So, where do I begin?
No! How do I begin to couleur this portrait of controversy, which has become my life? It is as if to create a maquillage not of pastel nor euphonious, but textured by the tormenting of a soul whose pleadings are of innocence. Is this how my living is made complete?
I am boastfully accused of a crime I never committed. Obsession, is to descend into madness, and madness the dregs of suicide that wander my mind, as though to avail me from this anguish. So I stare in to its abyss, frightened by the dark of her confusion and the clamour of her accusers. I am spit upon. There, it happened again.
The carnival has come to town, and I am the attraction of their amusement. When the show is over, will the votaries cry with me to know what it is to be crushed and broken? Or will they turn and walk away, leaving the debris of their hatred at my feet?
My thoughts whirl through every moment of my past pausing like a roller coaster ride set on the ebb of a fall, deep into a tragedy, where each frame of my life settles into vaporous that turn to tears fallen from my eyes. I didn't know why it made me cry just to here her name. Every careful concern, tenderly poisoned words spoken to hide the calamity that lay hidden within. I've lived a life of denial without having denied a thing. The life I live is not my own, but belongs to someone who never was. Even the insect bites upon my flesh were Richard's way of rationalizing why I would have such a high dose of insectecide poison in my blood. Of course you'd rationalize that I poisoned myself, by insanely spraying bug spray on bugs that were bitting my flesh. Erational behavior to suggest a rational idea all it needs is a little faith in your honesty, and we will witness howyou use insanity to insanely explian insanity, but this insanity is not you. Here you are, your lies are your supremacy, that people optomistically believe you, is because of your superiorty.
It was the height of the 1960's Civil Rights Movement, and like a mime whimsically playing upon a harp, Richard spoke out in frustration at the injustices that were committed against the Black man. At times his eyes would sparkle as his mind fumbled for words to articulate his emotions, it was as if in telling a joke, he'd fain his disgust at the ideology of White Supremacy. Yet, it was as though he spoke to remind us how we should tremble and fear the soulessness in the depravity that he'd remine us blacks, was most often was carried out and even enforced by Law enforcement.
My father served in the U.S. Army, along side of Nat King Cole. Richard Gilberg served in the Army too, that's how he met my Father. It was a segregated army, segregation kept the morale high. But when the whites wanted to be entertained they’d cross that segregation line and hang out with the Black folk, and listen to them sing, entertaining themselves. My father sang, he was a man’s man who didn’t take life to seriously, he was a man in love, life was good, and for some reason Richard Gilberg didn’t like that. In Richard’s Aryan, German education blacks were somebody to be easily taken advantage of. Bipolar black men, just loved doing fucked shit. You could do with them pretty much whatever you want, and they didn’t have the protection of the law. Richard was good at masking his hatred Dad. Everything about my Father, was everything that Richard despised, and his obsessive hatred for my Dad ate away at his troubled mind, and he wanted my Father to suffer for having such a beautiful, abundant life. Richard adored his mask and all that it would one day allow him to do. Deep beneath its exterior he kept hidden his fantasy, where in make believe games he would weave upon my Father the ultimate confusion and anguish of betrayal so painful that it would cause a man to submissively lay down and take his beatings, brought on by his own worthlessness. Richard Gilberg used his Army Secretarial skills as a Police Officer and stalked after my families posessions.
Ervin Walter Boozer was Richards favorite whipping boy. A let me make my own got damn mistakes kind of guy, Ervin had a profound respect for obedience. For Richard, Ervin was the affirmative proof for every racist stereo typical point of view that explained why Whites were the superior race. Ervin was a black man who knew how to get by in the White man's world, and for him that expertise demanded respect. His pleadings for obedience, were like a prayer pleading to his own thoughts for some sort of distraction to laugh at, and give his paranoid mind pease. In his troubled reality, money was power, and there was all ways some one with more. He lived a life of cliche and bad jokes.
