by C.B. Roberts
Provocative piece about two friends
|“You done good son,” ma’ father said, wrapping his right arm round ma’ lef shuller. “I’m prahd of you.” We was sittin’ in the bed of his ‘52 Chevy pickup. I ‘member finishin’ off what was left of my peanut butta and jelly sammich that he made fa me earleah that day. Mhm.
I used to luh peanut buttur ‘n jelly sandwiches.
Wind blew strong that day and I ‘memba clearin’ the dust from m’ eyes. Dad pulled his arm back ‘n says, “You’s aman na.” He looked down at me and I ‘member lookin’ up at ‘im—right in his eyes—and all I cu’ do was smile.
“Just look at us. Two man in the great outdows all by ahsels,” he says ta me. Ma father got up from the bed and starta walkin’ towards the front o’ the truck. M’eyes wandered to the Ol’ oak tree not…not e’en ten steps from me.
I’s only twelve at the time.
It was where I tol’ ya momma I lud her, you know? ‘Swhere we had ah firs kiss. She tol ‘er two girlfriends that day ‘n I told ma boys. Boy, they thaw I’s crazeh.
I had a fren’ at one time. Name was Able. Thatcher boy. ‘E was ma bes’ fren. Least that’s whu we promised each otha unda tha’ same tree.
Anyways—where was I? Right.
Ya gray grandaddi says “Reckon it’s time fa supp’r. Let’s head on back, boy.” ‘E hopped dow’ from the bed, got in the dri’ers seat ‘n shut his doh. I wen’ on tha o’her side ‘n saw m’ daddy put some of that tobacco chew in his mouf.
I shu ma doh ‘n I axed ‘im, what ‘bout Able?
“What about ‘m? ’s right where he belongs,” ma fatha says. He stahts the truck up, rolls his winda down, spits—‘n you know whuh he says? “’s where all niggurs belong.”
I’s quiet the whole ri’ home. I kept ma eyes in the rear view mi’ir. Last time I’d eva go there. ‘S we drove ‘way alls I cu’ see was Able’s body—swingin’ from the rope I tied earlier ‘round his neck.