NYU Black Renaissance Noire NYU Black Renaissance Noire Vol 17.2: Fall 2017 - Page 118

excerpt Chapter Two From The Terrible Fours, Book 3 of the Apocalyptic Books By Ishmael Reed As in the case of other failing Western institutions, a Black person was chosen to rescue the Vatican, like Bobby McFerrin rescued a symphony orchestra, and Barack Obama postponed the fall of the American Empire. Black mayors were elected to run cities abandoned by industries and money. In Europe and the United States, people were leaving the Catholic Church by the thousands, but church attendance was soaring in Africa and South America. These examples weren’t lost on some of the more enlightened Cardinals of the Catholic Church. Now, the College of Cardinals, those left after the arrests, had selected a Black Cardinal from New York to ascend to the papacy. He was opposed by the Cardinals from the Right, but given the state of the Catholic Church and the decline of the Church in Europe and the United States, the rise of worshippers in Africa and South America wasn’t lost on the Cardinals. They decided to recognize these new worshippers by electing one of their own. He owned two miracles. When visiting a Catholic hospital in New York, he was taken on a tour of the morgue. As he passed a corpse lying on a table, the corpse rose and kissed his hand. The man who had been declared dead got dressed and went home. The only problem was that the man who had been revived began to stalk the Cardinal. Not exactly stalked, but showed up wherever the Cardinal appeared. Rushing toward him to kiss his hand. The Cardinal had to get a restraining order. Next, he walked into the midst of gunfire between two rival gangs. Bullets were flying at him from all directions, but none struck him. So impressed were they with his example, the gang members dropped their weapons and joined the Catholic Church. He’d taken over from a Cardinal who had been demoted to Bishop for his attraction to extravagant living. An eight-bedroom, 10,000 square-foot manor house on seven lakefront acres with a private tennis court, outdoor pool, and 70-foot indoor lap pool that resembled a Venetian canal. 58 “Yeah, yeah,” uttered almost under her breath like the wisp of air that spun sand across the sagebrush captured in her view, “but not sure I wish I did,” and “…I didn’t know cactus grew so big.” “Or go home and beat your woman?” “True, that too. Taking out what you can not face inside on her, your kids. You only see yourself on the bottom sitting on the other side of the bootlegging, the fix, and the take. All that makes you bitter, mean, and worse, until you make a choice from a bag or numbers man. A hustler or a scab and cross the strike line, or just up and disappear. Desert your family. Exit the whole scene with your insides already packed to go.” Beads of sweat gathered down to his brow again, as the sky cut a dark orange streak from infinity. “And so our choices on the outside may be, at best, being a Pullman on the train. A Colored girl a teacher. All the while a European immigrant arrives ragged and hungry to the tune of Lady Liberty ‘…give me your tired, your poor…’ and all that, but they wind up with choices of a promised freedom, even if it is just the mines, the factories, the mill, the stores, the banks. If not that, then the racket, policemen, firemen, mayors to presidents, Hollywood, the unions. But what is that freedom to them on the inside? That kind of inside must be chock full of fear knowing nothing is honest in it.” Wiping the moisture from his forehead, “Those who manage any real comfort in it either stop or mostly hide, but maybe some never did lie to themselves, all the time just wondering who paid for it, like it was just due them. Soon enough, they know no more about or question history than some of us do. The lies became myth long before they got here, and the master and slave dance together on that big invisible stage. Inside, honey-girl, is the one who draws the curtain.” “And all the blood that comes down with it,” Easter drawled, as she blinked, having subconsciously admired a cactus flower in the near distance. “No, let us not forget about the blood, all the blood.” “I don’t just mean death blood but life blood. All the nurturin’ and raisin’ and takin’ care of blood. I can’t see a woman who just had her own child taken away that she’s never gonna see again…Carin’ for, and I mean carin’ for, another child better than its blood mother ever could. That’s the kind of blood I mean, Joe.” “Yes…” his eyes tightening upon the bleeding highway, didn’t speak for a moment, as the sky infinitesimally lightened up more and more of the road ahead of them. “All the more reason, I suppose. But the one leading the dance right now is more desperate than those who follow his steps. I think, sometimes, the mystery is even deeper for him, because the fear of losing what he has and how he really got it is worse than the hell we withstand not having it. Yes, inside there might be a kind of blessing in not being able to lose what you never had. Do not get me wrong. I do not mean human decency or justice but the only freedom that is true liberty that does not cost another’s blood. Some other people’s lives and gods, tongues and mothers.” Easter lowered her nude foot from the dashboard, folded arms across, below her breasts, and leaned over against his shoulder. “That’s guilt that needs a different name. Another word?” And cut her eyes up at Joe, whose eyes stayed beamed down the nearly completely bright highway. “You mean his? Inside?” “Yeah, where that kind of hypocrisy must slowly eat away at him,” snuggling up under his right arm making Joe drive with one hand. “Something missing with that kind of conscience, but maybe what you just said, the blood. 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