It was a paniced stricken Arab faced with the humiliation of deportation that captured Richard's eye. His less than average grades required to continue school at Wayne State, he came up with the idea of identity theft. He wondered the streets of Detroit and it didn't take long for him to find a few disheveled drunks, that's where found a bum, John Scott. They quickly became best of friends, and though Muslim sura allowed him to buy bottles of booze for John, the sura did not allow him to drink with his new found friend. Dead drunk and without a wallet, John Scott the bum died a John Doe, and much to the Arab's surprise with the name change to John Scott, he began receiving Social Security checks in the name of his dear friend John. At the same time John Scott started receiving Social Security checks, Ervin Walter Boozer stopped receiving checks for his drinking buddy John Scott, and Ervin wasn't going to be humiliated like that, he had to find out what happened to his missing money making street bitch. With pimps keeping an eye on the bevy of drunken street bitches, it didn't take long for Ervin locate John Scott at Wayne State. John Scott quickly received an education in street life that nearly killed that Arab boy. A little curious about what would cause an Arab student to murder a drunken bum, Ervin discovered that the Engineering field pay was quite lucrative, he wanted in on that piece of change, after all John owed him. So, John met and married, and divorced Connie Boozer, so not only was Ervin's daughter receiving Social Security checks, but she got an alimony check too.
My family, we never talked about wealth, or royalty, instead my parents would entertain me, and themselves with their ridiculousness. We practiced being close, and that closeness made us aware of each others thoughts and feelings, it felt good to live life with certainty. Watching us interact together. It was like an embarrassingly cute television show and we were so in love with the love they were in that nothing else seem to matter. My Mother was my father's pussy, and he loved calling her his little pussy, and she loved hearing my Dad calling her his little cunt. My Father was a man's man, with the encouraging ways of a school teacher to his prize student. Not that he would make his student feel like they could never do anything wrong. He would simply use wrong as a measure of how far his student had progressed. He enjoyed people, life was like music, and he'd sing how life played upon his emotions. My Mother would melt and sometimes cry, she loved every word that spilled from his mouth. My Father, Quincy Jones, and Nat King Cole were just entertainment for the whites. Richard had a gag, he knew people in the entertainment business, and that’s where all the trouble for my family began. Compared to most white men, we were rich. One of my Father's Grandparents was a Prince from Ghana, who owned a tobacco plantation, and married a native girl, and my Father's wife Katherine was native people, and had a farm with an oil well on it. I had been to Ghana, when I was a child, it was the greatest experience my mother ever had. She got to meet my Grandma, the Queen. Back then, their were not roads drive a automobile to our home, so we had to get there by helicopter, and the noise was horrible. It was so loud that it made the muscles in my face twitch to the rhythm of the spinning propellers. "Look! A giraffe." It wasn't afraid of all the loud clattering racket going on just above its head, I guess it knew to expect our arrival, as if it new who we were, my family was apart of that Africa for such a long time.
In the house we had never seen so many black folk, but my Dad was used to it. No! He was comfortable among all the Black folk in our home, as if in rekindling old cherished friendships, he was renewed, and relieved from the pressures of confusion and conflicts that we face in our days. At first my Mother was unsettled at how these pretty Black women could whisper and laugh about you in your face, and then they'd look at you all crazy before they'd invite you into their naughty jokes. Astonished, as if living in a dream, she had an amazing time, while being fitted for her ceremonial gown. There were all kinds of rings, bracelets and broaches for the gown, and she enjoyed it all. I had never been separated from my Mom for such a long period of time, when she was right there in the same room. But it was fun, I played with my Aunt Lindsay, she gave me candy, and I couldn't get enough.
I guess I was about three years old, and I began to have a strange dream about something or somebody that seemed to be missing in my life. The hurt felt so bad that it was as if I had lost my mind somewhere in a numbing fog. I don't know why I should remember it like it were a Halloween night, and the feel of terror would tremble through my bones, as the monsters gather around me. Laying there in my bed the nightmare would begin. The vivid colors of dark red and cold gray black, mingled with orange, yellow and blue. The heat of their claws searing my flesh as they'd tear into me, the pain consuming my dreams. I was so helpless and confused.
We had moved into a four family bungalow on Collingwood Street in Detroit. We hadn't lived there very long, this was Ervin's home. I didn't know him very well, and I don't know how or why I was there in his home, but I knew his name was Ervin. I remember the feel of silence in my mind, something was wrong but I didn't.
