I realized that this is what so often happens when we come face to face with some unimaginable horror: we run for help, but no one believes us. No one believes how many species are disappearing, how many prisoners are being tortured, how many women are being broken by self-important men.
A Special Sunbeams Supplement
On September 11, 2001, our staff gathered around a radio and listened incredulously to the news that terrorists had attacked the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Someone rushed home to get an old TV. We fashioned an antenna from a coat hanger, and through the snow and static emerged the images that would grow so appallingly familiar in the days to come.
An Interview With Kevin Bales
Slaves are so cheap that they’re not even seen as a capital investment anymore: you don’t have to take care of them; you can just use them up and throw them away. Human beings have become disposable tools for doing business, the same as a box of ballpoint pens.
I knew Seymour owed money because I’d heard snatches of tense conversations from the bedroom, and I felt the aura of fear about loan sharks that surrounded my stepdad — and now, by association, my family. I kept a sharp eye out for swarthy men in suits and sunglasses carrying Louisville Sluggers.
My mother, Ruth, is a flower closing. Her belly button is the center, the point around which the collapse occurs, limbs drawing in. Her shoulders are compressed forward. There is the hump of her upper back. The matching curl of her knees when she sits in her wheelchair or lies on her side in bed. The pale feet, which she cannot move. At the center of her body, death is pulling on a cord, gathering her in and down.
The girls who poured my father’s gin-and-tonics were slim, brown-eyed beauties, quick to wipe up his spills, freshen his drinks, and smile at his wisecracks. They looked nothing like him, and they asked for nothing from him. Maria worked in the city bar, where my father drank in the afternoons, and Debbie worked in the suburban bar, where my father drank in the evenings.