive-by. Cuz at first they thought it was a robbery, but no money was taken.

And now all a sudden they're calling it a hate crime.

So my question is: Is it still a hate crime if it was self-defense?

I mean, what if this guy was just a total asshole? Does that make it a hate crime? I mean, that's every murder, really, right? You gotta hate someone pretty bad if you're gonna kill them.

I mean, it's hardly ever that someone gets murdered because people really, really like them. Why does it have to be a special category?

I mean, like this guy that got killed.
Nobody liked him.

I mean, if hate is your motive. Everybody had a reason to kill him.
I coulda been the one to kill him if that's all it takes.
In fact, I would say that I had more reason than most.

And I know you're thinking, "There's never a reason to kill anybody."
But that's just so closed-minded. You don't know what he was like, this guy.

I mean, this guy... No disrespect, but just between you and me.
Thank God. Okay? Good riddance. There I said it.

And I know how that makes me look, but sometimes you gotta just stand up for your rights and say, I don't care what anybody thinks, that's just how it is. And if you disagree, I'm sorry, but you don't know.

Because that's the thing is you'll have people from all over, from New York, or fucking San Francisco, writin' about... I don't know. Intolerance. Or, I don't know, profiling. Because of how something looks on the surface, but do they even take the time to come down here and find out, or research or even ask somebody? Do they ask anybody?

I mean, ask me, I'll tell you.

Cuz things aren't always how they look, is all I'm saying. And I stand by that.

You can't just go judging people by how they behave.

Like, for example, this guy who got shot.
Fine upstanding business owner, member of the community, right?

But where did he get the money to own a business?

Just over from what-the-fuck.
Two years in this country, five years, I dunno, whatever.

Doing what? Driving a fucking cab, probably. Five years maybe, tops. Hasn't even learned the language and then - boom - owns his own business.

Like I'm buying that. Bullshit.

I've been 15 years on my job and I don't own shit.
I'm still paying for my truck.

And now it's impounded so I can't even use it. So I'm paying $150 a month for nothing.

And this guy! Little station. Great location. Major intersection. Eight pumps. Not just four. Four on each side. All self-service so he doesn't even have to get off his ass. Just sit in his little booth and take my money.

So everywhere I go, that's what I think: More money for him.
25 miles to the gallon, I get. So every 25 miles - more money for him.

I haul a load of trash out to the dump. Money in his pocket.
Go to a ball game. Money in his pocket. Everything I do.
Cuz I love that truck. Got 100,000 miles on it.
Who's gettin' rich? Fuckin' Achmar McYahoo.

Fuckin' I could run a gas station.
And I - check it out - would have full service.
Check your oil. Windshield. Tires? No problem: tires.
At self-service prices.
(taps his head)
American ingenuity.

But that's the thing. Being an American don't count for shit in this country.

"Sorry, we need collateral. We need, I don't know, credit reports."
And, "oh, what's this I see? You owe American Express $1000 dollars?"

No! My girlfriend owes American Express a thousand dollars because that's her engagement ring that she charged. That I let her pick out, because nothing can be perfect for her. So you go ahead, honey, you just pick the one you like, because that's the kind of guy I am.

And then when I find out it's a thousand dollars...

Do you know how long it takes me to make a thousand dollars?

It doesn't matter. It doesn't matter if you know. She knows how long it takes.

And when I try to discuss it with her, can she be reasonable?

No, that would be too much to ask, so now it's at the bottom of the lake, so the fuck I'm paying for it. American Express can suck my American cock.

So "I'm sorry we cannot authorize your loan"

You know why they have armed guards at a bank? Exactly for that. So they can say shit like that to your face and they got somebody around to pull you off 'em before you're completely finished.

That is one lucky faggot.

But this Egyptian...
Let me ask you one question: What kind of collateral does he have? What kind of credit history does he have?

I'll tell you what - none. I'll tell you what he's got. The Mafia. That's how they do it.

Not the real Mafia. Not like "The Godfather". Because I got no problem with Italian Americans. "The Sopranos" kicks ass. Cuz how cool would that be to have in your neighborhood?

But no, we got this Middle Eastern Hindu Palestinian OPEC bullshit. Where they all stick together, because why? Because they all wear fucking turbans? Because they all have brown skin? My cousin Bobby almost married a Mexican chick, so don't talk to me about racism.