Boy, you like dogs. This is pepper. Pepper's gonna be your roommate.
The back porch was is where I lived, played and slept with the dog Pepper, but I didn't mind. I did not have to see or deal with that insane white family anymore, and I was all right with that. But it felt like something was missing. I wasn't being baby sat. anymore, and I didn't see Ervin's kids anymore. It was cold outside, snow was on the enclosed screened in second story porch, but I had built a warm nest from news papers laid out for the dog, in the corner were I slept. Finally I had silence, and in the cool morning air, I could listen to and see the birds chirping. It was as if they were welcoming me into their world, and I could look up from the floor and watch them fly by the huge screen window. And sometimes they'd land there and look at me. Pepper would growl at the disturbance of our neighbors footsteps then he'd cuddle up to me, and at night he'd laughingly bark at the sounds of the other dogs that came from the alley, until Ervin would let him inside the house. Alone, I'd curl up on my news paper nest and sleep, and in the morning when I'd wake, he'd be there. Sometimes I'd wake and find that a bird gotten inside the porch and had nested upon me while I slept. Then all hell would break lose, as Ervin would try to catch the bird, and when that bird turned out to be a bat, Ervin was as mortified in fear. Then more like a frightened little girl as he'd try to catch at the poor thing. Out there on the back porch I'd drink water and eat some of the scraps that he had thrown out for the dog, and sometimes place in Pepper's dog bowl. But most times Pepper got the best part of Ervin's garbage and I'd to sleep hungry, and I'd wake up to eat the dogshit I had found. I can't say which tastes worse that dogshit or that dog's food and garbage that I ate when I lived with Ervin's kids during the trial. I finally had peace away from those obnoxious little fools, trying to bully me and convince me that I set my home on fire. I didn't know these damned people, and I don't know how in the hell they felt that they knew me, but the peace I had away from them felt pretty good.
One evening I heard the Gilberg boys talking and laughing, hollering at me from behind the kitchen door. Then Ervin let the dog in and set a bag of trash out, and gave me a huge pot of stinking stew to eat. And they'd laugh and say you'd better eat shit cause you ain't getting anything else to eat. In the morning he opened the door. Boy you ain't dead yet. As if enamored by my perseverance, he'd wash me up in my weekly bath in a bowl on the back porch.
You have got to be one of the luckiest little bastards that I've ever seen. So guess what? Today's you lucky day, you get to come inside house. Now say thank you boy.
Ervin brought me inside his house, and gave me a bath in his bathtub, then fed me castor oil. Inside his home was a whole new world, it was hot as hell, and it smelled like sour cigarettes mixed with perfume mingle with the stench of little kids. Whatever he thought I had he didn't want get it. Everything there was so lifeless and fpake. Even the dog was lavishing a fakish, undaunted affection for this man. But since all we really wanted was food, I learned quickly from the dog how to fake it too, and I'd show the asshole of a man a little loyalty, and that made him feel respected. Not even his own kids could do that. And inside the house, it was as if me and Pepper had never known each other. Loyalty among friends right!
For the most part I'd sit and stare out the window as if waiting for someone come take me home again, but I didn't know where home was. I'd try to see it in my mind, but somehow tears would always wash down my face. I didn't know why I was crying, but I could sit there for hours, watching as the day became night only to see rising in the sky again. And seeing the snowfall through the glass window the huge flakes were way much less menacing than the cold white ooze that tried to blow itself through the porch screen window. Baba would talk to me but the words that were once so meaningful had lost themselves to an emptiness. And I really didn't want to talk to anyone anymore. Nothing seemed to matter anymore and I didn't know why.
Then one evening I was set in a chair with a couple of telephone books underneath me for height, watching as Baba stood beside me at the kitchen table feeding Renee, and instructing me on how to eat my food. She didn't seem to mind, she'd tell us that we were her babies. But then as she broke apart a piece of baked chicken, I stared fixated by the steam that gushed from its supple flesh. I couldn't look away from the open wound, a rush of panic had poured over me like mixture of cold concrete batter. And I was frozen there, as the heavy putrid air crush it's way down into my gasping lungs, all I could do is scream.
