Merry turned and entered the store, immediately casting her eyes to the floor before she answered.
“Oh, yes, suh. Sorry, suh. I came to fetch my Momma’s mail.”
“Don’t your mammy rent a box at your farm?”
“Well, yes, suh. But she ain’t got mail in so long, over a month or more. She was ‘spectin’ somethin’ important from up North and I thought maybe the mailman left somethin’ here…”
“You accusin’ me of stealin’ your nigga mammy’s mail?”
Nigga. Nobody called her momma nigga. The fire in Merry’s legs sept into her blood, boiling it. She looked up at the storekeeper, stared him in the eye.
“No, suh. I just thought maybe somethin’ got left behind. By mistake.”
The storekeeper stammered, the venom in little Merry’s eyes momentarily choking the breath out of him.
“Well, she ain’t got no mail here. And you best to learn not to eyeball white folks, gal. You might find you and your mammy hangin’ from a tree. You understand me?”
Merry looked down and nodded. The storekeeper’s eyes, suddenly cold and dead, were scarier to her than his lethal threat. She backed out of the store’s door, tripping down the stairs.
“Yes, suh. Sorry, suh.”
Too frightened to be embarrassed and the fire in her legs forgotten, Merry ran home as fast as her short legs would carry her.
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