I'll tell you what it is. It's all this fundamentalist Buddhist crap where Allah teaches them that we're the Great Satan because we like Freedom and Equality and because we think women look hot in a thong bikini instead of all those veils and baggy shit so you can't tell if they're fat or not.

Cuz you know that's what this is all about.

Because when Mohamed gets back to the hotel room on his wedding night and finally gets his virgin bride unwrapped out of all her tarps and shit and it turns out she's a fucking pig.... Hell, yes, he wants to blow up some Americans. I would, too.

So when they got a problem, instead of just changing it in their Bible like we do and problem solved, they have to go: Okay, now everyone else has to suffer, too.

So they do this "we all have to stick together" thing and get rid of Israel - like that's their problem. So the Arabs support the Palestinians. And the Libyans help the Albanians. And Iraq and Iran and Yemen.

And that would be fine if they all wanted to stay over there and be Islamic in Mecca. Which seems like the obvious thing if you ask me.

But what happens is one of them comes over here. And he wants to open a gas station. So he can sell their oil over here.

And he doesn't even know the language. So is the faggot at the bank going to approve that? No, because the guy could just say, "I didn't know what I was signing." Or "It's against the Koran to pay interest" or some shit, so he can't go to a bank.

But it doesn't matter because they just get some sheik to go in with him on it because he's making a profit on the oil anyway, so it's all gravy for him. So they can have as many gas stations or 7-11s as they want at pure profit until they take over that way.

But you don't have to believe me.

I shouldn't even be saying this because: Religion and politics, you know what they say. And this is both. So never mind, fuck it. It's a free country, right?

So what if an honest American can't make an honest living and gets arraigned on assault charges while this sick fuck is charging almost 2 dollars a gallon and won't even wipe your fucking windshield.

And he gives you this look every time you walk in.

Because you know what it is, really? This is the thing:
We have something in this country called "innocent until proven guilty"
I just want to say that up front. Innocent until proven guilty.

Because what it is, really - This guy thinks I did something to his daughter. Like tried to rape her or something. And I don't even want to get into this he said/she said bullshit about "What is rape?" because that doesn't even matter.

That's not the point, because the point is... Whatever happened.
Whatever he thinks happened. He doesn't know.

I know he doesn't know, because how is he going to find out?
She's not gonna say nothing. They can't even look a woman in the eye without a veil on. You think she's gonna tell him how her date went?

So, every time I go in there, he looks at me like he knows I'm guilty of something which I know for a fact he don't know. But that's how he looks at me anyway. But where's the proof? Where's the presumption of innocence? For all he knows it could be that it turns out it was consensual.

Did he ever think of that?

That maybe there's a reason she didn't go to the police. That maybe there's a reason she doesn't talk to him about it.

Like maybe in this country it's none of his business if she wants to go to a party and doesn't feel like telling him every little detail of what goes on her private life.

So she makes shit up.

Did it ever occur to him that whatever that little bitch told him - if she even told him anything at all - which I don't think she did - isn't exactly the whole truth?

So now every time I go in there I have to feel like I'm on trial for something when I'm there to give him money! That's the thing that pisses me off.

I'm the customer. He's getting rich off me.

You'd think there'd be some kind of common courtesy to smile at least while he's raking me over the coals with every gallon. I'm the one who's getting raped. I didn't ask to be out of gas.

But he makes me feel like the fucking Inquisition every time I walk in.

Listen, if you don't like it, don't open a store.

Go back to driving a cab so you can decide who you pick up and who you don't based on the color of their skin, or what part of town you think they live in that you don't go to.

But if you're gonna open a business in my part of town, then you're gonna get people like me comin' in, and if you don't like it, go back to your own neighborhood.

Or better yet, go back to some place where everybody else is just like you so you can discriminate against your own kind. But don't do it here.

Because this is a free country. And that means you're free to leave. Because everybody here likes it here.

So don't come in here with your bombs and your racism and your centuries-old quarrels that nobody understands and blame innocent people because you don't have nice stuff in your own country.

Because that's the kind of shit where somebody ends up dead.

So don't ask me, but that's what I think happened.

This is one of a series of monologues performed at No Shame Los Angeles which later became part of the play Anger Box. This character is based very loosely on the person who went on a shooting spree shortly after September 11th, 2001, resulting in the death of a Sikh gas station attendant. The text above is the original, unrevised version of the script as performed at No Shame.

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