What’s wrong in there? Boy what the hell is wrong with you? Shut up that noise before I come in there and beat your god damned ass. Boy! Do you hear me talking to you? What the fuck did I say. I never noticed when he walked into the room, and with a stinging slap I was knocked from my chair onto the kitchen floor. Ervin stood over me, his booted foot poised to stomp me.
Boy shut up. What in the fuck is wrong with you. I didn't know what was wrong, but something was wrong and all I could do is cry, even as I angrily bounced back up of the floor with my little fists clinched ready to kick big his ass. I punched, pushing him on his leg. Then grabbing me by my arm. Boy! You've got to be out of your got damned mind! I'll kill you, boy. My arm grappled tight in his clutch. He dragged me down the hallway, pulling me toward the bedroom.
And their was a blood curdling shriek that burst from Baba's throat. No! Running behind us, crying. When she got to us, I could see her nervously jumping up and down. Her young mind confused in a state of panic. Don't kill my little brother. Please! She knew what death was, I didn't.
Then the stranger's rage became silent as his baby daughter Renee began to cry her tiny voice chimed in with ours, bringing this giant to a halt from his preoccupation with me.
Then tossing me onto the bed, he left out the room as Baba covered me and begged me not to cry anymore.
I don't know why. But all I could do is cry. And although Baba tried, there was nothing she could do to stop the tears from grappling with my mind. Boy! Shut up that crying in there. Your Mama's dead, you little bastard.
Mommy, mommy! I want my mommy. Where are you mommy! I love you mommy! I want my mommy! I want my mommy! The dusk of evening gathered dark upon the walls of the room. I can see the stars up in the nights sky from where I lay, but their fascination has lost their sparkle through the clouds of my eyes, and their twinkle doesn't mean that much to me anymore. I want to see her face but somehow I know I'll never see her again.
Then from this prison that is my anguish, I am granted a reprieve upon hearing the sound of a woman's voice. I'm here Charlie! Everything's all right Baby! I'll talk to you in the morning.
My heart fluttered, to my embarrassment my heart sank down to the bottom of my stomach. My Mommy never spoke without telling me that she loves me. And the tears on my face felt cold and empty, and this became my life.
It seems as quickly as I've closed my eyes it was morning. the strangeness of this room doesn't seem to matter anymore. Eagerly I spring up from my bed, fiddling with the knob. I am lock behind this immense door, and begin to slap and bang until it decides to release me from with inside the room. Mommy, mommy. The echo of the woman's voice answers back sounding less familiar and the door is opened to my disappointment. Her name was Marylou. Ervin found her at some bar down the street.
Everything in my world has changed. And I don't care anymore. Left to wonder about my new home, I am locked away in the silence of memories that refuse to reveal themselves to me.
Siting here in the living room, me, Baba, Renee and Renee's Dad. I give a vacant stare at the television, while my sisters eat their pop corn, and gulp on their cool aid, there's really nothing there that I want to see. Look, at that fool. Ha, ha, ah, isn't that funny. Boy why ain't you laughing? But without a word, I hunch my shoulders cause I don't understand what was so funny.
Watching television, I had gotten an idea from Oliver Twist.
Can I have some?
Boy! What did you say to me?
Can I have some?
Some what? You want some pop corn? Boy, you'd better get a job. Rattling the aluminum pot full of pop corn at me, his hands sifted down to the bottom for the burnt and unpopped kernels of corn. Here you go, son! Let me know if you want some more.
I couldn't figure out what my sisters found so enjoyable about this stuff, it didn't seem like much to me.
You want some more, boy?
Now get the hell out of my face. Go to your room before I whop your ass.
Sitting on the porch of our new home, watching the sun set, the caress of the evening cooling upon my flesh. The sky looked so beautiful, the sparrows would fly right up to me, and then excitedly fly away. And from upon her father's lap Renee would grown for me to make the small birds come to her. Sometimes they would but most times they wouldn't and Baba would laugh because Renee was scaring em away.
