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"Walkin' the Mile"

 by Wayne Faust  

2015 by Wayne Faust
All rights reserved


They threw Johnny in the slammer just for beatin' up a raghead. Can you believe it? A raghead! That camel jockey was probably getting ready to blow himself up in the middle of town and they throw Johnny in the slammer? America just ain't what it used to be, that's for damn sure.

I suppose I should have hung around with Johnny to face the music. After all, I was there too, playing lookout. But I guess I didn't do such a good job because when that squad car came swervin' down the alley with its siren blaring there wasn't any time to think. One second I'm tyin' my shoe and the next I'm seein' Johnny with his hands in the air like a moth on the end of a pin. I couldn't let them catch me again so I was half a block away before the cops even had a chance to look around.

Why are American cops busting real Americans? Didn't they know Johnny was doing the country a favor, same as any soldier fighting in Iran?

America is washed up, in my opinion. We used to be able to defend ourselves but not any more. In my grandpappy's day you could beat somebody up that needed a beating. He used to tell me stories about when this country was free. He would bash in the head of a troublemaker and a judge would just give him a little slap on the wrist to keep the civil liberties boys happy. Or he'd have to do community service or some crap like that. But where is he now? In jail. Along with my daddy. Once upon a time judges could see the big picture. They knew what we were trying to defend. But not any more.

My daddy told me about the days when they first started Sensitivity Training, somewhere around the turn of the century I think. That was the same time that colleges were coming up with subjects like African American studies, Women's Studies, Middle Eastern Studies, blah blah blah. What a bunch of crapola. What could you do with a degree like that except run around and cause trouble? But that was nothing compared to what we got now. Now they make you Walk the Mile.

Ten years ago, when it was brand new, they made Billy Cannon walk the mile. He was one of the first ones under the new system. System, hell. It's brainwashing, pure and simple.

Billy used to be my hero but they fixed all of that. You wouldn't believe what it did to him. He was our leader back then. Forget the ragheads, Billy used to take after the people that messed up this country long before the Muslims started coming around. Billy would have us marching in parades on the 4th of July, yelling 'Seig Heil' and waving swastika flags. We used to seriously piss off every kike, spic, and faggot in town. And even after they passed a law against using the 'N' word, Billy said it on a TV show and the host was a black guy! Can you believe it? And then he pulled back his sleeve to show off his swastika tattoo. Yep, Billy sure had balls.

So when he got back from the slammer I knew he must've made some kind of a deal. He'd only been gone for six months on a fifteen year sentence. He should have gotten five to ten for simple assault but since it was a black guy that he beat up, they were able to tie it in with what he said on that TV show and call it a hate crime which is fifteen years. Like I said, this country is going off a cliff.

I figured Billy probably conned those idiots, acting all repentant and sorry and talking his way out. I expected that he'd be right back out there at the head of the parade again. What did I know about Walkin' the Mile? It was brand new in those days. They were still calling it Experience Unification. That was until some joker started calling it "Walkin' A Mile In My Shoes" after a song from sixty years ago. Then the blacks started calling it just "Walkin' the Mile." Now everyone says it that way, including me. God, I hate talking like a black guy.

They say that if you really get up close to somebody, get to know their feelings from the inside, it will be hard to hate them anymore. What a monumental bowl of crap. I've been plenty close to all kinds of scumbags. You should see my neighborhood. There are enough wetbacks to start a whole other country which is what they're doing. Otherwise, why would they be waving Mexican flags during 4th of July parades? This is supposed to be America and the only flag you should be waving is the American flag. Yeah, I've been plenty close to Mexicans all right. Close enough for them to try and take my job.

And don't tell me I need to get closer to black people. Been there, done that. When I was a kid they were all over my school because my daddy didn't make enough money to move us to the suburbs. How many times did I have to watch a bunch of shiny black faces surround me and punch me in the gut until my lunch money spilled out on the ground? Too many. They were all in gangs of course so what chance did I have? Eventually I had to join a gang of my own, just to protect myself. I been in gangs ever since. So don't tell me I don't understand those...people.

So anyhow, Billy comes home to the neighborhood and we're all waiting for him at the Greyhound station, ready to pick up where we left off. He gives us that Billy smile as he gets off the bus but I can tell right away that something is different. He used to have a real edge to him. He could fire up his anger and feed on it. He had an Adam's apple that would bounce up and down on his skinny neck whenever he saw something on the news that pissed him off and before we knew it he would be leading us off on a mission.

But the man standing on the platform is a little lamb. He even looks embarrassed that we're there waiting for him. Can you believe that? Billy had never been embarrassed about anything in his whole life.

When we get back to the meeting hall I ask him what they did to him up at the prison. He doesn't want to talk about it much but after a few beers I drag it out of him. Sure enough, they had hooked him up to one of those new gadgets for some 'Experience Unification.' It was either that or spend the next fifteen years in the slammer. And what did anyone know then? It seemed like an easy choice.

