Charles Bukowski


Being the German kid in the 20's in Los Angeles was difficult. There was much anti-German feeling then, a carry-over from World War 1. Gangs of kids chased me through the neighborhood yelling, "Hieneie! Hieneie! Hienie!" They never caught me. I was like a cat. I knew all the paths through brush and alleys. I scaled 6-foot back fences in a flash and was off through backyards and around blocks and onto garage roofs and other hiding places. Then too, they didn't really want to catch me. They were afraid I might bayonet them or gouge out their eyes. This went on for about 18 months then all of a sudden it seemed to stop. I was more or less accepted(but never really) which was all right with me. Those sons-of-bitches were Americans, they and their parents had been born here. They had names like Jones and Sullivan andBaker. they were pale and often fat with runny noses and big belt buckles. I decided never to become an American. My hero was Baron Manfred von Richthofen the German air ace; He'd shot down 80 of their best and there was nothing they could do about that now. Their parents didn't like my parents (I didn't either) and I decided when I got big I'd go live in some place like Iceland, never open my door to anybody and live on my luck, live with a beautiful wife and a bunch of wild animals: which is, more or less, what happened.

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