Watching the night comfortably set upon the band of orange far off in the distance a light twinkling of stars caught in deep blue, the beauty of the sky is disturbed by the chimes of an ice cream truck. Although Renee's just begun to walk, she knows how to churn her way from her father's lap and wobble to that ice cream truck, and as she begins her regimen of bounces upon her Father's knee, vigorously pointing at the truck. I vaguely remember the look upon my own Father's face, and wonder did I do the same thing when I was that little. I just can't remember ever being that helpless and whiny. And I couldn't figure out why she say anything that made a bit of sense. You want some ice cream? Baba go get me a strawberry short cake, and get yourself a pop sickle.
Do you want me to get something for Charlie?
What did I say? Naw! That boy don't need anything! And if you ever give that damned boy anything without my permission. I'll punish your black ass right along with his! You understand me?
Whatever pop sickle Renee wanted that meant that Baba got the other, and I wasn't worried about Ervin. If he got embarrassed enough he'd buy me a pop-sickle. And that would usually happen because his daughter Renee, would offer me some of her gooey baby drool drenched pop-sickle. I can't tell you how wonderful it made me feel, sucking on her nasty baby slob. Why not just vomit in my mouth?
I had a little girlfriend Jo Ann, and when it was just us kids outside playing, she'd take me into the back yard. She taught me how to climb my first fence and she'd push me up against the wall and still a kiss from me in the corner of the house. She loved doing that. But Ervin didn't like it when one of the neighbors told him that saw us playing in the dog house.
We moved quite a few times. And then we move into a real house on Livernoise and Web Street, I'd peer into the kitchen and watch as Ervin would teach his kids Renee and Baba how to read and write. It took me a while, but I taught myself how to read. Ervin thought Renee and me how to light matches for his cigarettes. And one day the house kind of burned down, after me and Renee were playing with the matches in the closet.
By the time we moved to Navahoe Street I had learned my own way around. Looking for pennies on the sidewalk and in the street, I'd buy my own candy. Looking for old beat up and broken bicycles in the ally, I'd take what pieces I could and build my own bike.
Ervin was all right as a father, he fed me fish oil on the couple of occasions that I had contracted worms to keep his daughter from getting worms. To be honest at my age of 10 years old, I had seen a lot of shit, and Ervin, he was probably better than most kid's Dad's in the neighborhood.
But still with each day's passing, began to whirl in a blur of uneventful memories. A lot of times I just wanted to be alone and I found my refuge in the solitude of dark and empty room.
!t was morning, and in my fascination with each new day I want to go outside to play. Yesterday, it was just yesterday when I discovered it. I know where they live these funny chirping sounds. Outside my window you can her them gossip and call to one and other. Well, actually it was my friend who notice em first. It was right there behind me, and when I turned around to see who it was it hopped into the air. Up, and up, and up, it didn't stop. No! It kept right on going, way into the sky. We laughed, and laughed, it was so funny how it did that. We could still hear the voices of the little creatures chirping as we searched the sky, but we didn't see em any more. Then without a sound there it was again right beside me.
In the morning as I spring from the bed in a raucous. Clumsily trying to dress myself, my thoughts race hysterically in wonder of what awaited my day. It was all so exciting. Maybe today it wants to play, and we can hop in to the air and go way up into the sky. They say God lives up there with the Angels. Maybe we'll get to see him too.
Yeah, you're right. I would miss my Mommy too.
When I'd come home from playing in the yard my Mommy would investigate my face and hands for traces of dirt, always prepared with rag and a strange look of terror that used to make me laugh if saw a little bug crawling around on my clothes, cause she'd dance around back and forth, grimacing while she'd force her trembling hands to wipe me clean, that's when I knew its was time to get a bath. Bath time usually meant it was time for bed, but sometimes it didn't, but I got in the habit checking for bugs before I'd come into the house just in case. After coaxing me into the bathtub with my clothes still on and dousing me with a couple pots of water she promised she'd try to be braver. "Oh Baby! I'm so sorry, do you forgive Mommy. It's just that I'm so afraid of those bugs. That's Ok! Awh Baby, I love you so much. I love you too Mommy, but I think my clothes are wet! Awh Baby! You know what, tomorrow I'm going to go outside with you, and you can show me your little bug friends, and I promise I'm going to be brave."
