Thursday, November 19, 2020

The Kid Who Wasn’t There, Part 2 of 2 Parts

dontravis.com blog post #473

 Photo Courtesy of uplash.com 


If anyone noticed the change in the numbering above, it’s because the web site told me of all the posts I’d not counted. So I brought it up to date.

 

Last week Noah Bainbridge, a dedicated loner, was flabbergasted to discover he’d fallen in love with John Llewellyn, a handsome jock he’d been tutoring in Algebra. JL, as he was known by his peers, had been slowly socializing the shy kid, so perhaps his infatuation was inevitable. But what does Noah do now? Let’s find out.

****

THE KID WHO WASN’T THERE

 When I figured out what was happening, my first instinct was to quit tutoring him. He was far enough along in Algebra, so he’d probably pass the class without any more help. But somehow, I couldn’t get the words past my lips, so I kept on working at Algebra with him. But my problem grew. I found myself watching his basket more and more. I got distracted by the way his buns moved when he walked, the muscles in his legs flexing, biceps rolling when he moved his arms. How alive I felt when we were alone together. How I had to hide the way I reacted to him. Sitting side by side at his little writing desk was the worst. Sometimes we brushed shoulders when he reached over to put a finger on an equation or to indicate a place in the text. Part of me would react every time, and I figured he noticed once or twice, but he never said a word.

At school, I didn’t feel so invisible because JL would say “Hi,” or give me a friendly punch on the arm, and the other kids started talking to me, as well. I felt like a regular guy…, except for how I felt about him.

One day, after we finished our lesson and collected our sodas, he made for the garage to dig out his baseball and some gloves so we could give that game a shot. When he turned his back and bent over a trunk, something—I don’t know what, a thrill maybe—shot through me and ended up in my groin. I had to swallow hard a couple of times or I would have drooled. After rummaging around a minute he flipped a baseball over his shoulder, and I scrambled to catch it.

When I turned back, he was standing facing me with a couple of gloves in his hand. “Not bad, especially when you weren’t expecting it. We’ll make a jock out of you yet, Noah.”

Embarrassed by my condition, I clasped my hands in front of me. Had he noticed?

“Tell me something, guy.” He paused. “How come I never see you with a girl? Don’t you like girls?”

“S-sure. They’re okay.”

“Okay? They’re what it’s all about.”

“Really?”

“Man, there’s nothing like cuddling up with a chick. You ever done it.”

I felt my cheeks flame. “N-no.” Damn, the stutter was back.

“Didn’t think so. You want me to fix you up with a date?”

“No!” The word held a bit of panic.

“How about the other?”

“W-hat other?”

He shrugged his broad shoulders. “You know, with a guy.”

My whole face was burning now. I shook my head so hard I about fell over.”

“How about that. Eighteen years old and still a virgin.”

I nearly drowned in mortification. I needed to get out of there, but my feet wouldn’t move. Not one step.

A grin crawled over JL’s lips. “You wanna try it?”

My mouth opened, but nothing came out. Not even a stutter.

He groped his fly and shook it. “It’s feeling a little frisky. Like it wants out. That okay?”

I swallowed and licked my lips. “I-I don’t care.”

He hooked his thumbs over the waistband of his sweats and tugged. He wasn’t wearing jockeys, so everything spilled out. Wow! There sure was a bunch of everything. And it started to grow.

His smile widened, making him so handsome I could hardly stand it. “Come on over here.”

Those same feet that betrayed me before now scooted over so I was standing right in front of him. He moved his hands away.

“Go ahead. Feel.”

“What about your folks?”

He dropped his hands on my shoulders. “They’re gone for a while. Go on, touch me.”

Wow! It was even better than I dreamed. He throbbed and grew bigger when I took him in my hand. I started getting damp down there. I moved my fist back and forth.

He closed his eye. His face took on a dreamy look. “Feels good. Better than I thought.”

“I-it does?”

“You’re stuttering, Noah.”

“Y-yeah. Nervous.”

“Don’t get nervous. Get serious.”

He pressed on my shoulders and my weak knees dumped me on the concrete with those private parts right in front of me. When he pulled me forward, I didn’t resist. I just opened my mouth and let him take over.

