Hoodie Gang on Top of His Daughter



The teacher had her glasses low on the nose. That way she could peer over them or cock her head back with importance to read the paper. Skinny straps ran down from the end of the temple tips. That way she could hang her glasses down. There was something very workman-like about the whole thing, like she was doing very important work. So fucking pretentious!

The woman on the other side of the table couldn’t say anything about that. That young woman had to nod to everything with polite agreement and earnest eagerness. Yes, I should have studied harder. Yes, the structure of my essay was weak. Oh my god, your red nonsensical scribble on my work has opened my eyes to a deeper truth that I’m slack-jaw in awe about. It didn’t quite come out of her mouth like that. It was more like a low, reluctant grunting and humming while she averted her gaze.

Jenny was her name. It was written on the right top corner above the B-. The essay title was “What did the Soviet Union want in Afghanistan anyway?” The low-down of it is that Russia wants everything it can get its hands on. The acceptable reasons were listed in the textbook: Gain strategic foothold in Southwest Asia. Fear of the spread of Muslim influence, and so on. She simply had to fill in some fluff to turn the bulleted list into an essay. Her essays never sounded that good.

Jenny thanked the teacher, picked up her graded essay, and walked back to her seat. The days of decorated classroom walls were gone. From elementary through high school, teachers had always worked with the kids to put colorful drawings and helpful learning posters on the wall. Now that she was in college, the rooms felt mercenary. Classes and students moved around. They’d simply plop down in whatever room for a session and move somewhere else. If wall was broken or a destructed chair lay in the corner, it would be left there. Not our room. Not our problem. Neither did the public community college administration think so.

Never touch the underside of a desk. Three generations of chewing gum live there. Keep your knees low to avoid accidentally brushing against it. Jenny kept her dress unsentimental to avoid ruining something nice: a black pair of pants, a turquoise t-shirt with a turtle, and flip flops, all bought from Old Navy for less than $50. The pant legs were long. She had to roll them over twice. Her waist was simply on the chubby side and required her to buy larger pants than her short height needed. The cuff roll was messy, partly unrolled, and stomped on.

“Julia, why don’t you come up to the front of the class and read your essay. Class, you should really pay attention to her confidence to make her own opinion and support it with a suave argumentation,” said the teacher waving for Julia to stand up.

The teacher was an older woman. The flab of her former triceps hung at the back of her arms. The same type of flab hung from her cheeks. Age had really done a number on her to turn a fat padded body into something like a melting candle where everything got warm and starts drooping down. Unhindered by her physical ugliness, she had a fire in her like a steam engine that made her barrel forward with force to teach class, direct people, and instigate projects.

Julia on the other side was a skinny girl with pretty hairband, a girlie tank top, and an endearing coyness that makes one’s heart throb. She stood hesitantly in front of her chair with her paper in the hand at her side. She didn’t seem to make a move. Her friend in the next seat warmly laid her hand on Julia’s to encourage her to walk to the front. The Mark Wahlberg of the class cooed Julia: “C’mon, we all love you. I want to hear your essay.” So, Julia walked to the front of the classroom. I swear: She is feeding off of that.

She stood there in front of the classroom, all by herself, that small framed girl, the innocent look in in her eyes. Yet, even Jenny could feel the engagement of watching Julia. The eyes wandered over her shoulders, so pretty, so slender, so geometrically arranged, such a whisper of a happy childhood, unicorns, and rainbows. The fabric of the tank top was thin like from one of the boutiques on Main Street, the expensive ones. One could not look at the fabric without imagining the boutique. A tall sales woman in expensive clothes with a lot of makeup would come in a soft voice to plead for an interest in the clothes: “Oh, mademoiselle, so lovely today. I’ve just got a shipment of the most luster cotton garments from a little island in the Greek Sea. You are going to die to see yourself in it.” And so sheer was the fabric that one could see her nipples poking a dent into it. The guys were hanging onto them with full attention.