I was a moody child and not everybody liked that about me, but my Mommy seemed to love everything about me, and she taught me to love every feeling I had. I'd tell my Mommy my moody stories about my moody day and we'd laugh. Even when I was trying to be serious she'd laugh, then she'd smile and give me kisses and tickles, and a slice of orange or tangerine. I'm not sure if I like 'em, but she sure makes 'em seem delicious. She even kisses the juices off my face and hands. Then she picks me up and blows on my stomach, and it makes me laugh. We like fried okra too, but not that snotty boiled kind . . . yeee uk! That's disgusting, but my Dad likes it, and we laugh at him too, she's so funny. He doesn't say much he just calls us children, then later on he gives Mommy a spanking for talking about him, she likes it but it makes me afraid. When my Mommy's happy she laughs, when she's sad, she's never to proud to cry, she always tells me just how she feels and she expects me to respect her feelings too, and I do. But she always makes me laugh, and she likes to sing just to get me to sing and then she laughs and says it's cute, its so fun just being around her! She says I make her happy, but sometimes when she says it, she gets a little sad. I don't like to make her sad.
Sometimes my Mommy just sits in my bed and watches me go off to sleep. Then when I wake up she's sitting in the living room on the couch.
Good morning Anooni!
My Mommy was just a kid herself, she adored the way I couldn't pronounce my middle name. And watching me curse everybody out about it, was a masterpiece.
How's my little man? I was the man when my father wasn't home. Sometimes he wouldn't be home for days. I don't know how she always does it, my Mommy always knows when I'm ready to play.
Just then the doorbell rings and there's a holler from the hallway.
Katherine? Its me! Ya home?
Anthony its Laverl, now be good, your father works for her husband's dad.
I do not like this woman, and she like's everybody's Dad! And she always wants a Coca Cola.
What are you doing here Laverl?
Son would you get me a Coca Cola from the refrigerator?
Calling me son, I really didn't like her. She was one of the people who came by our home to party, and sometimes I had to spend the the day at their home while Ervin's daughter's usually baby sat me. Mostly it was Ervin's daughter Aldine baby who baby sat me. Aldine was like my Mother's best friend and she liked my dad too, but she was nice and fun, and happy, I liked her. Renee and Baba live there but most times when I'm at Laverl's home, Laverl's not there. The only thing I know about this white woman, is that she has three white sons, and her sons are horrible little, rotten bastards. When I look at this pitiful slob of a woman I remember how she became so embarrassed because her sons tried to lynch me. She made me wear that damned red cowboy hat and told her Negro friends and my Mommy that her sons were playing cowboys with me, but an older kid saw me dangling from the rope tied to the garage. And scolded Richard, Michael and Benson, while he nervously cut the rope lose from my neck. I had rope burns bleeding around my throat, and this dumb bitch said it came from playing with some little ass holes that I didn't like.
No! I'll get it. Phillip Anthony's not allowed to play in the kitchen.
Phillip, are you a big boy?
My Mommy says that I am.
Then you can get the soda
What? What's that?
That's all right. Laverl grunts lifting herself out of the clutches of the chair . . . and off she goes. Waddling her fat ass into our kitchen, as if she owns the house.
They were envious of us, like we weren't supposed to have the things we had. I was two years old when Laverl's son's fed me raw meat. They were calling me an animal, entertaining a couple of their friends. The irony is that nothing happened, and I guess that terrorized the Gilberg boys cause raw meat was supposed to be poisonous, but nothing happened to me. And when one of their friends tried it, their fears worse fears were realized. The kid had to be rushed to the hospital. And after that Laverl's sons tried to lynch me.
I guess her sons told her what they tried to do. And after the raw meat incident Laverl took me to the Catholic Church on the corner of Jefferson, and tried to get the Priest their to exorcise me. My mother was shocked when a Catholic Priest came to our house, but Laverl acted as if it was normal for a Catholic Priest to make house calls, to exorcise demons. This was an unbelievably daffy woman.
