Stay Down, Boy. Don’t Move, 1944 (PT. 1)

“WHERE we goin’?”

“We ain’t goin’ nowhere.”

Merry looked straight ahead and picked up her pace.  Her baby brother Johnson, buzzing in her ear like a honeybee, beat her stride for stride, though.  She was nine, a petite chocolate brown Colored gal with ballerina sized flat feet, but Johnson was eight, the color of sweet molasses with pearly white teeth and a whole foot taller.

Both had oily black good hair.  And it glistened with sweat under the sweltering Locust Grove sun.  Their momma told them they got their hair from their daddy, who got killed, liquored up on the town’s railroad tracks before Merry was two.  Rumor had it, he was part Blackfoot.  Merry took pride in that.  She and Johnson were Indian and Colored.  Special.  Not just some regular old sharecropping niggers like everybody else.

“Oooh, you goin’ tuh town.  Momma said we ain’t ‘sposed tuh go tuh town.”

“You gotta do everythin’ Momma say?”

“Naw, but she said…”

“Well, gone home den, Momma’s boy.  Gone hide back under her skirt and let me ‘lone!”

Johnson stopped, hurt, his eyes already starting to tear.

“You really don’t want me to go wit’ you, Merry?”

Merry sighed and turned around to look at her baby brother.  Johnson just wasn’t cut like the other boys she knew.  Every since he was born, Johnson never strayed too far from their momma’s tit.  And he was always clinging to Merry, following her around like a frightened piglet.

Merry tried more than once to get Johnson to play with the other sharecropping boys, but Johnson didn’t like playing the stupid games they played and he always ended up running home, crying, because some boy had hit him and called him a sissy.  Merry got tired of beating up every boy and girl who knew what she knew. To keep the peace, she just let Johnson follow her around.  But today, Merry needed him to go back home.

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