A joke

Three Mexicans and an Englishwoman walk out of a bar. A guy walks past and asks for a cigarette. He doubles back: ‘No son de aquí ¿verdad?’

‘De dónde eres?’

‘Guatemala. ¿De dónde son?’

A moment’s confusion. Then, in flawless American English, the guy says: ‘You’re not from here. You should go back home’.

The Englishwoman smothers a giggle.

‘Think it’s funny?! Well y’all come to DC and have a great time, but then you don’t know what’s going on at the end of this street, or at the end of that street! Y’all should just fucking go back where you came from!’

No one can believe their ears. Joking, one of the Mexicans begins flexing his (unsubstantial) muscles. The Guatemalan (-American?) puffs out his chest and, slowly and deliberately, removes his jacket, squaring up to the Mexican (who stands some two inches taller than him).

The Guatemalan shoves the Mexican in the chest. ‘You wanna fuck with me?!’

The Englishwoman jumps in: ‘Tranquilo! Calm down. That’s enough’.

The Guatemalan stares. ‘You’re different. I detect an accent. Where are you from?’

‘England’.

‘England! I’ve been there, I know England. You’re different! I’m talking to you now – just you – because I can feel a connection between us, ok? I just hate it when these people come here! They should all just fucking leave’.

More confusion. The Mexican dusts himself down; his friend shouts ‘But I’m from Switzerland!’; and the Englishwoman reflects on whether or not to point out that she too is an immigrant, and hasn’t the foggiest idea of what is going on at the end of the street either. Next thing, two Latinas march over and bustle the Guatemalan into a taxi.

Se rompió una taza y cada quien para su casa.

***

One night later.

Three Mexicans, an Englishwoman and a Mexican-American walk out of a bar. They chat loudly in Spanish and try in vain to flag down a cab. A few metres away, an American is listening in with interest.

Finally, the American approaches the group. ‘Where are y’all from? I heard y’all speaking in Spanish, and, well, some of my friends are Dominicans and I like listening to them talk and practising my Spanish…’

‘We’re Mexicans’.

‘I’m from Michigan’.

‘I’m English’.

‘Mexicans! Um, I mean, mexicanos, right? Cool!’ He smiles, tentatively. The Mexican-American rolls her eyes and turns her back, pointedly. ‘And what about you – so, you’re from Michigan?’

She turns back: ‘From the University of Michigan. Look, I’m so sick and tired of people asking me what I am. I’m human, ok?’.

He looks taken aback. ‘Oh… right. But Michigan, though… Look, I have a stars tattoo for Detroit’. He displays his forearm.

The atmosphere is as cool as the night air.

‘OK, well, it was nice talking to you. Have a good night’. He turns and walks off, across the street.

***

Did you get the punchline?

Me neither.

_________________________________________________________________________

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