In an effort to get rid of LaVerl I began to whine.
I'm hungry Mommy.
What would you like to eat?
Oh, Laverl we have to go to the store. I hope you don't mind?
I have to get some milk for the baby.
Katherine, you have milk. Does Phillip eat cereal? I can fix it for him.
We do? Are you sure?
I'm looking right at it Katherine.
We'll go to the store after breakfast. All right Phillip?
Awe Right! I could tell by her disappointment that I was going to get a lemon cookie.
Ok just a minute. I'll fix it for him, he like his cereal.
I drag myself to the kitchen, and wrestle with the chair for a seat. Then patting me on the head Laverl leaves out the kitchen.
That's alright Katherine I fixed it for him.
I gawk across at the soda drenched cereal, then give it a taste . . . and its nasty.
Hello? Hello? A scholarly voice echoes from in the hallway accompanied by clunking footsteps.
Oh! Hey Ervin, I'm sorry Kaatherine. That's my boyfriend, Ervin. You met him at your party.
Well, you could have told me.
Ervin is a gangster, and my Mommy doesn't trust him one bit. But LaVerl says he's like a bodyguard, and that my father needs his protection. He even let her son play with his gun and Richard showed it to his friends. And now all the little white kids think Richard is cool cause he gets to hang out with Gangsters. Ervin's very well manor and properly spoken like a white guy, you'd never believe he's a gangster.
From behind the kitchen chair I watch frustrated, as the tall dark figure enters our home. Laverl pops up form my father's armchair like a puppy eager to meet it's master. I a gesture of obedience she offers him a kiss on the lips. Undaunted by her touch, he stands there preoccupied fixated staring at my Mom and with his right hand inside his suit pocket. As he turns stepping toward the couch where my mother sat. I lose sight of him, but I can hear everything he and my Mommy are saying.
Hi Ervin! . . . We weren't expecting guests this early. Stop! What are you doing? Laverl? Help me! Please! Stop it!
From the kitchen I can see Laverl clutching onto her stomach. Crouching to the floor on her knees, she begins to moan. Oh God! Oh God please!
Hurdling myself to the floor. My Mommy! Racing into the living room. I am halted by confusion. The tall dark figure has turned angrily to Laverl kneeling on the floor crying. Shut up bitch! This is what you wanted. You wanna be next?
Rocking back and forth on her knees as if she's about to vomit. No, no, no! I don't want to die! Please! Oh, Ervin please!
My Mommy is standing there, over by the couch. Her body slightly crouched, and leaning forward. Her hand rests just beneath her left breast. The sparkling diamond ring upon her finger sustains my attention as blood crosses over it trickling down her delicate hand. There's blood on Ervin's clinched fist and on the shiny silver object in his hand.
Glancing in my direction, and then staring back into Ervin's face
I'm all right Phillip.
Don't let my baby see me like this.
Go outside and play Phillip Anthony. Ok? He doesn't understand.
Then breathless she drops to the couch, quietly sitting there. And as I watch the tears fall from her eyes, I can't understand why she's crying. I can't leave her. I can only watch as my Mommy lays her head back against the shoulder of the couch looking up at the ceiling. It's so quiet. We all watch paralyzed as she struggles to draw air into her lungs. The silence is broken, her breath has become a whimper of little hiccups. The hiccups stop and she silently, motionlessly she drifts off to sleep.
I look up at Ervin, and he's watching me. I guess he'd been there studying me trying to figure out my reaction. I don't know what he expected to see me do, but seeing me look at the door, he laughs.
Hold him. Don't let him move.
Folding the shinny silver object into its black handle, while he places his fingers against my mother's throat. And with a single bound he lunges toward the door locking it shut. He walks in the bathroom where he studies his face in the wooden cabinet mirror, as if wondering what he felt. You could see it in his eyes, he was trying to figure out if he felt anything at all. Quietly washing his hands in the face bowl. A question seem to appear upon his face. Why didn't the blood he rinsed from his hands mean anything to him? I saw him talk to my Mommy before. He seemed attentive as if he liked the slender woman, who looked more like a beautiful little Indian doll. But whatever he felt it was not enough to stop him from doing what he'd just done.
