Chapter 1, the dream (Doctor King speaks to Barry)
Barry Obama was thinking about himself, thinking about the future. He had just graduated from Columbia and knew he needed to finalize a decision about what to do and where to do it. He took another hit, coughed and lay back against his couch.
Thinking always tired him out; it sapped his energy. It was like fueling his massive intellect sucked the energy from his limbs and he just fell limp. Already in a zombie-like state, he just relaxed, let it all go, and in moments, he was sound asleep.
Barry awoke an hour later. He struggled to make the transition from dreams to reality. His eyes were open, but he was having trouble focusing them as he slowly escaped the foggy remnants of the dream.
Wow, what a dream. Swirling visions of Greek columns, a big white house, and the whole world kissing his ass, but the really odd part was the way that things were arranged. All sorts of peculiar things, things that were so different, but arranged so purposefully – so logically – it just worked.
And then it hit him! They weren’t just arranged, they were organized – that’s it, they were organized. Just saying the word warmed his cockles. Organizing, what a great concept!
The more Barry remembered of the dream, the more he began to believe that Martin Luther King himself had produced and directed it. Doctor King actually spoke to him and told him to “Go forth and organize.”
Now Barry had purpose and he had a dream, “organize, that’s what I’ll do – I’ll organize stuff for people, lots of people, maybe even whole communities!” All at once, invigorated and enthused, Barry began to organize his next move.
He found himself humming to the tune of Green Acres, the late sixties TV show. “Chicago is the place for me, organizing is the life for me, communities are spreading out so far and wide, keep Manhattan, just give me Chicago’s South side.”
He would move to Chicago.
Chapter 2, his first day
A month later, Barry had established his home in Chicago. He’d found a place deep in Chicago’s south side, exactly where he felt he needed to be. It was a small apartment off of W. 91st St., nothing fancy but clean. “It’s a start,” he thought, “today, 91st St., tomorrow, a deluxe apartment in the sky – I’m movin’ on up!”
Nothing could stop him now.
This was the morning, the morning of a new beginning. He decided to start if off by going door-to-door in a shabby neighborhood a couple of blocks away. He’d knock on every door and they would welcome him and beg for his services. So much to organize, so little time.
At the first house, he knocked on a rickety screen door. A really large black woman answered the door. “What?”
“Good morning, ma’am, my name is Barack Obama and I’m here to organize your objets d’art, your trinkets, or your bric-a-brac, and I’ll just bet you need organizing.”
“Don’t go talking that sexchul talk to me, ni**a, I’ll kick yo skinny black ass down the street.” She slammed the door hard, the wind blasting him backwards. “Maybe I should’ve asked about her curio cabinet?” he thought.
The next house went better. Another large woman in a robe was more polite, she invited him in. “You is such a handsome young man.” “You look thirsty, honey; I’ll fix you a nice cold drink.” Her robe slipped open a little – a little was enough, there was a lot of her that was trying to ooze out. Fighting back a flight reflex, his instinct was a little too slow and before he could dart for the door, she set a glass of clear liquid in front of him. “Drink up honey,” she cooed. “You’ll like it and we can …” she smiles … “talk.”
“What is it?”
“It’s called a Dew me,” she smiled, “Mountain Dew and Everclear, it’ll perk you right up.”
“Uhhh, ma’am, ahhh uhhh I uhhh do you need uhhh organizing?”
“Oh Lordy, do I evah, Ah needs organizing real bad. I ain’t been organized in a long time.” She moved towards him, the robe slipping a little more, a lot more threatening to tumble out.
That was enough. Barry bolted for the door. His feet didn’t touch the ground until they hit the asphalt of the street. He covered the next 100 meters in record time. He’d rather be the main event at a Klan rally than “organize” that woman. This organizing thing wasn’t going to be easy.
He decided to try one more house before he lost his nerve.
Another knock – another screen door squeaks open. This time it’s a large man (“aren’t there any small people here?” he thought). “Good morning, sir, my name is Barack Obama and I’m here to organize the lady of the house, is she home?”
The man scowled. “Aha!” “So you is dat uppity ni**a been doin my woman, I’m gonna wring yo scrawny-ass neck.” He pushed the door open and reached for Barry. But this time, Barry was ready; he jumped from the porch and went for the gold. He outran three cars and a Harley before stopping at the next street.
Breathless and dejected, he walked, slowly, head down, wondering why he was so misunderstood. He was just trying to help. These folks needed him, they needed his talents. He was the one they’d been waiting for and they didn’t even know it. How sad.