“The reasons that led to the Soviet-Afghanistan War are of historiographical uncertainty. Certainly the argument to gain a highly strategic foothold in the ‘backyard’ of the USSR has been made. But that shows a lack of understanding of the small, cabalistic group in the Politburo that actually triggered the decision to invade…”

Two hours later, Jenny was sitting Gaziantep Yabancı Escort under the balcony of the students association. The space under the balcony was an architectural quirk. To make the impressive façade align with the uneven hill that the association was built on, there had to be a gap under the building. The spot was out of sight. This is where Jenny met Ramon to smoke and drink beer during lunch break, both substances banned on campus. She took a swig from the brown bottle with the label “Rock Beach Finest” and cheapest as she would add.

“So, are you going to flunk like me next quarter?” asked Ramon, a Mexican guy with mad curly hair who only dressed in black.

“Well, they don’t flunk anybody. But they are cutting another 50 classes next semester. Only the top 25 students get into each class. My picking of classes that nobody wants is a lot slimmer this quarter. I can take an algebra class, a class on Persian architecture, or breathing exercises for more relaxed being. None of those classes count towards my major. This system is so fucked. I’m gonna be pumping gas at a gas station,” complained Jenny.

“You are always so negative. That’s why nothing is working out. Be happy. Look at me. I live in my car but I still can afford a drink every single day. When the lap pool shower opens again, it’s supposed to have hot water. Taking a hot shower. That’s freaking awesome! We are winning the Iraq war. The Cubs won the super bowl. Oh man, my uncle gave me this mad weed. You’ve got to try some!” said Ramon.

Ramon pulled a little bag of weed out of his pants pocket, which was pretty hard because he was sitting Indian style and doubled forward to fit under the low roof that the balcony made. He carefully tabbed a little into an old apple, which had browned since yesterday. There were two holes in the apple and a little water. He passed it to Jenny.

Jenny held the old apple to her lips and a lighter to the other hole. She sucked in hard to the bubbling sound inside the apple. She led out a big cloud and sigh. The tension mellowed out of her face. She had a bit of a moon face from her chubby body. Her hair was black, long, and matted.

“You know what? Fuck it! If I’m going to be a gas station attendant with a dozen kids and yellow teeth, so be it,” philosophized Jenny. She laughed at herself hard for the joke.

“You are way too smart for that,” said Ramon, eagerly readying the apple for himself. “You’re gonna be in one of those offices doing important stuff. I’ll be a marijuana gardener for my uncle’s business. That way, I can get high all day.

They both sunk back to lie on the ground. There was peace around them and inside of themselves. They didn’t have to talk much or any at all. It simply felt good. It felt good to not be bothered. It felt good to feel good on the inside. It felt good to have company that didn’t demand anything. That space of an architectural quirk was their bubble. Everything outside was uncomfortable, required action, and punished with bad consequences. In here, everything felt good. The soft smell of marijuana lingered for a long time in the wind protected air. Sometimes, they smoked the air into a standing haze. Then they’d search for mystical creatures in the random pattern of the smoke.

“For real, I have to find a job. My dad is cutting me off. He said that I either bring at least one B home, or I have to make my own living,” said Jenny.

“What about going back to the ice-cream parlor? You always got to take home leftover ice-cream. That’s pretty awesome,” suggested Ramon.

“They fired me. They ran this horrible racket. A pop of ice-cream was a dollar. But the toppings costs fifty cents. Fifty cents! That’s a rip off for a little spoon of chocolate stars! So, I gave the kids always a scoop without charging them. It’s only fair. Right!? So, this fucking boss bitch gets all in my face about how I’m undercharging. Stop ripping people off, cunt! I told her that to her face ’cause I hate fake people. I’m real, right brother? She fired me on the spot. What’s with at least a two week notice? I may have gotten a bit loud when I told her. But fucking cunt!” hissed Jenny.

“Dude, some people just need to learn to chill. Of course, you are going to have an opinion. That’s why good companies hire smart people. I’m telling you: With that attitude, that little corner ice cream place ain’t never going to get anything more. It takes people who can think big to make it big. They are losing so many customers because of that. I’d be there getting ice-cream every day if it weren’t for that. I really would. That’s the whole precipice between me unloading a truckload of cash there and nothing, nada at all,” commented Ramon.

“Right!” replied Jenny with stout defiance. Thinking for a while, she added, “Haven’t you been broke since April?”

“True,” replied Ramon, “I don’t have any money right now. But that don’t change a thing!”

The pause drew out a little longer until Jenny asked with a thoughtful face, “What’s a precipice?”

