DETROIT, 1982 Nick Sexton ’16 This story is a dramatized account of the murder of Vincent Chin, a Chinese-American man who was killed in 1982 in Detroit, bludgeoned into a coma with a baseball bat by Ronald Ebens and Michael Nitz. The club is labyrinthine. Men gander at the rows of women who flip like acrobats, legs spreading and closing like scissors, maneuvering the towering poles, winking at the hungry faces staring from below. Men throw dollar bills at the women. One woman, Racine, crawls over to my friend and snatches a five dollar bill out of his hand with her teeth. She has spunk. There is a fog machine spewing mist around the girls, obscuring the faces of the guys like me who look up at these women on pedestals, enthralled by their sexuality. I know it’s dirty. But hell, this is the last time I can do this, the last time to stare these girls down. It’s a tradition and I have to go out with a bang. It’s been years, coming here after work with the guys. In the haze of the club I can only see Starlene’s pulsating body, her legs wrapped around the pole, strumming the sleek metal like a violin string. Her swarthy legs are long and lean, her silhouette in the dim light of the club excites me. I am kind of tipsy but I am okay. We had a couple of shots, but this is my bachelor party, so I deserve it. I am getting married. I am getting fucking married. I am going to marry Vicki. Victoria Wong. The words tingle on my tongue. They dance out of my voice box, wiggle up my throat, and my tongue sends the sweet sound out for the world to hear. Vic-tor-i-a. I am the victor, the man who has won the trophy. I am going to take your porcelain hand in mine and we will take a trip to Lake Erie and camp out in a cabin on the shores. We are going to splash in the freshwater of the lake in naked feet, granules of sand between our toes. The water will cover our ankles and recede, cover and recede. My toes will wrinkle and so will yours. I will caress your neck and we will lie down on a knit blanket and be together, just us, alone. I will look down at your legs next to mine. Yours: curved and bare. Mine: angular and hairy. I will tickle your nose with my nose and we will giggle. We won’t be able to help but smile until we start laughing, brimming with joy like an overflowing glass of good beer, because, shit, we’re together. We’re married. But that’s not until next week and so now, I can put this dollar in Starlene’s thong. “Come here. Why are you being so coy? Okay, fine, fine, you don’t like Chinese guys, I get it. That’s fine. Then get outta here. I can do better. You’re not even pretty anyway, just a pair of legs. Shoo, get out of here.” I just need another beer. Someone, gimme another beer. ——— Who is this punk shooing Starlene away? I swear nowadays every time I stop by this place I see another Jap through the smoke saying something stupid to these fine women. These are my ladies. They know me. Every time they give me a lap dance, I know they make it last a bit longer because they know what Ronald is packing. I love it when they wear silk. All I need is a lady wearing silk and a couple of shots and I am damn good. My neighbor is out of work again and it’s because of these Japs. Three years ago, a swarm of the yellow horde came into my neighborhood and pushed that nice Italian family out of their row house. They used to cook spaghetti and invite me and Nita over, but now the only things that come out of that house are kamikaze lunatics waving their red fucking sun flags around the neighborhood, yelping like samurais. World War II wasn’t so long ago, and I feel like people forget that. They’re always out on their front porch, staring me down with their chinky little eyes. I wanna ask them, What are you looking at? Get the fuck back to your country. But I know that I can’t. Down at the Chrysler plant where I work, a lot of my co-workers are Japanese and word spreads fast in this devious little circle, so I got to keep my trap shut. I wouldn’t want them to do some sort of karate on my ass. That’s something they’re good at. Sometimes I just want to leave this compacted mess of people and factories and broken asphalt that we call Detroit and go back to my mother’s farm. There’s no Japs there. Starlene is one of the most fiery girls up there on that stage. She knows how to move it. But damn, I think that guy with that blocky black mullet bruised her ego. There’s something off in her step now. He said she’s not pretty? That’s rich, man. Look at his yellow glow.
Spring 2016 Print Edition