I was getting with the program in a big way when a loud voice scared the crap out of me. JL pushed me away, and I went over on my butt to spot Mr. Llewellyn standing in the door looking like he was ready to kill.

“What the hell’s going on here?” he roared.

Stuffing himself back in his pants, JL glanced at me before he turned to his father. “N-nothing. I-I thought you went with mom.”

“John, you get in the house and go to your room. Stay there until I say different. You ought to know better than to let some little queer get to you.” Red-faced, he turned on me. “And you, you get out of my house and don’t ever come back. I’ve a good mind to call your father. Now get out!”

Mortification almost rendered me helpless, but when he took a step forward, I scrambled to my feet, jerked open the big garage door, and fled down the street. Out of sight of the Llewellyn house, I grew lead footed. Each step was a struggle. Oh God! What would my dad say? What would he do? And my mom, she’d know about it too. Why couldn’t I just die!

 

 I lived in dread and fear and terror for the next three days, but Mr. Llewellyn never called my father. Still, I imagined my parents knew everything about everything. I felt as small as an insect every time I went to school because I figured everyone there knew about it. If JL didn’t blab it, they could probably figure it out just by looking at me. Surely, “school queer” was burned right across my brow.

What hurt most was JL wouldn’t talk to me. I desperately wanted to know what happened after I left the garage that day, but any time I got near, he bolted. And then the kids who’d started chatting with me dropped off, one by one. It wasn’t long before I recaptured that old feeling. Like I was the kid who wasn’t there.”

 ****

As I indicated last week, this story is loosely based on what happened to a kid I’ll call Noah here whom I knew a long time ago. He saw fit to confide in me, but by the time we spoke, the incident was known all around the school. His family moved away shortly after that, but I believe it was because his father was transferred. A fortunate transfer that was. I’ve often wondered if Barry recovered from the trauma of that experience to face who he was and learn to hold his head up and be proud. If any of you feel the need to share similar experiences, feel free.

Now my mantra: Keep on reading and keep on writing. You have something to say, so say it!

The following are buy links for my BJ Vinson mystery The Voxlightner Scandal. The next one, The Cutie-Pie Murders,

Dreamspinner: https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/the-voxlightner-scandal-by-don-travis-11285-b

DSP Publications: https://www.dsppublications.com/books/the-voxlightner-scandal-by-don-travis-537-b

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Voxlightner-Scandal-Vinson-Mystery-Book-ebook/dp/B07VL33P99

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-voxlightner-scandal-don-travis/1132632844?ean=9781640809260

iBooks: https://books.apple.com/ca/book/the-voxlightner-scandal/id1473985039?mt=11&ign-mpt=uo%3D4

Google: https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=H3ilDwAAQBAJ

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/the-voxlightner-scandal

Universal Link: https://books2read.com/u/4AxPDo

My personal links: (Note the change in the Email address because I’m still getting remarks on the old dontravis21@gmail.com.

Email: don.travis@aol.com.

Facebook: www.facebook.com/donald.travis.982

Twitter: @dontravis3

Buy links to Abaddon’s Locusts:

https://www.dsppublications.com/books/abaddons-locusts-by-don-travis-486-b

https://www.dsppublications.com/books/abaddons-locusts-by-don-travis-487-b

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Abaddons-Locusts-Vinson-Mystery-Book-ebook/dp/B07JLHKJLY

Apple: https://itunes.apple.com/ca/book/abaddons-locusts/id1439968525

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/abaddon-s-locusts

Google: https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=R0Z0DwAAQBAJ

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/abaddons-locusts-don-travis/1129769593

See you next Thursday.

Don

New Posts every Thursday morning at 6:00 a.m. US Mountain time.

Thursday, November 12, 2020

The Kid Who Wasn’t There, Part 1 of 2 Parts

dontravis.com blog post #415

Photo courtesy of uplash.com


The guest post last week by Don Morgan of the beginning of his new book Miasma, got a lot of hits but few comments. I’ll be happy to forward any late comments to him, or you can contact him directly at dtm1332@aol.com. As has been true lately, Hong Kong readers have led the pack.

This week I’d like to do a short piece loosely based on what happened on a guy I knew back in school.

