NYU Black Renaissance Noire Winter 2014 - Page 20

“I want to see the nigger that’ll chunk a brick at a white man,” says Gus. He has the pistol in his belt and is patting the stick of dynamite steadily in his left hand.“Gus wants to see that boy.” The car moves fast. The men pass the bottle around. Nillmon describes the last party he attended in Huntsville. They all listen, devouring with fear and a dark relish the exaggerated details that pour out of Nillmon. They all tremble inside as the cars turns off onto a dirt road along the levee. All except Gus. Nillmon drives the car within a few feet of the first shack. The lights illuminate every weather-worn line in the warping boards. “Alfonso!”Nillmon shouts, standing near the broken step. There is a silence over the whole night. The car stalls and cuts off.Gus jumps out of the car, walks up on the porch, pushes once, twice, on the rickety door which falls as if the light from the headlights had struck it.Dust travels across the plane of light like legions of insects.The shack is empty. The car backs out and then spins out of its own dust. At the second shack they find the same thing.Nillmon snatches up the oily rags. The two younger men light them and hurl them in and under the shack. 18 “Where’d this nigger chunk that rock from?” asks Gus. He lights up a cigarette. The car races down the road. Nillmon spits out the window. “Back up the road by that signboard.” He feels his hands tighten around the steering wheel. “Lights down the road,” says Ed Frickerson. “Hell, I know niggers live up here cause I saw about five or six herdin cows.” “What this nigger look like?” “Like any nigger. Had a nasty tongue. I gotta get me some of him.” They reach the third shack. The outline of the second shack a quarter-mile down the road slowly rises in the flames that leap out of its windows. “Ain’t that a crowd of niggers in front of that church yonder?” asks Ed Frickerson. Nillmon does not look. The headlights of the car strike the doorway of the third shack. A figure stands illuminated there, his hands behind his back as if he is contemplating the situation. It is Fon. “All right, boy!” shouts Nillmon. “I’m back to settle that business tween us.” Gus is out of the car, advancing toward Fon in rapid strides. He holds the pistol in his right hand and the empty bottle in the other. Fon steps off the steps before Gus reaches the shack, and heads toward Nillmon, who is now standing right in front of the headlights. Lighted rags fly through the night. The other men surround Fon. All of a sudden a series of flashes comes from the area of the church. It practically blinds Nillmon.Gus aims the pistol at Fon’s head. They shove Fon into the rear between the two younger men. Gus sits in front. Ed Frickerson, who is sitting behind Nillmon, has collected pieces of glass in an oily rag and tosses the mass in Fon’s lap. The bright light continues to shine and the men instinctively turn away. Nillmon slows as he approaches the structure which seems like an old church. “What you niggers think you’re doin out here?” Ed Frickerson asks Fon. “Those are my brothers,” says Fon. “What I want to know,” says Nillmon, “is who threw that rock.” “It came from the sky.” Gus whirls and strikes at Fon with the bottle, which breaks on the door frame and the glass falls in Fon’s lap. “You are a smart nigger.” He japs the bottle neck at Fon, and the sharp edges dig deeply into Fon’s side. Nillmon slows the car in front of a column of black people. They murmur and stare inside the car. “Keep goin!” shouts Gus.