Finally lifting his head, he could see a church steeple a short distance away. He decided to head towards it, maybe he could recharge there.
Though dejected and disillusioned, he trekked on until he happened upon two kids. They couldn’t have been more than eight or nine. One was sitting on a battered Big Wheel trike; the other was leaning against a rickety fence, staring at Barry.
“Hey ni**a, why you dressed like dat?”
Barry was wearing his brand new lime green Costco leisure suit (complete with faux silk tie).
“Because I’m a professional organizer, little brother.”
“I ain’t yo brother, ni**a,” and he grabbed his crotch and shot Barry the finger. At the same time, the Big Wheel kid rammed the bike into Barry’s knee from behind, knocking him to the ground. They both piled on and relieved Barry of his wallet and the four dollars it contained. They were gone by the time he regained his senses and got up.
Barry was now disappointed, dejected, disillusioned, and … mugged.
As a last resort, he stopped at a church. Not a particularly religious man, what could it hurt to sit for a spell? Inside, he sat down in the cool quiet and rested, revisiting his futile attempts to organize anything so far. His first morning was an utter failure.
“Troubled, my brother?” The voice came from behind Barry. He turned and found a smiling black man dressed in an African Dashiki. “I’m the pastor here, Reverend Jeremiah Rhong.”
Barry spilled his guts. On the verge of sobbing, he related his dream, Doctor King’s words, his move to Chicago, and his first morning trying to help people, and being mugged by two nine-year-old street thugs. He was distraught and close to tears.
“It’s not your fault, my brother. “Don’t give up.” “There’s plenty of things that need organizing here.” “You could help me organize last Sunday’s take, … er … collections – you know, count the money (or should that have been Count de Moneť?).
“You could organize radios and rims for Jermaine – he has a parts business. Or, Little Willie could use some organizing of his herbs and medicinal products. There’s lots that needs organizing, I won’t let you give up – you gotta have hope if you want to change people.”
Barry knew that Reverend Rhong was wright right. He had a God-given gift for organizing; he was especially adept at arranging knick-knacks, bric-a-brac, and curios – you know the really important stuff.
”You’re right, I’ve got to fight the good fight, like the ant moving the rubber-tree plant – I’ve got high hopes. Thanks, Reverend – I’ll be sitting in my own pew on Sunday.”
“Baadaye” “That’s ‘see you later’ in Swahili.” Rev. Rhong said as Barry left.
Chapter 3, the independent contractors
Barry felt much better after talking with Reverend Rhong. The reverend was right; he couldn’t give up so easily. The reverend had given Barry the name of someone who could use some organizing and who might help him gain the confidence of the folks in the neighborhood. They were wary of outsiders, especially whites or “bruthas who talked white.”
Heading back to his apartment, he walked until he saw 1710. It was a little nicer than the places he approached earlier. An average middle-class house, the kind you’d expect not far from the church. He stopped and knocked. Barry could see a thin curtain open just a bit as someone peeked out. “Who is it,” a female voice asked.
“My name’s Barack Obama, Reverend Rhong said I should talk to you.” That seemed to satisfy her. Barry could hear lots of unlocking clicks, and finally the door opened. Her name was Laticia Lovewell and she was what the reverend called a working girl, an independent contractor, of sorts.
“You here for business or pleasure”? She asked.
“Uhhh, Reverend Rhong said that you and I might be able to uhhh, help each other.” Barry couldn’t help but notice that, several layers down, deep under all that makeup, she might be pretty. And, from the looks of what she was wearing, she sure could use some organizing.
Laticia slowly looked him over; she bit her lip to keep from laughing at the split-pea-colored suit the john was wearing. No playa would wear an outfit like that; he must be just what he looked like … a brown Pat Boone. “Wonder where his white shoes are,” she thought. “Okay, you can come in.”
Her place looked like a motel room inside, just minimal furniture and no personal items – could have been a Motel Two room except for the four-poster king-sized bed. “Alright, what’s this about”?
“Reverend Rhong said that you and your, ahhh, uhhh, co-workers were having trouble with your management, and he uhhh, thought that I could help you and your uhhh friends get better working conditions, better pay, and better hours by organizing together, like a union.”
“A union”? Laticia laughed. “What do you think I do”? She asked with a sly grin.
“I don’t know – maybe you sew or clean houses or you work in a beauty shop”? Barry really had no idea – he was clueless.
