All Stories, General Fiction

Super Bowl Blues by Frederick K Foote

Night Train

This is For the Sake of Soul. I’m Night Train on the internet radio riding the rails to midnight madness, badass blues, and views from the black side.

I’ve got news for you. I’ve got blues for you. I’ve got things for you to do too.

It’s good to be back. I’m glad to be black. Dig what I say. Hear what I play. Let’s get the midnight Blues show on the way. I want to hear what’s goin’ down with you.

I know you know this already but, damn, it’s one of the best of times to be rich in America. Can I get an amen? All you rich people out there are thriving and driving in Rolls Royce, thirty plus percent and better investment returns. Baby, you in the highest of the high cotton. But Keb Mo got you nailed to the Cross of Capitalism, all you, “Victims of Comfort.”

***

If you poor, don’t despair. We are on the air and we do care for those got to scrimp and scrap for every dime all the time.

No wonder you got the blues. Hey, babe, don’t worry. We got a Champion on our side. Champion Jack Dupree got the, “Blues for Everybody.”

***

Night Train

Hey, the calls are already coming in. My phone lines are all lit up. Okay, I’m ready. I want to talk about what you want to talk about. Anything at all. But this is an election and impeachment year and the Super Bowl is just around the corner. Just a hint now.

We got Rhonda from Jackson, Mississippi, on line one. What’s on your mind, baby?

Rhonda

I’m chill. I love me some Champion Jack. I just want to give a shout out to my brother, Baker, down in Parchman Farm and my sister, Irene, in Iraq. I miss you, and I love you both. I want y’all home soon and safe.

Night Train

One sibling servin’ time and the other in the service. Tough times, huh?

Rhonda

Same old same old. Baker cut a nigger up bad over bullshit. Baker deserve time, but Parchman worse than Iraq.

Night Train

You right. You look up ‘cruel and unusual punishment,’ and they got a picture of Parchman Farm. Parchman more deadly than Iraq right now, for sure.

Rhonda

You got that right. Nobody deserves Parchman time except maybe them politicians keeping the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. Keeping them there for the same kinda macho, bullshit reasons that Baker cut that boy for. Fuck it, Night Train. I’m gonna hit this pipe, dim the light, drink some beer and listen to some blues. Love you, Night Train. Play some more Champion Jack, okay?

Night Train

Your wish is my command. I got ”That’ My Pa.” comin’ up.” But I just want to be clear. Are you saying that the reasoning for our wars in Iraq and our violent, self-destructive behaviors are similar?

Rhonda

“I couldn’t back down or just leave because it made me look weak” That’s what my brother said when I asked him why he attack that boy. Ain’t that what the politicians are saying too?

Night Train

Thank you, Rhonda. I guess a difference between your brother and the congress folks is that your brother does toxic hard time for slashing one man, and they get a cushy Congressional retirement for feedin’ hundreds to the graveyards.

I got Eugene from Eugene, Oregon, on the line. What’s up, man?

Eugene

Night Train, I’m very conflicted over your show. I have listened to it off and on over the last three years. I enjoy the insights of your listeners and applaud your musical selections. However, as an African American male, I’m deeply offended by your use of and by you, allowing others to use the n-word. It is the most hateful word in the English language. It is offensive to the very essence of my being. I plead with you to ban the use of that pejorative term on your show. Strike it from your vocabulary. I just had to get that off my chest.

Night Train

Eugene, I hear you, and I feel you. You not the only one feel like that. Not by a long shot. But dig this, baby. As long as mass incarceration, economic and racial segregation, and white racism exist, we’re still niggers in the US of A. I love you brother, but I’ll use the “most hateful word in the English language” anyway I want to for any reason I want. We’ve all earned that right. Just like you have the right not to use it.

Eugene

Night Train, I think we’ll just have to agree to disagree. I do want to point out that the stock market is at an all-time high, and unemployment is lower than it has been in fifty years and that wages are starting to rise. It’s not all doom and gloom. There is progress and a reasonable basis for hoping for a better future. And, if we African Americans turn out in mass as we did for Obama, we can renew our progressive march.