****

THE KID WHO WASN’T THERE

 I’d tell you my name, but you wouldn’t remember it. My teachers do, but only because when no one else in the class can answer a question, they call on Old Reliable. That’s me. To everyone else, it’s like I wasn’t even there.

Might sound like I’m on a pity party, but that’s not it at all. Just telling it like it is. The problem is I’m a couple of years ahead of most of the kids in my senior class mentally but a couple of years behind physically. Like PE the coach is always saying, “Bainbridge, you got no body definition. You’re built like a tent pole.” Well, I guess I slipped and gave you my name, but that’s all right. You won’t remember it after five minutes. The coach is right, but him saying it out loud hurts. I live in the classroom and library and exist everywhere else… except the sports fields. I die there. Nobody ever picks me for their team.

That’s not my only problem. I don’t think like most of the rest of them, especially the guys. It always slays me how they can’t retain an algebra formula but can quote the batting average for just about any baseballer you can mention. They live for sports; I don’t give a fig.

And that’s not all, or even the worst. The boys my age spend half their time thinking about sports and the other half thinking about girls. You already know how I feel about sports, but here’s the kicker. I feel the same way about girls… or almost. I know a bunch of girls, but they’re just friends, or maybe acquaintances is a better description. I see them at the swimming pool and they’re who they were in class that day.

But John Llewellyn in swimming trunks is definitely not the same guy who sits behind me in Algebra. Neither is Bob or Joe or Hank… but John is the one who claims my interest most. And he doesn’t even know I’m there. I’m just the guy he has to look around to see the teacher at the head of the class.

So the day John accosted me, I about wet my pants. I usually stayed late at school to do all my homework so I don’t have to lug books home with me, and I was just going out the front door of the school building when I heard a voice.

“Hey, Bainbridge, Wanna ride?”

I blinked like I was slow witted when I saw him leaning across the seat of his red Dodge Charger. “Uh… yeah. If it’s not too much trouble.”

He leaned farther across and opened the door. “Naw. I gotta talk to you, anyway.”

“M-me?”

“Yeah. Hop in.”

So I slid into the passenger’s seat where local lore said every girl in school had placed her butt—many of them bare—this semester. Reason told me if all the stories were true, he wouldn’t have the energy to be the school’s star football player or the basketball jock he was, but reason doesn’t always win out. Hey! The guy knew my name. Offered me a ride home.

My guts churned as I pulled the door closed behind me. I felt moisture on my upper lip. Crap was I sweating or was my nose running? I swiped it. Sweat, thank the Lord.

“How you been?”

My throat was dry, so I nodded my head until I realized he was looking at the road ahead of us. “Uh… okay, I guess.”

He maneuvered his way out of the busy parking lot crawling with members of the football team leaving after practice, waving to some kids and shouting friendly insults to others. A shiver went down my back at knowing they saw me with JL, as everyone called him. Not just with him, but in his car.

Once we were clear of the school, he relaxed a little and shot a quick look my way. “Ms. Walters said I should talk to you.”

“M-Ms. Walters? Damn, I sounded anti-social… no like an idiot. “How come?”

“I’m not doing too good in Algebra. She thought may you could help me?”

“You mean like a tutor?”

“Yeah. You up for it? I mean, I could pay you a little. Not much, but a little.”

“Y-You don’t have to pay me. I’d be glad to help.” Geez, when did I develop a stutter?

“You would?”

“Sure. How would you like to do it, I mean, when and where? We could stay after class, I guess.”

“Naw. I got practice after class. You know, football… like today.”

“Oh.”

“Have to be in the evening sometime. If it doesn’t crash your social life, that is.”

I bit my tongue to keep from asking what social life? “No, that’s okay with me.”

 

 

The next night after supper, I walked over to the Llewellyn house, which was only a few blocks from where I lived. JL’s mom answered the door and directed me up the stairs to his room. My bowels turned over when I saw him sitting in the middle of his bed in a tank top and short shorts, his dark brown hair tousled. He glanced up from the laptop in front of him, green eyes flashing.

“Hi, guy. Come on in and take a chair. Be with you in a minute.”

My eyes feasted on every inch of bronzed flesh I could see while he finished talking with some girl. I guess it was a Zoom thing because he was glued to that screen until he signed off. His groin sure looked full when he closed the little computer and slid to the edge of the bed.

