The Floor [A Short Story]

Je voudrais dire la vérite´ J’aime la vérité.

–Jean Cocteau,  “Le Menteur”

The Opinions of Anonymous


To kill or not to kill, that is the question, whether it is nobler in the mind to endure the slings and arrows of outrageous morons around you, or just to end them by cutting their throats, slashing them to pieces, chopping them up with machetes or chopping off their fucking heads—but in guillotines; I wouldn’t want to be confused for some fucked up Islamic Terrorist aligned with Isis. 

–words transcribed from words in marker on the wall of a public bathroom stall


Chimpanzees raid baboon nests. They then chase off the adult baboons, beating them up and running them off, chasing them away from the babies of the baboons. The chimpanzees then capture the baby baboons, which they then beat against trees until the baby baboons are sacks of mushy pulpy flesh and broken bones. The chimpanzees then, after beating the baby baboons to death, stand in a circle, where they then play catch with the sack that was once a living baby baboon. This is not a response to any aggression by the baboons. This is not a fight for food or for survival. This is only because the chimpanzees had nothing else to do, which is a behavior that can be determined through observation. I do not want to venture an inquiry about who watches chimpanzees do this. I’m sure naturalist observations of animal behavior  must have no human intervention. The naturalist cannot feel bad for the gazelle that the lions take down and eat.


The chimpanzee is the species of animal whose closest relative is us, Homo-Sapiens. We are Homo-sapiens first and often times in the final analysis, so what I have to say about Homo-sapiens is relevant to everything we suffer as a species, that is, everything we suffer by our actions as another species of animal on this planet.

We are 98% identical in our DNA with our chimpanzee brothers. The chimpanzees can kill for no discernible reason related to their survival; we too have this specialization in for killing for no reason. We do the like as the chimpanzees do to the baboons, only we do it inter-species. We do blindly and senselessly kill one another—the chimpanzees do not do this to themselves as we do, so who then is better? Maybe this is not a question to ask. I knew an imbecile who used to say that the Nazis were not as bad as the Soviets for this very fact: Germans did not kill Germans the way Russians killed Russians, but then Stalin starving millions of Ukrainians to death was not Russians killing Russians, but I do understand that there were differences in the targeting of the Nazis and the targeting of the Soviets. Whatever, however, wherever, whenever, whichever forever and ever . . . people kill people like rats in a closed box.

You might think that we do this because we view our diversity the way chimps do baboons, but this is not the case. If any examination of the murder statistics collected by the U.S. Department of Justice is made, anyone can see clearly that African Americans kill African Americans and White people kill White people, the former at rate of 96 out of every 100, the latter at a rate of around 80 out of every 100 . . . there about, year by year the United States Department of Justice. For every 100 murders where an African American is the victim, the perpetrator is another African American.

For every 100 murders where the victim is white, the perpetrator is white around 80 times. These are from the 2012 Department of Justice statistics on murder broken down by the categories of race, gender and  ethnicity. I am not putting forward a conservative argument, but a liberal one–murder is murder and the facts are what they are statistically–what then do these stats for murder show us and how are we to use them when the media attempts to drive a Machiavellian wedge between African-Americans and White people by suggesting that we are an endemically racist society whenever it happens that a white person is the perpetrator against an African American who has been murdered? And let me say that I have already taken as a given that truth and accuracy in journalism in America takes a back seat to sensationalizing the news and pandering to received ideas on race and racism.


There are reasons to kill, of course, we should understand this. I was once reminded by a Hasidic Jewish ESOL student that the commandment is not, Thous shall not kill, but Thou shall not murder. And this is the point here. The above ratios are for murder, not killing. We murder not only our own, Homo-sapiens to Homo-sapiens–and I still insist that human is a choice, that human is something a Homo-sapiens can become, is not something he is born, except in potential . . . remembering your Aristotle and how Aquinas used Aristotle in his rationalizations for the existence of God?

We murder more often those who the bureaucracy tells us are our own, yet the media makes the rare occurrence when an African American is murdered by a white person as something seething in our society and indicative of a disturbing problem, which has the effect and perhaps is driven by the only purpose, to divide We the People. African-American murders African-American, Asian murders Asian, White murders White, each murdering another of his own at a rate significantly higher than another other not of his own.

But let me say that I get it, that Black lives matter because Asian lives matter because White lives matter because Italian or Irish lives matter because Muslim lives matter because Hindu lives matter because Sikh and atheist lives matter because guinea, mick, nigger and spic lives matter; Jewish lives matter. Polish lives? Do we want to say that Communist, Fascist and Nazis lives matter? I might hesitate when people say Russian lives matter, but I have to be humane if I am a Humanist. Do we want to say pedophile lives matter? Homosexual lives do matter–and I am straight, at least in sexual orientation. Married and unmarried persons’s lives matter. Children’s lives matter, even bullies? I’ll let it go that cab driver’s lives matter and even snotty waitresses’s lives matter. I’ll even let it go that French lives matter, even the French in Paris, even Parisian waiters (who I did not find as surly as most asshole American tourists say they have—and I’ll even say that an asshole’s life matters). Enough?


Of course, this idea of his own my own our own has to be spread across the bureaucratic and other social barriers built between races and ethnicities, gender, religion, and class. Nonetheless, although I support such moves by our society, I do not have the optimism that others might have. The day we have no consciousness of these distinctions, however, is the day we might have free-for-all murder across all former barriers. The horror of existence might be that as soon as we eliminate all distinctions, we will then broaden the pool from which we choose to murder. Perhaps then we can address hate and murder for what they are, dealing with the place from which they arise; what homo-sapiens motivators are there in our nature—yes, our animal nature as we can talk of a lion’s nature . . . I still cannot understand that if black lives are human lives why I have been told for so long that I do not and cannot understand black people because I am not black—and that I have gotten mostly from white middle-class liberal chicks in academia.

This herein piece is not a corrective against any forward movement toward a less racially and ethnically divisive society, but a satire on our nature as Homo-sapiens, and how feeble our humanity really is in face of the nature we misunderstand and mismanage day in and day out, mostly in academic circles, at least the academic circles I used to move around in; I do hate to say that I have found no one more out of touch, with some few exceptions, than I have in Academia; I know it is a cliché, but sometimes the trite is true.

You take from this what you need, what you can take and use; but then utility must not be the only barometer by which you measure need or is it necessity; de necessitas, I remember from my classical studies, or do I? I think I remember, at least I can say I imagine that I think I can remember, but what then is it to remember as opposed to recollecting? They are not the same? Is that true? Does it not depend on how we define our terms, or is there a tradition of definitions and defining that must be accounted for if we are to accurately say anything at all? How do I recollect this is not with any, what I would call, accuracy—is there any such thing as precision in memory, a morass; memory is at best a morass? Is that true? I cannot say this with any certainty either, although there are things I can know, things I can understand and understand that I know, things I can conclude, logic I can hold and use as others do hammers and nails, screws and screwdrivers, saws, lathes, what else would you need to get something of what I am trying to say? I don’t know what you think independent of what I imagine and I do imagine that you think other than what I expect you to think, my audience is always somehow tethered, in the least, to what I think, what I believe or do not believe but hold as an object of objection or subjection, what it is that I say either for or against or neither for nor against but about, if saying anything about anything or anyone is possible in this world of perpetual doubt, doubt and more doubt. I do not doubt my audience, although I do know that the individual reader is always an exception to the rule of every audience.


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