Night Train

Man, I think you may be right. But the market economy will not defeat racism or set black people free. This might be the best stock market ever, but racism, hate crimes, and discrimination are on the rise. We did elect Obama, but that didn’t change the economics for us. We still in the back of the bus.

Sister, Amazing Grace, from Falls Church, Virginia is next. I love your name, sis. What’s your game?

Amazing Grace

Thanks, Train. I got a shout out for Eugene. Brother, the creation of the nigger is the greatest accomplishment of white American society. It defines this nation, its people, and its politics. I say it like this.

Nigger! Nigger! Nigger!

I say it every day this way.

Nigger! Nigger! Nigger!

I say it every night when I pray.

Nigger! Nigger! Nigger!

A needle to stab white people in the eye

Nigger! Nigger! Nigger!

A chant to tell a brother hello or goodbye

Nigger! Nigger! Nigger!

Meant to demean me but really defines the

Nigger! Nigger! Nigger!

Dressed in bloody hood, white, and blue

I hope that’s not too many niggers for you Eugene. You need to look around you and see who the real niggers are. Peace out.

Night Train

Goddamn, sister, you got it. You share it. I get it. Amazing Grace, you always welcome at my place. Eugene, I hope you’re still listening and learning how many ways we use the nigger thing.

I got a regular up next, Scoop, from Sacramento, California. What’s up? You ready for some football?

Scoop

Ah, Train, I’m recoverin’ from knee replacement surgery, man. I’m glad I got Medicare, so I can, you know, get this expensive ass surgery. I just hope it works. The operation, not Medicare, that works just fine. But my kids, in their mid-forties having a heck a time getting medical insurance.

Look, here’s my issue, Train. My rent done jumped way, sky-high, up. I got to go, man. That’s tough. I been here for thirty years, train.

Night Train

Oh, shit! What’s your next move, brother? You need help?

Scoop

Oh, no, man. I’m good. I’m good. I, I got into the state Veteran’s Home down by Napa. I be kickin’ back in the wine country. Drop on by sometime.

I, I just, I’m thankful to be eighty and know who I am and where I am most the time. I appreciate what I got, man.

I tell my kids, black people came up through slavery, lynching, and segregation. We got this. They’ll get through this right-wing Trump bullshit. And we will too.

Night Train

Amen. Amen. You a bright light in a dark night. Love you, man.

Scoop

Yeah, yeah, you just, just play me some Billie Boy Arnold. Play, “Lovin’ Mother for You.” Hey, I get back to watchin’ football when Kaepernick is back, okay?”

Night Train

I hear you. Here’s “Lovin’ Mother for You.”

***

Night Train

I’m back and blacker than ever and never gladder to be here.

Sandy from St. Petersburg, Florida, is on line three. Go, Girl.

Sandy

Night Train, I’ve never heard “Lovin’ Mother” before. That’s gutbucket blues. I love it. I just want to yell at you guys for a second. Listen, I’m black and Seminole and proud of it. What if the Washington Redskins and the Kansas City Chiefs were in the Super Bowl of racist iconology? I mean, tomahawk chops on both sides. War Paint on every face. Squaws and half breeds doing the halftime show. Would that not be wonderful?

Night Train

Preach and teach.

Sandy

I’m just making a point. These Native American references are not a celebration of indigenous people’s culture. It is a commemoration of white supremacy. The power of white culture to reduce us to pets, mascots, and propaganda for a racist history of this nation.

Night Train

I’m hearing you.

Sandy

Look, Train, the way this country is going, the direction it is headed, we’ll soon see new names for sports teams; the New York Niggerbockers, The Miami Minstrels, The Carolina Coons, the Jacksonville Jig-a-boos and the Seattle Spooks.

Do you see what I’m saying?

Night Train

Sandy, thank you for helping us keep an eye on the prize of dignity for all. Well said.