“I’m a professional companion, you know”?
Barry was puzzled and it showed.
“Men pay me and I do things for them; make them feel reeeal good.” How dense could this guy be, she thought. Still not a glimmer of understanding from the nerd.
“I’m a hooker, a ho, now do you understand? I do men for money.”
Oh … a ho? … Barry was speechless. He had never met a “woman of the evening” before and he just didn’t know anything about the commercial market for what she was selling.
So, for the next hour, Leticia explained the facts of “ho’ing” to Barry. She took great delight in going into explicit detail and watching him squirm. It was obvious that this kind of talk made him uncomfortable. He was not a very “sexchul” person.
Finally, he tried to sum up Leticia’s lengthy job description. “So your agent arranges .. er uhhh, appointments for you and takes a portion of your earnings as his ahhh commission, it that right”? Leticia agreed. “But he still gets his commission when you ahhh, er make the sale without his help too”? Again, she agreed. “And he sometimes avails himself of your … er ah … services without paying”? “You got it, honey.”
“And you have a menu of options from which the customer … er, can choose?” “Right.” “And these options have individual prices, but you do offer a … ah uh … volume discount”? “You got it,” Leticia was relieved that the light brown nerd finally got the concept.
“Now, how you gunna ‘organize’ us”?
Barry had never thought of organizing people before. But hey, it just might work. He could organize the girls into size and color, economy or deluxe, mini or super-sized, the list was endless. “Super-size me … say, that would make a really keen marketing slogan.”
“Wow,” again his massive turbo-charged brain was spinning – like slot reels – and the reels were stopping on JACKPOT – JACKPOT – JACKPOT. “I’ll do it,” he almost shouted, “I’ll organize you”! Leticia jumped on that, “Not so fast, brown boy, you don’t get no freebies.” Barack quickly explained what he meant.
“I’ll need to know more about your business plan and staffing and how you handle write-offs, promotional expenses, budgets, that kind of thing.”
Leticia laughed. “You one crazy ni**a.” “We ain’t got none of that stuff, we just do as much as we can as often as we can.” Barry was disappointed, but he couldn’t give up. He’d just have to work around it. They needed change and he needed a plan.
He’d create a Blueprint for Change. That’s the answer.
Barry made arrangements to meet Leticia one week later at the same time, to go over his plans for change.
Chapter 4, Barry’s blueprint for change
He didn’t have much to work with: a calculator, a tired old Commodore 64 computer, a beat-up flip chart retrieved from a trash bin, and an old Smith-Corona manual typewriter (missing an “i” key), but by gum, he had a gift for organizing! He was the one the ho’s had been waiting for!
Barry started a list. Working from notes he made while interviewing Leticia, he listed the girl’s services and their rates. The faces he made whenever he encountered the name of a service in the list and Leticia’s description of what they actually did could have made a hidden camera comedy show. Viewers would have seen confusion when he read the service name and disgust and revulsion when he read the description. Did men really paid for that stuff?
He spent two days with a CPA provided by Reverend Rhong who helped Barry flesh out the business plan for the new venture. He didn’t know anything about business, but he was eager to learn so one day he could demolish the greedy capitalists who profited from it.
After some plain and fancy calculating and ciphering, he compared and analyzed. He even went to the library spent a whole day reading about unions. And he even contacted an attorney referred by Reverend Rhong to be sure that everything was legal (or at least semi legal). The business plan was taking shape. His organizing could work and his plan was shaping up nicely.
There were six employees in Leticia’s little posse, managed by a pimp, er, manager called “Sup Dawg.” Besides Leticia, there was Merrilee Godown, Juana Dumey, Suga Sweet, Amanda Lay, and Geneva Convention. Of course, Barry knew that these were their “professional” names, nom de ho’s as it were.
One thing was clear, Sup Dawg was taking one-third of their earnings for doing little, sometimes nothing, and getting fat on the backs of the girls (so to speak) while the girls were getting the shaft (er … no comment).
They should have health coverage, child care, educational benefits, and retirement – but management was doing what management always does by nature – being greedy capitalists while the employees get screwed (er … no … nevermind).
He compiled his Blueprint for Change, converting his type-written notes into a flip chart presentation. He was ready.