“Well, let’s get started.”

It didn’t take long—after my heart quit going pitter-patter at him sitting so close and breathing over my shoulder—to figure out that JL was smart. But he had the same problem most folks had. He thought logically about numbers but had little concept of computing with numbers. He thought arithmetically, not algebraically. It was like starting all over with him. At the end of an hour, he threw up his hands.

“Enough for today! I need a Coke. You want one?”

“S-sure.” Crap. What was the matter with me? I’d talked almost nonstop for an hour, and when he went social, I started stuttering again.

I trailed his manly form to the kitchen refrigerator where he collected two colas and went out the back door onto a covered patio. We popped the tabs and took a good swig before he put his down on a table and picked up a football.

“Wanna toss a few?”

“I wouldn’t know how.”

“Come on, I’ll show you.”

I figured after a few minutes he’d give me up as a lost cause, but fifteen minutes later, he was still working with me. In time, I was able to catch two out of three passes, but I couldn’t get the hang of leading him when it was my turn to toss the pigskin back. But all in all, the exercise went well. Heck, it went great! It was me and JL in his backyard with nobody else around. How could it be better?

A month of lessons went by before he started catching on to what Algebra was all about and his grades showed improvement. And a month of lessons went by before I fell head over heels in love. With a guy. With a hell of a guy. With John Llewellyn.

****

What is it with shy kids and jocks. A love-hate relationship? Let’s find out how the kid who feels invisible fares in the final installment next week.

 Now my mantra: Keep on reading and keep on writing. You have something to say, so say it!

 The following are buy links for my BJ Vinson mystery The Voxlightner Scandal. The next one, The Cutie-Pie Murders, is in production.

 Dreamspinner: https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/the-voxlightner-scandal-by-don-travis-11285-b

DSP Publications: https://www.dsppublications.com/books/the-voxlightner-scandal-by-don-travis-537-b

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Voxlightner-Scandal-Vinson-Mystery-Book-ebook/dp/B07VL33P99

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-voxlightner-scandal-don-travis/1132632844?ean=9781640809260

iBooks: https://books.apple.com/ca/book/the-voxlightner-scandal/id1473985039?mt=11&ign-mpt=uo%3D4

Google: https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=H3ilDwAAQBAJ

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/the-voxlightner-scandal

Universal Link: https://books2read.com/u/4AxPDo

 My personal links: (Note the change in the Email address because I’m still getting remarks on the old dontravis21@gmail.com.

 Email: don.travis@aol.com.

Facebook: www.facebook.com/donald.travis.982

Twitter: @dontravis3

 Buy links to Abaddon’s Locusts:

 https://www.dsppublications.com/books/abaddons-locusts-by-don-travis-486-b

https://www.dsppublications.com/books/abaddons-locusts-by-don-travis-487-b

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Abaddons-Locusts-Vinson-Mystery-Book-ebook/dp/B07JLHKJLY

Apple: https://itunes.apple.com/ca/book/abaddons-locusts/id1439968525

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/abaddon-s-locusts

Google: https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=R0Z0DwAAQBAJ

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/abaddons-locusts-don-travis/1129769593

 See you next Thursday.

 

Don

 

New Posts every Thursday morning at 6:00 a.m. US Mountain time. 

Thursday, November 5, 2020

MIASMA, A Guest Post by Donald T. Morgan

 dontravis.com blog post #414


The story about NIGHT FRIENDS seemed to go over well. I had over 10,000 hists for the month… small potatoes to some, but a bunch for me. Hong Kong readers still held the lead at the end, the the interest we spread pretty well around the globe.

This week, I asked my other fellow scrivener from Oklahoma to do a guest post. I know he’s working on a new book and thought he might want to try out some of it. Sure enough, he did. Attached is the prologue and first chapter from a novel entitled MIASMA, the story of an unusual friendship between and old White man and a ten-year-old Black girl in 1940s Oklahoma when Jim Crow was king.

Warning, some of the language might be offensive to some, but Don wants to remain true the times. Let’s get started.

The Photo above, Courtesy of pbs.org.

****

 

MIASMA

By Donald T. Morgan

Prologue

December 1832, Western Arkansas Territory

The old Cherokee’s phlegmy voice barely reached Bantu from the sled. “Stop. I gotta get some rest.”

