Bigot Child

In the Arena; via Amarillo Historical Museum, Facebook

Bigotry. Where it comes from, why it won’t go away no matter how useless and unworthy it proves itself as a way of life. And what to do with bigots, a social problem no less pressing lately than ever. A short parable of an answer to that one shows up in FAMEPUNK.

Nine year-old Bradley Hallorhan enters the novel when heroine Emma Jasohn is on an outlandish tennis exhibition tour of West Texas. The setting is a temporary canvas laid down for a court at Amarillo’s Sports Arena on a spring night in 1988:

The bigot child looked up at Emma through his smudged glasses. He was wearing sneakers, belted shorts, a white short-sleeved dress shirt and a clip-on tie of crimson hue. “You’re from the devil,” he told her.

The father jumped in to add that the family only ever went to church at Easter and Christmas; plus their local school system was very well-regarded. Bradley was an excellent student but an intolerant bigot, his teachers were equally stumped as to the cause.

“Yeah,” said Emma. She regarded the bigot child, which parted its gleaming hair on the left. “Lose the tie,” she ordered.

“No,” replied the bigot child in the spirit of compromise.

Read the whole excerpt from Part 2: Middlemarch here.


The Amarillo Sports Arena was located near the city limits, at the Fairgrounds. Its exterior appears to have inspired not a single photographer before its demolition in 2010; but for a half-century before that it was famed as a professional wrestling venue. The Amarillo Historical Museum has a fine collection of photographs from this era on its Facebook page:

And no visit to Amarillo would be complete without a stop at Cadillac Ranch, just west of town.

Hiroshi Hanamura, 1992; this and night image via Internet Archive & Newberry Library’s James R. Powell Route 66 Postcard Collection