Compassion Zone Putas Downtown Kansas City


There are putas from time to time in the Compassion Zone, barely two blocks away from the historic Metropolitan Kansas City Police Headquarters.
Last winter I encountered ‘Pedro’ near the Diamond Shamrock. He was panhandling while his puta worked a customer in the big back seat of his dilapidated Lincoln. He also uses the car to deal drugs at the gas pumps from time to time. Maybe he has been busted or went somewhere else more lucrative as I have not seen him around for awhile. But there are usually a puta or two available at any time on the next block east, at the Cherry Inn Motel.
Besides Pedro’s puta, I perceived a plethora of virtual putas inside the Shamrock one Sunday morning – I dropped by at 7 o’clock as usual to buy a cup of coffee, a chocolate muffin, a copy of the Sunday paper. The store was deserted but for the cashier and a grizzly old fellow, who was warming up under the pretense of shopping – on Sunday, people do not drift into the Shamrock from the shelters and half-way houses to get their whiskey and play the numbers until around 9 o’clock.
A man, poorly dressed, short, with black hair, about thirty years of age, burst into the store in an agitated state.
“Call the police! I’ve been mugged!”
“Where?” asked the cashier.
“Right outside! Right there! A Mexican guy mugged me.”
“I’m a Mexican too,” the clerk responded – I thought the Mexican references were rather odd.
“Hurry up, he’ll get away, he took my wallet.”
“I’m calling now,” said the clerk, phone in hand.
“No good to call them, they won’t do anything,” said the grizzly old man, butting in. “I’m an Indian, veteran of the Korean war….”
“You don’t know nothing. You aren’t the police,” said the Mexican.
“I’m an Indian and a veteran of the Korean War, and I’m telling you, it does no good to call the police here, they won’t help you even if they come,” the Indian declared.
“Leave me alone, puta!” the Mexican was getting really hot under the collar.
“Don’t you call me a puta, you puta!” yelled the Indian.
“Puta!” the Mexican yelled and spit on the floor.
“Puta!” the Indian responded.
The cashier spoke to the police and hung up the phone. The angry exchange between the Mexican and the Indian continued, but it did not phase the cashier one bit. It was an ordinary event for the Shamrock in the Compassion Zone. That’s why we refer to it fondly as the S—- rock. It’s the only place open when the sidewalks are rolled up and almost everybody goes back to the burbs after work. Some people who live in the area want it torn down since it attracts vagrants and predators. As far as I’m concerned, it should stay, more people should move into the area, more stores should be opened up, and maybe the cops will look after the neighborhood around their headquarters then.
Anyway, having had enough of the childish but amusing exchange, I left behind another flurry of hot putas and exited into the frigid morn.

April 29, 2004
Downtown Kansas City, Missouri


Spitting Outside the Heart of American Compassion Zone



April 05, 2004

As I was waiting for a bus in front of Time Equities’ City Center Square on Main Street, I noticed a low-browed man spitting all over the place at regular ten-second intervals.”Just look at that man,” said an elderly woman standing next to me. “Why, I’ll be, what is the world coming to.”

“I think it’s a cultural thing, or maybe he chews tobacco or is one of those oversalivators,” I replied, mentally noting that the latest glob of spittle was relatively clear in color.

“He’s spitting everywhere, over the curb, on the sidewalk, here comes a bus – he’ll spit on that. It’s awful. He has no manners.”

“He needs a spittoon,” I suggested. By that time the man seemed to know he was the subject of our conversation: he looked at us, his brow jutting out over his eyes in a Neanderthalian frown, then moved a few feet away to sit on the bench, spitting all the while.

“It’s vulgar. Things are getting worse and worse. What will they come to?” she asked.

“The apocalypse, of course. This reminds me of what Diogenes did.”

“Who is he? A spitter?”

“The Cynic. Yes.”

“Where did he spit?”

“In a rich man’s face.”

“I’ll be! Whatever for?”

“That’s what the man asked. A nobleman invited Diogenes into his home and took him on a tour, showing him the fine furnishings, the nicely tiled floors, the clean walls, and so on. Then Diogenes spit in his face. ‘Why did you spit in my face?’ the nobleman asked. ‘Because there was nowhere else to spit,’ replied Diogenes.”

“Why, I’ll be!” said the lady and boarded the Country Club bus.

Paris in Kansas City

Paris in Kansas City
by David Arthur Walters
A Kansas Citian proudly stated to me today that Kansas City is properly hailed as “The Paris of the Plains.” I had not heard that appellation before but I was willing to consider the comparison because I love French Fries and hate Texas Toast. I see very little of Paris in downtown Kansas City, but I suppose Country Club Plaza has French flavors. You see, I have never been to my favorite city, Paris, which I imagine to be quite wonderful to this very day, notwithstanding the rumour that American tourists who cannot speak French are charged double for everything there. In any case, the mention of Paris prompted me to think again about the July Revolution of 1830, and I found these notes in my trusty old plastic briefcase:

“No more chambers, no more journals , no more liberty of the press,” cried a postilion of the events in Paris, I had noted. Charles X had signed the Orders in Council, or “crimes against the Charter” as they were called by the revolutionaries, and they had been duly published in the official organ, the Moniteur, on 26 July, 1830 – I recall they were published after a brief delay due to a certain compunction on the publisher’s part – as if they were a routine royal release. “General stupor” was the public’s initial response to the news. The first sign of consternation came from the bourgeoisie. Journalists assembled “tumultuously” in the office of the National. They observed that “the people made no stir” over the momentous deprivation of crucial rights. A Petition was drafted and signed in protest of the Orders, which were in effect a royal coup d’etat, pleading that the Orders violated the Charter.

The original Charter of 1815 was originally vague and had been modified over the years to include hard-won specific rights, such as liberty of the press, but now the reactionary King wanted the Charter to be strictly construed, hence his order nullified the modifications.

A few stones were hurled at the chief minister’s carriage. Some journals submitted to the Orders, but the Globe, the National, and the Temps did not comply. Louis Blanc, who would play a major role in the Revolution of 1848, had this to say about the reactionary police orders in his The History of Ten Years 1830-1840:

Journalists hurried from manufactory to manufactory, and from shop to shop, to read them aloud and comment on them. Individuals in the dress, and with the manners and appearance of men of fashion, were seen mounting on stone posts, and holding forth as professors of insurrection; whilst students, attracted from their quarter of town by the appetite for emotion natural to youth, paraded the streets, armed with canes, waving their hats, and crying, Vive la Charte!


The men of the people, cast in the midst of a movement they could not comprehend, looked on with surprise at all these things; but gradually yielding to the contagion of the hour, they imitated the bourgeoisie, and running about with bewildered looks, they shouted as others did, Vive la Charte!
Kansas City, Missouri 2003