Kayla pounded on the locked bathroom door. “Nick! Come on, you’ve gotta come out sometime!” she shouted.
“No! Go away!” was the response she got.
“Come on, there’s always next year.”
“But hey, at least college football is in full swing.”
“Yeah, but UCLA sucks this year, and I hate USC. That school is just a front for their athletic program.”
“Well if you’re going to mope all day, at least do it down at the Celtic Penny.”
Nick left the apartment and walked down to the Celtic Penny. He saw Steven, who was sitting at the bar visibly depressed.
“What’s the difference between the Nationals and chicks?” Steven asked Nick.
“I don’t know. What?”
“You can buy a chick a drink or dinner and still might not get laid, but the Nats will always fuck you,” Steven replied.
Eric walked over to the two to take Nick’s drink order. A bottle of Scotch was the first order. When Eric said he cannot legally sell an entire bottle at once, a pint of Guinness was the second order. “Did you guys hear? LA might be getting an NFL team soon.” Nick and Steven perked up a bit.
“Really? What will the name be?” Nick asked.
“The LA Beaners,” Eric replied. Nick and Steven were shocked.
“How can such a name be allowed? It’s a racial slur that denigrates a vibrant, rich cultural tradition!” Nick protested.
“Yeah, but it’s a word that’s been around forever, so that makes it okay,” Eric said.
“How does that work?” Steven asked.
Eric answered, “Well, there’s a village in France named La Mort aux Juifs, which means ‘Death to the Jews.’ But everyone turns a blind eye to it because it’s had that name since the Middle Ages.”
“So as long as there’s a long cultural tradition of being derogatory towards another cultural tradition, it’s okay?” Nick asked very sarcastically. “I wanna make sure I understand literally the only argument supporters of the team’s name have.”
“You got it,” replied Eric.
A few days later, Amanda and Steven were driving around downtown LA. Amanda wanted to see a representative of Western Biological Supply Company about spending some grant money on supplies for her research. Steven, bored, was tagging along because it was Columbus Day and he had off work.
“Yeah, I don’t understand why in the US it’s a holiday because an Italian guy got lost on his way to China and discovered the Bahamas. But whatever,” commented Steven, driving the car.
“Speaking of getting lost, I think you missed a turn. We appear to be in East LA,” Amanda noted. You can’t call LA the Mexican neighborhood of LA, because Mexican culture is omnipresent in the city. Rather, East LA has been the center of Mexican culture in the city, the capital of the LA Mexican population, if you will. Amanda and Steven continued for another block until they saw a sign that says “Future Site of Beaner Stadium.” A crowd had gathered around it and was protesting. Steven pulled over and asked one of them what was going on. The person responded, “Oh yeah. They’re kicking the Mexicans out of our ancestral homeland, East LA, in order to build the football stadium. Then they’re going to name the team The Beaners, which they say is to honor us.”
That night, Nick had Christian and Steven over. “I can’t believe they’d think such a name is acceptable. I certainly know what it’s like to be called a name like that – I’ve faced it myself,” Christian shared.
“People have said derogatory things to you because you’re black?” Steven asked. He didn’t notice Nick smirking.
“No. In high school band, Nick kept calling me a ‘tromboner’ because I played the trombone.” Nick rolled his eyes. Christian added, “We prefer the term ‘trombonist’” in an annoyed tone of voice.
“They’re supposed to start tearing down residences on the 31st,” Steven said, trying to bring the subject back to the football team.
At this time, Kayla walked into the room. “That’s Halloween! You should totally make it look like the place is haunted and scare the demolition crew away. Then the NFL will abandon the site, because who wants to play on a spooky haunted field?” she suggested.
A few days later, it was Halloween, which is basically the best holiday ever when you’re a kid, unless you live in one of those whacko fundamentalist families who say Halloween is the Devil’s holiday or some such bullshit. But anyway, all 25 kids in Kayla’s class at Sandcrab Elementary were celebrating by wearing their costumes. The classroom was populated with ghosts, vampires, monsters, skeletons, mummies… even Leo was dressed up as Reptar. The only thing missing was the teacher.