“I don’t know. I just threw that in there because it sounded convincing,” admitted Ramon.

“My dad had to crawl under a moving tank to get me to America. Things were really bad back home when he fled with me. I know his narrow minded and backwards, but he can’t help himself. If we would have stayed, we might have starved in the ruins of the city, got shot by soldiers, eaten by stray dogs, or raped by desperate men. He doesn’t talk about it, but our flight must have been harrowing. I take that huge gift, and I’m just a giant fuck up,” cried Jenny, her voice quivering and tears fighting at the threshold.

On the other side of campus, Damon stood next to the pole for the bus stop. He kept to himself. He watched the white college students sit on the bus bench. The bus bench was broken into three individual seats. There were seven kids. The seat in the middle had the lowest value because there was no elbow room. The seat on the right was an “aisle seat” but in the sun. The seat on the left had shade. That one was the most desirable. Julia was sitting there.

Anyone sitting there simply stood up and made space for her whenever she showed up. The other two seats were up for competition. Anyone could walk up and challenge the sitter to a truth or dare. If the sitter bowed out, the challenger would get the seat. If the sitter completed the challenge, the challenger had to complete the challenge. If that was done, the challenger would gain the seat. If there ever was a question about a challenge being unfair, like say, piss on a cop, the sitter could raise the issue with the judge, Julia. The students always had a jolly time in coming up with new challenges and holding the breath to see if the challenge was accepted or thrown.

The Mark Wahlberg of class was sitting next to Julia on the center seat. This skinny Slovenian guy, really malnourished looking, very dirty blond, one would think that his mom had been smoking throughout the pregnancy to mess up his genes, walked up to Mark. Slavi is what they called him. Slavi is pale in the face, like really at his edge, fighting to hold himself together. Even his voice is getting really thin, feminine actually. Nobody really paid much attention to him. That’s why he was trying even harder.

“I challenge you to tell us what you would do with Julia’s tits if she would let you!” demanded Slavi. He was standing really tall and straight as if he were addressing a high authority. That had the students’ attention. They eagerly eyed Julia to see if she would veto the brazen challenge that impacted her honor.

Julia sat very composed with her knees crossed and spine perfectly straight. She was always posing like a model or actress. “It’s a fair challenge,” she said. She rarely said more than she needed to. Nobody knew, but deep down, she was terrified of making a faux-pas. The girls whispered how cool, amazing, and confident she was. She soaked in all those little admirations. The guys got hungry looks in their eyes, as they surely visualized what her breasts looked like naked with a bare hand on them.

Mark threw his head back to make a gesture to pay time to think. His hair was sprayed into a perfect bow. Every strand of his hair seemed to be aligned perfectly and reflected the sun back a little differently. His t-shirt was ironed and fitted by a tailor. He was wearing pants that were probably picked based on a GQ magazine article.

“They are so amazing, I probably would be so overwhelmed that I’d have to admire them for a while, a long while. Then, I’d gently caress them. I’d play with my tongue around her nipples,” Mark had a way of narrating with a diction that enthralled the audience.

Julia had the heat of blush in her cheeks, yet kept her modest pose perfectly. “I like that. Maybe, you’ll get lucky one day,” she said.

A girl whispered, “Nothing shakes her confidence. I wish I were like her.” Julia caught that and her smirk went a little higher.

Mark challenged Slavi, “Well, now it’s your turn!” Mark had a victorious grin because he could smell that Slavi had never expected Mark to go through with it. Slavi hadn’t thought of what to say if it were his turn.

“I…” stammered Slavi, “I would suck on them really hard. I would lick them like a mad dog.”

“You are nasty yelled one of the girls,” and hit Slavi in the face with her purse.

“C’mon, that was uncalled for,” said another guy and pushed Slavi into the street.

Slavi stopped talking and stepped to the edge of the group, where he had hovered before trying to make an entrance. Even though, Slavi had just lost social status, he was still part of the group. They still included him. They’d talk about the day that he talked about Julia’s breasts like a legend in days to come.

Damon looked at his hands, the black chubby hands. He’d never be part of the group. They never looked at him like one of them. Of course, they didn’t say racist things to his face. Of course, they replied when he talked to them. But there was something about the baggy clothes that Damon was wearing that made him different. There was something about the topics that they talked about that he knew nothing. The topics that he knew about, they paid no mind to. The big hoodie made him feel like he could hide. It obscured his body shape. When he didn’t feel like letting anyone in on how he felt, he could lower the hood over his face. As dark as his skin was, it made it even harder for people to see his features.

