NYU Black Renaissance Noire Winter 2014 - Page 127

“Then I have to call you out on it, Jeff,” I said. “You have that right, neighbor. This is Comity Grove.” “And I’m one of you, right?” “Of course!” “Then why’d you do it? Why’d you come in my yard and kill my rabbits?” “Bill, why I thought…I don’t know…I guess I didn’t think. I guess I should have asked, but durn it, those rabbits got the best of me!” How could I ask him if he came in my yard, because I was a black man and this was Comity Grove and I was here by the grace of my good white neighbors? “Invitation to get a beer is always open, Bill.” As soon as I got in the house, I told Janice that Jeff had admitted to shooting the rabbit, but the boys had done the rest. “I have to figure out what I’m going to do, if I’m not going to push the golden triangle, and if I’m going to live in a real place, in real time.” “Bill, you’re not making sense.” “I know, but I soon will be. Give me time to sort things out. Comity Grove is our home, we just have to keep making it our home.” “Bill, don’t take anymore of those pills. They make you…I don’t know.” “Prexylated?” “Whatever!” Janice shook her head and retreated to the bedroom to make some phone calls, and I stepped out on the porch. The sky was darkening, as if someone put it on a dimmer switch. Before I sat down, I reached in my shirt pocket, guiltily pulled out my crumpled cigarette pack and pressed it with my fingertips. Last one. My father had understood the world in neater terms, and he worked in neighborhoods like the one I lived in now, but he spent his real life in Grove in Williamsburg. He raised me to respect the land and all things of the land, but to identify with the people… the people. Where did I live? Where did I really live, and who were my people? “Tomorrow,” I thought, “tomorrow, I’m going to get that nicotine patch and keep it on, and I’m going to tell Janice that I changed my mind, that I’m taking that job in Cleveland, but…my father didn’t move. Yes, but they’re killing rabbits! Yes, but they’re just boys on bikes. Yes, but Jeff did, too, and it was my yard, and he didn’t ask me, goddamnit! And what’s so different about Cleveland? I reached in my pocket for a lighter and pulled out a bottle of Prexylin. Decided to skip a dose. See how things went. It wasn’t long before the rabbits appeared on the grid. By the end of the summer, they would all be gone. Blue rabbits. Was the darkness playing tricks? Silver rabbits. There and there and there. Vanishing. BLACK RENAISSANCE NOIRE “No, I shot the rabbit in your yard. I heard they got one, no two in the Skerretts’ yard.” He winked at me and and tipped an imaginary hat. 125 “So that’s who shot ‘em?“