“Not yet, Massa Elder. Soldiers won’t let us. But I hear tell we’re almost there.”

Bantu knew no such thing. His hearing was fading, along with his strength. Days of walking over mountains and crossing deep rivers in the dead of winter did that to a man. Even a strong one. No longer aware of the crusted mud and fallen branches beneath his heels, pulling the sledge without spilling his master in the slick muck grew almost impossible in a steady drizzle of sleet and snow. His eyelids stuck together.

The muted resonance and spicy redolence of the familiar broad meadows and thick forests of his southern African homeland momentarily enveloped him, bringing a false sense of warmth. In the distance, a lion roared, a hippo grunted. A vervet disappeared into the foliage. He blinked. There was no monkey, no lion, no river horse.

He longed for a loving voice crooning his name. “Bakari.” The Cherokees hadn’t called him anything but Bantu. He’d not heard his name in the four years since his own chieftain had sold him to slavers for his lack of respect. He’d had a big tongue on him for an eighteen-year-old warrior. He swiped the crust from his lids, cursing softly at the realization tears, not sleet, had frosted his eyes this time.

Ghostly figures on all sides of him plodded along with stiff, gaunt faces hiding the hunger and sickness and pain of the trek. He abandoned the path to go around a body lying in the snow. The Indians had a name for this road. The Trail of Tears. This particular band of Cherokees and their slaves started the long walk in Eastern Tennessee, and many had already died. The old Indian on the sled, known to his tribesmen as Dull Hatchet, was all that was left of the Elder family except for a grandson who’d eluded President Andrew Jackson’s troopers and fled into the hills.

The old man cried out again, and Bantu laid down the shafts of the pony drag—nothing but two lodge poles supporting a deerskin bed—to check on his master. “Yassuh?”

Elder’s chest rattled as he spoke. “Get me Tall Pine. He’ll make you stop. I need my rest.” He rarely called his family by anything but their American names.

“Massa, yo boy is dead. He set after a soldier and got stuck with one of them bayonets for his trouble. And the missus passed right after that”

Elder fell back on the deerskin sled and closed his eyes, his breathing syrupy. Bantu picked up the poles and began dragging the sled once again, as he had in the two days since the mare died.

Hours later, as the soldiers called a halt for the day, a three-striper tapped him on the shoulder. “Boy, how long you gonna haul around a dead man?”

Bantu put down the drag and stood puzzling over how he felt about the death of the old Cherokee. He was unable to come up with an answer.

While others ate and tended sores and wounds, Bantu hacked a hole in the frozen ground and laid out Mr. Elder as best he could before sorting through the bundle of belongings that had ridden on the sledge with the old Cherokee to salvage what he could for his new master. Most of it, Bantu abandoned, but he was careful to hide a small bag holding silver and copper coins and one big gold piece—as beautiful as anything he’d ever seen—inside his ragged jacket. An English pound, the old man had once told him.

Bantu halted and chewed on his swollen bottom lip.

Who was his master now?

Dull Hatchet’s family was dead except for a grandson called Robert Elder or Long Shadow, who was hiding out back in the hills of Tennessee.

Was he free now? A shiver stronger than anything the cold had laid across his back shook him. The muscles in his exhausted legs trembled. Should he run before some Cherokee realized there was no one to claim him? Run where? Fretful and avoiding the others, he ate what little food remained, picked an isolated spot, and settled in his blankets… the cold damp night made a little more bearable by adding Mr. Elder’s to his own.

Early the next morning when the soldiers roused their flock of human sheep, Bantu was gone. But a warrior called Bakari rose and marched westward with the others toward an uncertain destiny.

  

Chapter 1

Colored section of Horseshoe Bend, Oklahoma, Wednesday, May 31, 1944

Miasma Elderberry wasn’t afraid. Not exactly. But every time she set out for Honky Town her nerves played tricks, making her go all jerky at times. And it never got better, no matter that she had to go every two or three days to check for mail down at the post office. It didn’t have a colored entrance, so she went round to the alley and knocked on the back door. That was better than standing in line with Whites, even if she could of. She kept a sharp eye out for boys. They were the nastiest. The big folks mostly didn’t even see her unless she got in their way. Little girls looked at her like she belonged in a zoo or stuck out their tongues, but the boys? She had to watch out for their feet. They’d trip her if she wasn’t sharp. Curling their lips at her was worse. Seemed like a promise of something to come.