Yet, there was the pang in his heart. He did want to be part of that group. He did want laugh with them. He did want to make a joke that would get the group burst and wiggle. Yet, he knew when he opened his mouth with his accent, they’d all freeze, become really quiet, and answer very politely. Any humorous quip that he laid out in his head would get the serious treatment.

In the freshman year, he had walked up to Julia, not knowing her status. He had tried to tease her about the sound of her flip flops. “Yah girl! Yah squawking like a duck!”

“Oh, I’m sorry,” had Julia replied. “Does it bother you? I can walk barefoot.”

“Na, it’s not that,” had he replied. “I’m just trying to yank your chain.”

She had run off, yelling that he is trying to chain her. Of course, a white boy quickly caught her and comforted her. Later that day, a teacher had a stern conversation with Damon: “You can’t go around campus and steal student’s shoes. This is not the hood!” It didn’t matter that Damon’s dad was driving a Mercedes. Whenever he talked to people things simply came off differently. That’s why he kept to himself and watched from afar in silence.

Jenny lived within walking distance of her community college. She walked down the residential street with the strip of grass between the sidewalk and the street, where the dog urine burns were slowly killing the grass. The crowns of majestic trees spawned a roof across the tree. The air was filled with your average happy residential neighborhood pixie dust. She turned into the entrance of the multi-dwelling building.

“Hey Jenny, did you get your grades yet?” asked the two senior neighbors chitchatting.

“Not yet,” replied Jenny dodging to answer.

“Can you dad to tell the TV down. He’s turning the volume way up after 10 pm. I can’t sleep!” called the female neighbor after Jenny, raising her finger in that way that old people wag their wrinkled and age spotted fingers.

Another neighbor, a stay home mom, was sweeping the hallway near Jenny’s apartment, “Jenny, when are you getting a boyfriend? You are such a pretty girl and never have any friends over.”

Getting home was a gauntlet. When she was about to face her door, she noticed the eye hole in the opposite door. The hole grew a little darker. She knew that the neighbor was watching her through the spy hole every time she came and left. He was a lone, single man. He always left an air of tension and sleaze when he walked past her. There was hesitation about the man and a lingering that set her at unease.

She opened the door. Her father was sitting on the couch man-spreading his knees. He was sitting in a light brown bathroom robe with the hairy, skinny knees bare. He was wearing white flippers. He had his thin hair combed straight back. He wore a gold chain over his bathrobe. That’s the way people relaxed in the privacy of the home back in their home country. His face was caved in around the bones to give it a hard and unforgiving look.

“You were up late yesterday,” he said in an unforgiving voice, an accusation, judgement, and condemnation in one.

“C’mon, I came home at 11 pm. I’m an adult since three years,” complained Jenny.

Unmoved by her argument or complaint, he continued the parental reprimand, “you are supposed to come home straight from school and study. Put your essay on the table.”

“Dad, I’m an adult. I really don’t have to do that anymore,” complained Jenny but put the essay on the coffee table anyway.

He peaked the grade while she placed it down, so that he didn’t have to give it any mind once it was laid down for his consideration. “You’ve got a B-. Tell me, what grade do you need to get into the next class?”

“An A-,” replied Jenny weakly, knowing that she sucked and not knowing to change her dad’s mood.

“That’s good. You do understand. There were two options. Either you are stupid or lazy. If you do understand, it means that you aren’t stupid. You are lazy. That’s good. That’s much easier to fix. It’s my fault to let you be lazy. If we were back home, I would lay you across my lap and spank you until you cry and remember. Here in this country, I go to jail for that. That’s not good. Do you see what that gets us? Now, go to your room and study!” reprimanded her father.

Jenny was glad to walk over the old carpet that reminded her of being a teenager to the back of the apartment where her room was. She laid down on the bed and put her earplugs in. The blare of Mexican rap music was soothing her while she starred at the ceiling. Captured, she was captured in that little room. She didn’t have money or a degree to go anywhere else. The situation wasn’t right. But her best tries didn’t get her out of here.

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