Desmond from Scottsdale, Arizona, the floor is yours.

Desmond

Okay, just a thanks to God for letting us gather together here tonight. God is good. I have a feeling we might get it right tonight.

Okay, first of all, football is not a sport. It’s an industry – a for profit industry. A violent industry that promotes violence on the field and reinforces violence in the fabric of our society. Can I get an amen?

Night Train

Amen. But be specific now. Give us the devil in the details.

Desmond

Okay, you know what CTE is, right? Chronic traumatic encephalopathy – the brain disease that is associated with playing football. CTE causes emotional issues and mental decline. Now, the doctor that discovered this disease, and thank God that he did, claims almost all professional football players will suffer from CTE.

Night Train

Yeah, but that claim is being challenged as overbroad. I don’t know if there’s proof to support the idea that all footballers will have CTE.

Desmond

Okay, I agree with you. God knows I do, but even if it’s only fifty percent. And remember, over eighty percent of these players are black. How can we justify supporting an entertainment industry that maims half of its players? Do we love violence that much? Are we selling our souls and selling out our young men who participate in the college and NFL professional football industry?

I pray to God we consider these concerns and look, look hard, at these questions.

Thank you, Night Train, for letting me say my piece. God bless us all.

Night Train

Desmond, you Scoop, and Sandy are raining on my Super Bowl parade, but I feel you deep to the bone. I got Lori from Detroit, Michigan on line one. Talk to us, Lori.

Lori

Oh, come on, please! Give me a break! NFL players are an economic elite. They don’t require our protection or pity. And they know the risk and the rewards.

I know the US has a history of internal and external violence. We should all understand that. And we should not apologize for it. This is who we are and why we are the number one military and economic power in the world today.

And I know climate change is the greatest threat currently facing us. But we’re going to always be number one with a bullet, a rifle, and a gun. That’s what we are about.

God bless America.

Night Train

Whoa, sister, you gonna shoot us all down and kiss our bullet riddled, asses goodbye? Shit, that violence you so high on will be used against us people of color first and foremost – like it always has been. If you bettin’ on racist violence to save you from racism or climate change – you actin’ crazy as a shit house rat.

Being a nigger in America automatically makes you a danger and a threat. A nigger with a gun is an imminent danger, the ultimate menace, and it is always open season on any armed black man. Facts, baby.

Man! I was ready for game time. I was revving up for the kickoff. Now you Negroes done made life more difficult for me. Ain’t nothing simple anymore. You done give me the football blues.

Made me think about football laying on a steel slab in St. James Infirmary with CTE instead of the point spread. Bobby Bland, Louie Armstrong, and Hugh Laurie gonna’ take us to St James Infirmary for a bit of… of reflection. See you when I see you. Take care, come back, and stay black.

Frederick K Foote 

Image by D Thory from Pixabay

4 thoughts on “Super Bowl Blues by Frederick K Foote”

  1. I like the rhythm of it, like the radio announcer is a kind of preacher and the listeners are his congregation. Kinda reminds me of Lenny Bruce’s quote on words. “It’s the suppression of the word that gives it the power, the violence, the viciousness.” I think it’s also the tone of how its said. You could make “love” sound like an insult, depending on the tone and context it’s used in. Pretty interesting back and forth dialogue…. point, and counterpoint.

    Like

  2. Hi Fred,
    I love how this followed some logic but the comments were still random.
    It is a very realistic portrayal of the phone-in.
    I really enjoyed the ‘Billy Boy Arnold’ song.
    And I think you have helped to make Hugh Laurie cool(er?).
    As always – Brilliant social commentary.
    All the very best my friend.
    Hugh

    Like

  3. The rhythm and the internal rhyming in your writing hooked me right away, Frederick K. Foote. If you poor, don’t despair. We are on the air and we do care. I nodded my head through the whole story. Even tapped my foot. The content wasn’t shabby, either. So I went to your page and read a few more of your stories. I am your fan.

    Like

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