They found some four-star black guy to volunteer to be hooked up to the machine with Billy. What a shock that must have been for Billy. Like doing a mind meld with a monkey. I mean, there is no way any black guy is gonna have the same thoughts and feelings as Billy. Billy is white. So it must have been the shock that changed Billy so much. Like post traumatic stress or something. Or maybe, like I suspect, Billy was simply too weak to handle it.

So they filled Billy's brain up with whatever those scumbags wanted to put in there. And it ruined him. He tried to shake it off, but after about six months he stopped coming to our meetings. For all I know he probably joined the goddamned NAACP.

I remember a couple of years later on the 4th of July when we were marching in the parade like always, flying the swastika flag and goose-stepping merrily along. I happened to see Billy on the sidewalk. I started to wave to him but he lowered his eyes and backed away. I think the rest of our guys saw it too because they all got real quiet.

It was right after that when I figured out that if anyone was gonna step up and be a leader it would have to be me. I would do it just like Billy used to do, only better. I must have been good at it because our numbers grew. The recession helped because there were a lot of pissed off Americans with time on their hands. Eventually I was able to quit my janitor's job and manage the group full time. I was able to spend all my days recruiting and all my nights defending America.

I should have known they would eventually catch up with me. Our website was thriving because at least the Internet still has some semblance of freedom. But I was becoming a big target. And like an idiot I started going on TV shows, just like Billy used to do.

They put me under surveillance of course, violating all of the so-called rights that everyone is screaming about these days, the rights that real Americans never get to enjoy. So when they caught me on video throwing a Molotov cocktail into a mosque I was screwed, even though the video had been taken illegally. And yes, even though a mosque is not a real church, throwing a bomb into one is definitely considered a hate crime. Go figure.

So it was my turn to get hauled off to the slammer. But thanks to what happened to Billy I knew what was coming. I was ready. So yes, I let them hook me up to that thing. It was pretty simple really. They just sat me in a chair and put this headband thing on me. On the other end of the room was a Muslim janitor from Afghanistan with his own headband on. Then someone in the other room turned something on and I was inside the guy's head. The deal is, you have to sit there for eight hours a day for three days, with a few bathroom breaks and lunch thrown in. That's a lot of hours living in somebody else's head. But it beats fifteen years in the slammer. And I was able to keep my distance from the guy. I really was. So the whole thing didn't faze me. Not even close.

Oh sure, it was kind of interesting. And almost a little bit cool. But I'd learned something a long time ago that came in handy. When I was a kid getting beat up all the time I learned to separate what was happening to me with my emotions, to kind of wall it off so it wouldn't hurt. Then it became just like watching a movie from the back row. I could just go home and forget the whole thing, except for the bruises on my body. And Walkin' the Mile didn't leave any bruises because no one was beating me up. That made it really easy.

I learned a few things about how ragheads think of course, which will come in handy when World War III kicks off. But like I said, I was able to wall the whole experience off so it didn't really affect me one way or the other. I was able to learn how to say the right things so they'd let me go. And once I got outside the gates I laughed all the way home. Because I'm a lot smarter than Billy will ever be. So now I'm out, free as a jaybird.

Can you blame me for agreeing to Walk the Mile? There was no way was I gonna do fifteen years. And unlike Billy, I'm still out there leading the troops.

But lately it seems to be getting harder. Last year we only had eighteen guys in the parade. Eighteen! And the dues are dropping way off. I might have to go back to being a janitor. In the old days, we used to fill up the streets, driving all the filth ahead of us and down into the sewers where it belongs. But now, well, it looks like it's too late. America is spreading her legs for every godforsaken race in the world and making the last real Americans Walk the Mile. And a lot of people aren't nearly as smart as I am so they can't resist it like I did.

At our meeting last night we only had thirteen guys - twelve guys and me. Maybe it's like the twelve apostles in the Bible. But I don't feel much like Jesus. A few years ago maybe but the fire isn't burning as hot these days. Oh sure, I can still get myself worked up. As I said, I'm not like Billy. But in my darkest moments I can feel the hate fading away like an old coat of varnish. And there doesn't seem to be anything I can do to get it back. You might say that it's because I Walked the Mile but there's no way that can be true. Not in a million years.

            I saw Billy Cannon in the grocery store last week. At first I barely recognized him. He'd let his hair grow out. There was a woman with him who must have been his wife. Two little kids hanging on his arm. It was a hot day so he was wearing one of those t-shirts without any sleeves. I couldn't believe what I saw. He'd had the swastika tattoo removed from his arm. And he actually looked happy.

            Maybe I'm getting old. All I can think about is how it used to be when there were people you could look up to - people like Billy, and my daddy, and my grandpappy. But my daddy and grandpappy are in jail and the last I heard, they are actually thinking about Walkin' the Mile. And Billy? Well, I already told you about him.

Once upon a time I knew what I was. Maybe I wasn't perfect but at least I had all the answers. These days? Nothing but questions. 



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