She glanced up the gravel road to the top of the hill. Two blocks up and then three down right into a different world. Today, she didn’t mind any of it, up or down. Today was her tenth birthday, and she had a shiny dime in her pocket, enough to get five whole jawbreakers. Should she have one a day or one a week or one a month, so they’d last longer? Or maybe she oughta share them with her friend Tizzie. Miasma frowned. A birthday present ought not bring a problem along with it. Her scowl deepened. She didn’t like giving her money to Whites, but doggone it, Mr. Dinkins’ little neighborhood store, didn’t have jawbreakers as big and sweet as Whitten Grocery downtown.

As usual, when she took her first step out of colored town on the way to the white part of Horseshoe Bend, she broke out into song to ease the tension. “Onward Christian Soldiers” seemed right because she was passing the Baptist Church. Her clear, strong voice stayed true to the notes but played with the tempo. She liked making each song her own.

As she neared the top of the hill, her eyes went to the big house to the left of the road. Sometimes the old White man who lived there came out to watch her pass. He liked her songs, probably. And sure enough, there he was, standing at the fence under the oak tree at the back of the house.

She raised her voice as she switched to “The Old Wooden Cross,” and took pleasure in his wide smile. An old smile but a good one. He raised his hand in greeting, and she wiggled the fingers of her left hand in return. When she started down the other side of the hill, she mused on the fact the White man lived in a white house. Did that mean anything? Guess not. ‘Cause, she was black, but she sure didn’t live in a black house. It was white like the one on the hill but more faded.

Some of the downtown stores had signs saying “No Negroes Allowed,” and there was one a block to the west that went all the way and read “No Dogs, Indians, or Negroes. Whitten’s just had one side entrance labeled for the coloreds. That was better than standing in the alley for buying what she wanted.

Miasma entered and stood patiently for five minutes before a man sauntered over and exchanged her dime for six jawbreakers. She thought the clerk had miscounted and started to hand one back until he smiled and winked at her. She returned the smile and left with enough candy for six whole months if she just had one on the last day of each month. Problem solved.

Whenever Miasma was in her own neighborhood, she had trouble keeping from skipping everywhere or busting out in song, but here, all she wanted was to be invisible. She should have gone up the alley, but she walked straight up the sidewalk covered by an overhang to protect against rain and the hot sun. The stores she passed sure looked more interesting than they did from the alley. At the corner in front of the drug store, she crossed the street and began the five-block hike home. She couldn’t sing because she had a whole month’s worth of candy tucked in one cheek and didn’t want to risk spitting it out without meaning to. The jawbreaker was still there—although considerably smaller—by the time she passed the white house on the hill. Didn’t matter if she was singing or not. The old man was nowhere about.

After two more blocks she ran into Tizzie right in front of the Baptist Church and hammered her plan by handing her best friend one of the pieces of candy. That was all right, it was the extra one the clerk had given her. She still had a four-month supply.

Tizzy’s real name was Letitia, but nobody ever called her anything but Tizzie, and it fit her. And Miasma figured a person’s name ought to fit her. Her friend’s mama had done her hair in a long pigtail right down the back of her neck. Miasma’s braids ran down behind both ears and rested on her shoulders.

Tizzie shifted the big jawbreaker to the other side of her mouth and wished her a happy birthday before handing over a cut-out book of paper dolls. Miasma recognized it as Tizzie’s favorite toy and half the figures were missing, but Miasma didn’t mind. They always played paper dolls together, so it wasn’t no matter who owned the book they came out of. They found a patch of grass struggling to survive the Oklahoma heat and settled in the shade of a big live oak beside the church to choose new dolls to play with. Getting them out of the book without tearing them sometimes presented a problem, but the big husky man and the girl with a teasing look cooperated and came out whole. Of course, they were white, but that didn’t matter. Nobody made black paper dolls. One time, they took crayons and painted the faces black, but that wiped out all the features, so they’d quit doing that.