“I hear she’s coming in dressed as a witch,” Dracula said to Spiderman.
“No way, she likes turtles, so she’s gonna be a slutty turtle,” Casper the Ghost added.
“What’s slutty mean?” Spiderman asked.
“It means you wear whatever the hell you feel like and everyone is sexist and oppressive if they say anything about it,” Casper answered.
A few minutes later, a woman wearing a Jack-O-Lantern on her head walked in and proceeded with the math lesson. But then Kayla walked into the classroom and the Jack-O-Lantern lady stopped. The two looked at each other. Then, Dracula shouted, “Wait! If you’re there…then that means…” All the students and Kayla screamed and ran out of the room. They ran around in the hallway and popped in and out of doors like they did in Scooby Doo cartoons. Eventually, the other woman was cornered. Kayla pulled off the Jack-O-Lantern to reveal it was Ms. Denny, the other 3rd Grade teacher, playing a Halloween joke on them.
Just then, a little girl dressed as the chick from Frozen shouted, “Oh God! The werewolves!” Kayla told her to be quiet, but she kept on shrieking about the werewolves. “Where are the werewolves?” Kayla asked in a patronizing tone. “In the forest! The forest! The forest! Oh God, the horror, the blood, everywhere, the blood!” The little girl was terrified, but no one else bought into it. The girl protested that nobody was listening to her. “Come on, now, Jessica. Since when have little kids been able to sense supernatural evil and danger that adults can’t?”
Meanwhile, high on Palos Verdes in Dr. Brown’s lab, Nick just finished setting up a reaction and decided to use the downtime to check his e-mail. He had one from Dr. Brown and read it aloud. “Nick, please order some more sodium hydroxide, because you know I’m all about that base.” Nick sighed and did a face palm. He then looked at the clock. “Shit! Demolition starts in an hour!” Nick got into his car and drove to East LA. He met Christian and Steven, who had already been there all afternoon. They told Nick the plan was in place and everything was ready to go. The three then ducked into an alley, opened a bottle of Patrón, and watched their plan unfold while taking shots.
Two workers entered a condemned building and started laying det cord. One worker suddenly shouted, “Oh man! What was that!?” The other said, “I heard it too. It sounded like a little kid crying.” Around a corner, a hidden tape player was playing. The resumed their work for a minute, when suddenly, an eerie fog began to envelope them. The first worker nervously said, “I’ve seen this in those ghost hunter shows.” Around another corner, a fan blew across a block of dry ice.
They continued working for another minute when a werewolf appeared with a vicious snarl. The first worker suddenly appeared relieved. “I know what’s going on. Some local kids or someone made it look like the place is haunted so we don’t tear down their neighborhood.”
In the alley, Nick said, “Oh man, nice touch on the dude in a werewolf costume!”
There was a blue street sign at the corner of the alley and the larger street. It said BOSQUE, Spanish for forest.
“Uh, we didn’t get a guy in a werewolf costume,” a bewildered Christian said.
Back in the residence, the werewolf lunged at the first worker and took a bite out of his mid-section, almost chopping him in half. The other ran out screaming, only to be devoured by a second werewolf on the stoop.
Christian, Nick, and Steven watched all of this from the alley. They were numb with terror and babbled like idiots for a minute. They forgot that they arrived by cars, which they were too drunk to drive anyway, and when they regained enough cognizance to move, they ran through the barrio as fast as they could. They ran down Caesar Chavez Ave. until it became Sunset, and then kept running. They ducked up a side street. Nick was the first to recognize the area. “Up here, we can hide here and rest.” They found a large expanse of grass and lay down to sleep.
The next morning, they woke to find themselves on the infield of Dodger Stadium. No game had been played there recently because, you know, Kershaw. They walked back to East LA to their cars and found that the sign announcing the future site of the football stadium had been burned down. Several members of the Mexican American community were cheering in the street. “¡El estadio no viene!” they shouted. The stadium would not be coming.
Christian suggested, “Hey guys, let’s celebrate over some pumpkin spice lattes.”
Nick and Steven looked at him disapprovingly.
“Or, you know, regular coffee would be fine.”