Nat Rat Anthems by Yusuf DeLorenzo

“Fear of Muslims is rational.” — One-Time National Security Advisor General Flynn

Among the mortar and bricks, and covered with dust like everyone else, is the old man known to the other Nat Rats as Abdullah Abdullah. The mortar and bricks, like the Nat Rats and Abdullah Abdullah himself, are there for the Wall. The Nat Rats are there to build it, and the mortar and bricks are there to be it. Abdullah Abdullah thinks if he can’t create with his chalk and charcoal and pencils, though he’s dying to lay some graffiti down on that Wall, then the least he can do is rap while all the building and fearing are going on around him. If the Angels and the Stewards of the National Rational Fear Registry facilities think otherwise, Abdullah Abdullah thinks that’s their problem. He also praises the Lord he doesn’t even begin to think like they do.

Abdullah Abdullah works on the Wall with Bilhaj, another Nat Rat Fear Faither. Bilhajj is not exactly a socializer, but the opportunities for conversation and making friends inside the National Rational Fear Containment Facility are few and far between. The segregation of the sexes, ostensibly done in keeping with the teachings of the cancerous religion itself, is a further obstacle to normal human interaction. While many of the Fear Faithers are allowed to live as families, boys with fathers and grandfathers, and daughters with mothers and grandmothers, single Fear Faithers, especially artists like Abdullah Abdullah are accommodated in cells of modest proportions.

Regardless of the Fear Faither’s status, however, all Fear Faither males over the age of thirteen years are required to assist in the building of the Wall. It is this last circumstance that leads Abdullah Abdullah to compose the following work song for his brother Fear Faithers who toil on the Wall:

      Well, come on all of you, Muslim men,

      The Trumpeter needs your help again.

      He’s got himself in a heck of a brawl,

      Way down yonder at the Southern Wall.

      So park your Korans and pick up a brick

      We’re working for a lunatic!

      And it’s One, two, three, four, what are we building for?

      Don’t ask me ’cause I don’t know,

      We’re walling up Mexico!

      And it’s Five, six, seven, eight, we’re closing up all the gates.

      Well, this ain’t no time for joking, hear.

      Whoopee! We got the Rational Fear!

Bilhajj hasn’t much of a voice, or even a knack for keeping a tune, but he does enjoy listening to Abdullah Abdullah rap when they are led to the Wall just after sunup for another day of laying bricks.

Bilhajj was a part of a rebar team when he first arrived at the facility. It may be that the Registry officials noted in a file that Bilhajj was a structural engineer in the fearsome life he lived before the Greatness overspread the country. Anyway, when the steel industry couldn’t keep up its rebar production, or maybe when it was when the National Rational Fear Registry ran out of money to pay for the expensive American steel, Bilhajj was transferred to brick duty as an Assistant Cement Mixer.

Just his luck, he was paired with Abdullah Abdullah.

      

*

 

Abdullah Abdullah wants only to rap to his beats in peace if he can’t put his charcoal to paper, or chalk to the Wall. Still, he’s happy enough to have a receptive audience.

“Salam, brother Nat Rat!” That’s what he says to Bilhajj on the day they meet.

“I tell you the same damned lies I tell myself, my brother! But never the ones I tell to another,” Abdullah Abdullah announces in a peculiar voice, not really his own, but one thickened with an unhealthy dose of dust. He scrapes his trowel before picking up another red brick.

“Outlandish lies and untruths. Not little white lies. Not half truths baked like apple pies, full up of Great American surprise.”

Abdullah Abdullah, rumor in the facility has it, was once an artist in chalk and charcoal. Now he’s the best bricklayer on the Wall. Even if he’s older than any of the other Nat Rats, the National Rational Fear Registry detainees, he definitely does more than his share of work, rapping to the pounding of Nat Rat hammers.

      Entertaining lies, edifying lies,

      Lies as high’s the skies.

      Tall tales that lead to disaster,

      Tales to tell your master,

      Ain’t nothing like lies! Believable cries!

      Can’t help it if they be like that.

      Believe ’em, you own ’em.

      Shit’s just like that.

The Angels at the facilities decided in no time they’d have nothing to do with the dirty old man, Abdullah Abdullah. He’s crazy and unsavory, both a Fear Faither and an artist, and they’re there in response to the religious needs and sensitivities of the female detainees anyway. (Though it never stops them from getting up in the business of the men.) The Stewards, however, have no such excuse to avoid contact with Abdullah Abdullah.

For a time the Stew, as they are called by the Nat Rats, debated the pros and cons of referring the old man to a more extreme sort of rehabilitation, a Great Again facility. If it was obvious that the man’s attempts at singing and rapping possessed little of the patriotism required of detainees, much less talent or ethnic authenticity, it was also obvious that his presence was a factor in his particular group’s superior productivity, and one they were responsible for. Also, while the man was oblivious to fundamental Christian authority, he was a factor, despite the messages in his lyrics, in the maintenance of order amongst the detainees. So, what would it be, they wondered? Would they keep him or would they send him for Patriotic Rehabilitation at a Great Again facility?

They recommended Abdullah Abdullah be interviewed, yet again, by another committee.

In the redacted transcript, National Rational Fear Registry Subject, the artist and Fear Faither renegade Abdullah Abdullah was asked about his loyalty to the Great American State. The record shows that the subject replied by singing/reciting a composition of his own called “A Great American State of Mind,” which included the following lyrics:

      Mexicans like to get away

      Take a holiday where the raping’s good.

      Hop a fence to my hometown or my neighborhood.

      But I’m building a Wall on the southern borderline.

      I’m in a Great American State of mind.

 

*

 

The sun is no more than a pink and gray splash hovering over the cactus and scrub on the eastern horizon. The two Fear Faithers embrace and whisper greetings of peace under their breaths as they do so. Another day on the Wall has begun.

“So, what you got today, Brother Abdullah Abdullah?”

“Nothing but a song, Brother Bilhajj. A song and a prayer.”

 

 

 

 

Yusuf DeLorenzo knows he shouldn’t be, but he’s angry, disappointed, even ashamed. In such a state, one is tempted to say things one might later regret. He’s been around long enough to understand as much about himself. But he also knows he’ll never be old enough to know better. If the abrasive dismay he feels is giving off little sparks, it is in the form of the flash fiction piece, “Nat Rat Anthems,” that he presents to you today.

 

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One Response to “Nat Rat Anthems by Yusuf DeLorenzo”

  1. Linda Sweet says:

    This poetic prose as a way of giving truth to a subject sparked by experience from the inside out. We can all learn from this poetry, and we should.

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