An hour or so later, James Hugh Dinkins wandered over and plopped down beside them. Miasma didn’t particularly like James Hugh. He was bigger than they were—not much older but way bigger—and played rough. Sometimes he used words the preacher in the church wouldn’t approve of. Of course, so did Mama, but it wasn’t Miasma’s place to judge her mother. Now James Hugh was another matter. The first time he said “shit,” Miasma told him straight off not to talk that way around them. The second time, she pinched his arm right near the elbow where it hurt a lot. He jerked away and got to his knees wild-eyed.

“Hey! You stop that.”

“Will when you stop talking that way.”

“None of your business how I talk.”

“Is when you talk it around girls.”

She knew he wanted to hit her, but if he did the other boys would come down on him and claim he had to fight girls ‘cause he wasn’t tough enough for boys. Wasn’t true. James Hugh was bigger and meaner than all of them, but that didn’t matter. Funny how what others thought about a boy put a halter on him. But she didn’t want to pursue the matter, because James Hugh’s father owned the only store in this part of town. And sometimes he shared some of the things his dad gave him. That was funny too. How a boy could be mean one minute and generous the next.

Frustrated because he couldn’t whop on them, James Hugh snatched the two paper dolls out of their hands and ripped them in half before stalking away. Since Miasma didn’t want to use up two more of the dolls, they put the bottom halves out of sight, and stuck the torsos in the sand and played like the two figures were swimming in a lake and flirting. Tizzie objected because they weren’t dressed in swimming suits, but Miasma had her way. After all it was her birthday.

A few minutes later, James Hugh sneaked up on them and tossed something on the ground before running away. Tizzie yelled at him, but Miasma was more interested in what he’d left. It was another cut-out book, smaller and thinner than hers and still wrapped in a cellophane cover. As Miasma opened the book and thumbed through it, she gasped in surprise. One of the figures was a Black boy. Well, he was brown anyway. There wasn’t a colored girl to go with him, but he was handsome and smiling and looked a little like her dead father’s picture that sat on the table beside their ratty old couch. Right on the spot, Miasma decided to take a crayon and make a girl for him. But she’d do it better this time. Not so heavy. Maybe a gray crayon instead of black. But she had to do something. She sure couldn’t have that handsome Black man running around with a White girl. Even if it was just paper dolls, it wouldn’t be right.

 ****

I don’t know about you, but I learned something in the Prologue. I didn’t know the Five Civilized Tribes owned slaves just like their European neighbors. You might want to let Don Know if this is a story you’d be interested in reading. Thanks, Don.

Now my mantra: Keep on reading and keep on writing. You have something to say, so say it!

 The following are buy links for my BJ Vinson mystery The Voxlightner Scandal. The next one, The Cutie-Pie Murders,

 Dreamspinner: https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/the-voxlightner-scandal-by-don-travis-11285-b

DSP Publications: https://www.dsppublications.com/books/the-voxlightner-scandal-by-don-travis-537-b

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Voxlightner-Scandal-Vinson-Mystery-Book-ebook/dp/B07VL33P99

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-voxlightner-scandal-don-travis/1132632844?ean=9781640809260

iBooks: https://books.apple.com/ca/book/the-voxlightner-scandal/id1473985039?mt=11&ign-mpt=uo%3D4

Google: https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=H3ilDwAAQBAJ

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/the-voxlightner-scandal

Universal Link: https://books2read.com/u/4AxPDo

 My personal links: (Note the change in the Email address because I’m still getting remarks on the old dontravis21@gmail.com.

 Email: don.travis@aol.com.

Facebook: www.facebook.com/donald.travis.982

Twitter: @dontravis3

 Buy links to Abaddon’s Locusts:

 https://www.dsppublications.com/books/abaddons-locusts-by-don-travis-486-b

https://www.dsppublications.com/books/abaddons-locusts-by-don-travis-487-b

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Abaddons-Locusts-Vinson-Mystery-Book-ebook/dp/B07JLHKJLY

Apple: https://itunes.apple.com/ca/book/abaddons-locusts/id1439968525

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/abaddon-s-locusts

Google: https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=R0Z0DwAAQBAJ

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/abaddons-locusts-don-travis/1129769593

 See you next Thursday.

 

Don

 

New Posts every Thursday morning at 6:00 a.m. US Mountain time.

Blog Archive