This post is part of the America Street series. If the street name rings familiar, it was a song by Edwin McCain back in the ’90s. He took it from a street on Charleston’s East Side. A couple of blocks from my new green door. Maybe it’s a mirror of America. Maybe it isn’t. Click here to read the series from the beginning.
Daddy couldn’t understand it. He pulled his dual triggers with his fat finger, felt the kick of the gun in his shoulder, saw the shot rain over the inside of that colored church, obliterating the sight of his seed with that……that…….
He was confused. What was he doing here again? The balcony supports lurched in his vision, splayed sideways. He watched his shotgun hang disembodied above the sanctuary floor below, and he was inexplicably following it. Floating. It was only when the floor rose up to meet his heft, in the split second before his bones cracked on impact, that he realized he fell.
Everything was quiet. Was he dead? He tried to breathe and felt a chasm in his chest, a spreading hole where one of his lungs was lacerated by a bullet. Every gasp radiated hot pain around his body in waves. How did I go an’ shoot myself? How the hell did I end up on this floor?
Nobody offered an answer to his unspoken questions. Instead, a shadow advanced, obliterating the bulb light overhead. It was practically upon him when it stopped.
Did Loretta already have that bastard baby? Am I looking at a colored version of myself?
Bile rose in his throat, mixed with blood. He swallowed, but another flood took its place.
“I tole you, Paw Paw. That lady. She be in trouble. I tole you, didn’t I, Paw Paw? Is this what you meaned when you said ‘kill’?”
The boy stood there, twisting back and forth with his black hands behind his back. Did this here BABY shoot me?
Behind him, another figure materialized from shadow. Hulking and grey. Eyes of charcoal that burned with hate. Eyes he knew.
“Yeah. This is what be, Suh. Your own cigar plant foreman done shot you. You no-good-bully-Klan loving-colored killing-racist piece of white supremacist shit. I seen yo’ daughter runnin’ thew, and I knowed what that all was ’bout.” He stopped and swept his eyes over the space. “Anybody gonna report me if I finish him off?”
Daddy listened for the seconds to tick off the church clock in the tower, but nothing met his ears. No protest. No movement. No ticking clock.
He forgot the colored church didn’t have one, right before the sound of gunfire deadened his ears for all time.