von Nadine Theiler
- Englisch-Aufsatz (LK 12)
With the ostensible intention of introducing Delaney to Dominick Flood, another resident of Arroyo Blanco and a client of his, Jack Jardine picks up Delaney at night. But having arrived at Flood’s house after a short walk, Delaney notices that there are already eight other neighbours present, only four of whom he recognizes. When Dominick Flood himself welcomes him, however, and expresses appreciation of Delaney’s journalistic work, his guest is immediately set at ease by the host’s praise, and begins to relax.
Yet, what has appeared to be an untroubled social gathering for the first hour then turns into a discussion about burglary and security matters:
Jim Shirley, who first rises to speak, suggests acquiring ex-directory numbers as a possible measure to prevent break-ins. A lot of thefts, he explains, follow a common procedure: The burglars get an address out of the phone book, ring the residents to ensure they are not at home, disguise as gardeners and are eventually let pass by the gate guard, since they are able to name the exact place they are allegedly going to work at.
Having expressed agreement with Shirley’s ideas, Jack Jardine brings the conversation round to the general security situation. In spite of the already set up gate, he argues, the community still is too vulnerable to attacks from outside. By referring to a recent act of violence in Arroyo Blanco, namely the assault on an old woman, which Jim Shirley then retells in detail, Jack supports his statement.
As a reaction and originally intending to quip, Delaney unconsciously expresses what everybody has silently been thinking about already: They are planning to erect a wall around Arroyo Blanco, in order to close all remaining unattended entries to the community. It is only when his remark fails to meet the expected response that he realizes he has just named the meeting’s actual purpose.
When, in the course of the evening, coffee and cake are served, the atmosphere settles down. After a brief small talk, though, Jack Jardine returns to more serious subjects, by inquiring about the labour exchange’s whereabouts. Proudly and with feigned modesty, Dominick Flood reports that the measures he has taken have been successful and the labour exchange will be closed shortly.
After that, the discussion centres on the issue of immigration, taking on an increasingly racist tone. Whereas Bill Vogel complains about concessions like the labour exchange, which attract too many Hispanic immigrants, Jack Cherrystone accuses them of taking away jobs from the Californian citizens, holds them responsible for most of the crimes, committed in California, and eventually even frankly offends the Mexican immigrants.
The host, however, is obviously extremely pleased with the course of the debate, apparently regarding the previous racist outburst as praise and approval of his own actions.