He got to Leticia’s place a little early. This time, she let him in quickly. He set up his flip chart, the top page read simply “CHANGE” in block letters. The other girls showed up right on time and sat down. They didn’t understand why they were there; they only came because Leticia called a meeting. They were skeptical when they saw Obama present – who is the big-eared, nerdy-lookin’ ni**a, and why was he here?
Barry introduced himself and proceeded to explain how he had analyzed their operations, their revenue and expenses. He seemed to grasp the realities of their business. They were impressed. Besides, he was “articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy.”
“Are you ready for a change”? Subdued mumbled answers all around, enthusiastic they were not.
He flipped the CHANGE page up, exposing his title page. The typewritten page read simply,
“Commun ty Therapy Cl n c, LLC.”
Questioning looks from one another traveled around the room – they were puzzled.
“I’m proposing that we set up an operation called Community Therapy Clinic as a nonprofit LLC, a Limited Liability Company. It’ll be a charitable organization, and we, uhhhh, you, will provide therapy services to the male patients.”
The ho’s exchanged quizzical looks.
He flipped to the next page. “Federal and state grant money will pay for an office, social services will cover all of our expenses, and the cash fees for treatments are tax-deductible to your clients since we’re a 501(c)(3).” They still didn’t understand.
“And here’s the cash cow … we’ll bill Medicare and Medicaid for the senior citizens you … uhhh … treat.”
Geneva was first with a comment. “I ain’t doin no old dudes.”
“Hold on, Geneva,” Barry responded, “We can bill Medicare $345 for each treatment of an old dude.” “And they’ll need therapy once a week for six or eight weeks. That means recurring income, that’s change you can count on. $1,380 dollars every month – for each client!”
Geneva’s expression changed to a wide grin. “Ooowee, honey, sign me up!” Geneva would happily learn to “treat” wrinkly old geezers for $1,380 dollars a month apiece.
Suga was next, she wanted to know how much she would make in this new clinic. Suga was a small-sized girl and barely legal. Barry would categorize her as a “Therapist, Un Poco.” Barry happily responded, “I estimate over $100,000 annually for starters, and going up from there.”
Smiles and toothy grins all around.
Pointing to the chart, Barry said “Column 1 is what you charge now.” It showed each girl’s rate for a [CENSORED]. He pointed to column 2 which showed a flat rate of $60. “You mean that I’m, uh, we gonna charge $60 for a [CENSORED]”? “That’s right,” affirmed Barry. He went on to explain the other services and the increased rates – the girls were catching on – enthusiastically. “Honey, I ain’t sure I’m worth that much,” said Juana, grinning from ear to ear.
“Don’t worry Juana, the uhhh, patients won’t pay you, the taxpayers will. And there’s an endless supply of money there just waiting to be tapped. And the government will collect it for us.”
Merrilee wanted to know how the patients would find out about the clinic if Sup Dawg wasn’t pimping soliciting for them. “Reverend Rhong has agreed to let us place advertising in the church bulletin and on their website – for a small monthly offering.” “And we’ll pay a small ‘finder’s fee’ to our outside pimps, ahhh, our outside solicitors.”
“And finally,we’ll join the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and make some campaign contributions to the right people and soon we’ll be designated a ‘Preferred Provider’ by the State of Illinois and citizens will be forced to use our, errr, your services.”
“And, just to make it legal, we’ll have Dr. Chris P. Bacon on staff.” “Dr. Bacon will examine the older men and prescribe a series of therapy sessions and we’ll bill social services or Medicare for the treatments.” The money would all come from racist taxpayers and everyone knew that their supply was endless. This was a way to redistribute some of their excess money to those in need, the neighborhood ho’s.
“Damn, you is smart.” Amamda was of the super-sized persuasion. She would be classified as a “Therapist, Grandé.” She was one of the most “talented” of the stable. It was said, that she had some special talent having to do with a bowling ball and a garden hose (the significance of that talent hadn’t yet dawned on Barry).
Leticia had saved her comments for last. “How can we thank you for organizing our little union?” “You are our Messiah, you are a wonderful man.”
Barry loved adoration, he wore it well. “I know,” he said wisely.
Now that Barry knew the inner satisfaction that came with helping people, he’d be proud to add “community organizer” to his resume.
Since the clinic would be a “health care” related entity, he had thought about calling it ObamaCare, but decided against it – there’s no way that a health care plan called “ObamaCare” would ever be accepted by the white population.
Who knows, maybe one day he could become our first community organizer State Senator, or maybe even a United States Senator, or dare he dream … even our President?
The End … or, was it just the beginning?