Work from Russ Lydzinski

             The two niggers attacked Mary Kay Deary, beat and raped her. That’s what she said. It didn’t take much convincing to arouse the townsfolk. Now the niggers were hanging from a tree, and everyone was dressed up in their Sunday best for the spectacle. I wore my best dress.

            When I was a child, I used to swing on that very tree, on a makeshift contraption made of rope and a slab of wood. Old Jackson, a friendly nigger, made it for me. That Old Jackson was always nice to me. He whittled a little monkey from a peach stone. I wore it on a chain around my neck for years. It’s still in a box with my jewelry. I wonder what happened to him.

            Mary Kay and her husband, Tommy, live just down the street from me. Tommy’s coming now, with the bottle in his hand. No surprise, I don’t remember when I last saw him without a bottle.  

            “Hey Tom, we just now hanged them niggers.” It was Bobby talking, the Deary’s next door neighbor. “Where’s Mary Kay? I thought she would want to see this.”

            “Restin. She ain’t up to a picnic. Tell you what though; I’m going to burn em niggers tonight. I’ll bring her out for that.” He stumbled, almost losing his balance. Too bad Bobby grabbed him. He would have fallen flat on his face.

            I slipped away to avoid making pleasantries, while neighbors and townsfolk rushed past me to gather around Tommy. I didn’t want anything to do with it. I’ve seen Mary Kay bruised up plenty of times. Couldn’t always have been niggers. I backed away, keeping my eye on him, until I felt something bump against the back of my head. I turned to see what struck me.

            A cold, bare foot dangled in front of my face. I recoiled from the swinging appendage, choking back a bitter tang in my throat. Staring up at the lifeless body, I felt suddenly dirty; the nigger reeked of piss and shit. His face was bloated and blue. I bit my lip to suppress a gasp because he looked so much like Old Jackson. It wasn’t him of course; this man was much younger. How passively he hung there. How undignified.

            Suddenly, the body twitched. I screamed and fell backward in my haste to retreat. With a pounding heart, I looked up again. Death lay naked in his eyes. Somehow, his body had not received the message.

            I gave myself over to concern for my own dignity, scrambling up and moving away from the bodies, brushing twigs and dust off my dress. I thought no one had seen my fall because Tommy Deary was still drawing the attention of the crowd away from the dead men. But I was wrong.

            Sissy Haggler saw the whole thing. “That nigger give you a scare?” she sneered. “Or maybe not. You look like you feel sorry for him.”

            “Certainly not. Mary Kay is my friend. Them niggers deserve what they got.”

            “Damn right,” said Sissy. You stayin for the burnin?”

            “Sure am.”

 

            I didn’t though. I went home complaining of a stomach ache. I sat a on my bedside, fingering the peach-stone monkey in my hand, remembering old Jackson. I wondered if he had had a son.

Instructor Response

The two niggers attacked Mary Kay Deary, beat and raped her. That’s what she said. It didn’t take much convincing to arouse the townsfolk. Now the niggers were hanging from a tree, and everyone was dressed up in their Sunday best for the spectacle. I wore my best dress. Nicely done.

When I was a child, I used to swing on that very tree, on a makeshift contraption made of rope and a slab of wood. Old Jackson, a friendly nigger, made it for me. That Old Jackson was always nice to me. He whittled a little monkey from a peach stone. I wore it on a chain around my neck for years. It’s still in a box with my jewelry. I wonder what happened to him.  This is just great.

Mary Kay and her husband, Tommy, live just down the street from me. Tommy’s coming now, with the bottle in his hand. No surprise, I don’t remember when I last saw him without a bottle.

“Hey Tom, we just now hanged them niggers.” It was Bobby talking, the Deary’s next door neighbor. “Where’s Mary Kay? I thought she would want to see this.”

“Restin. She ain’t up to a picnic. Tell you what though; I’m going to burn em niggers tonight. I’ll bring her out for that.” He stumbled, almost losing his balance. Too bad Bobby grabbed him. He would have fallen flat on his face.

I slipped away to avoid making pleasantries, while neighbors and townsfolk rushed past me to gather around Tommy. I didn’t want anything to do with it. I’ve seen Mary Kay bruised up plenty of times. Couldn’t always have been niggers. I backed away, keeping my eye on him, until I felt something bump against the back of my head. I turned to see what struck me.

A cold, bare foot dangled in front of my face. I recoiled from the swinging appendage, choking back a bitter tang in my throat. Staring up at the lifeless body, I felt suddenly dirty; the nigger reeked of piss and shit. His face was bloated and blue. I bit my lip to suppress a gasp because he looked so much like Old Jackson. It wasn’t him of course; this man was much younger. How passively he hung there. How undignified.  Terrific.

Suddenly, the body twitched. I screamed and fell backward in my haste to retreat. With a pounding heart, I looked up again. Death lay naked in his eyes. Somehow, his body had not received the message.

I gave myself over to concern for my own dignity, scrambling up and moving away from the bodies, brushing twigs and dust off my dress. I thought no one had seen my fall because Tommy Deary was still drawing the attention of the crowd away from the dead men. But I was wrong.

Sissy Haggler saw the whole thing. “That nigger give you a scare?” she sneered. “Or maybe not. You look like you feel sorry for him.”

“Certainly not. Mary Kay is my friend. Them niggers deserve what they got.”

“Damn right,” said Sissy. You stayin for the burnin?”

“Sure am.”

I didn’t though. I went home complaining of a stomach ache. I sat a on my bedside, fingering the peach-stone monkey in my hand, remembering old Jackson. I wondered if he had had a son.  Nicely done. The contrast with story reality and inner feelings and thoughts is very effective.

Perfect. Thanks for doing the exercise. You skillfully worked in the things the exercise was designed to stimulate. Overall, you’ve gained excellent control of your prose, and your storytelling can’t be beat. You admirably stayed within the character’s point of view and worldview. And be proud of your imagination, it’s working well for you!

Best regards,

Bill Coles

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