Startled by an awkward clunking sound coming from within the hallway. Ervin quietly sneaks across the room to the door, where he patiently listens to the noise. I can tell from the sound of the footsteps that its Gerald, his two-year-old body has been trapped by the height of the stairs. Once he's made his way up the steps usually my Mommy has to carry him back down. Its funny because Gerald never had a problem backing down the last three steps to our house, and sometime he could be quite insistent on trying to climb down the steps on his own . . . but we fell down the stairs once before, and after that my Mommy always carried him down to the last three steps. She said I was to big to carry that far, so she'd hold my hand and walk me down the flight of steps.
With his hand once again reaching inside his suit pocket Ervin waits, then abruptly flings the door open and with the demeanor of a car salesman greeting a perspective client. He looks down into the face of the small black child. Curiously he study's the small boy's face as if to ask the child why are you here. You've got to know that you don't belong here with these folk.
Hey son! Come here!
Tenderly lifting the boy into his arms as if he was his own. Let me show you something. Without a whimper the small child lets Ervin carry him into our home. Yeah, there you go!
Ervin was stunned by how disarming his charm worked upon the small black child. As Gerald's eyes study over Ervin's face, seeking for emotions for reassurance. The man who looked just like him smiles, and then turns his attention to the room. Looking around in preoccupied with thought.
Hey son! You want to play a game? Let’s bounce on the bed.
Laverl, take the boy in the kitchen.
Well, I'll be damned? Sorry, Charlie! What the hell boy do you think I'm talking about?
Lifting me up in her arms, her hand tenderly press my head against her shoulder. What do you want me to do with him?
Let him play with some matches.
With a smirk he sighs, Sorry, Charlie!
Once again I can hear the water is running in the bathroom, while Laverl is impatiently focused rambling through the kitchen drawers. Her agitated face thinking and rethinking, as if confronting herself. Asking herself why she can't make a decision. And then involuntarily, words burst from her lips.
I can't find any. Oh, I found them.
Show the boy how to light them!
Fumbling pushing open the wooden package, she take a match from it and its set before me on the white formica table. In a nervous presentation, the stick is scratched against the side of the box. And it ignites, hissing at as it burns. Here. Now you try.
My Mommy lied to me, she's never lied to me before. She's not all right!
My Mommy's bleeding.
As if this thing was not supposed to happen. The tiny wooden crate slips from within her trembling grasp, crashing to the table then bouncing off, it tumbles down to the floor, where it bursts spilling out its contents.
God damn Phillip. Won't you just shut up! Then trying to gain control of the tone in her voice. Your Mommy is all right! She said so. Remember? That's all that this white woman would do, she'd yell and lie. She didn't like me, she wanted me to be like her son Richard. But Richard's friends said that I was a nigger. They didn't like niggers.
No! I saw it Laverl. My Mommy's bleeding!
Hey Laverl! Get the kid a damned band aid. His mommy's bleeding.
That's alright. I got 'em.
Ervin enters the kitchen wearing my father's black suit, and carrying a tin of bandages.
Here you go son. Sticking out my hand.
No! You get these until after you light a match.
Ok!I agreed, I wanted my Mommy back. As he retreats back into the living room. I realize that my three year old dexterity cannot comprehend how to manipulate the cumbersome twigs to get them to get them to ignite.
Entering the kitchen again. What! You still haven't lit one. Ok son! I'll give you one more chance. Pointing at the stove. All you have to do is turn that knob, right there. Can you do that?
I can do that! I take hold of the large button and turn, but it doesn't move, so I pretend as though it does. There!
Damn! Boy! What can you do? Here, get out the way. Grabbing me by the head, guiding me out of his way. He stops investigating the knobs, impatiently looking up at Laverl whose intently looking down at him, studying his every move. Woman get outta here, and leave the boy right where he is.
What do you want me to do?
Take the newspapers from that stand over there by the sofa and spread em around on the floor.
You heard me! With a smirk he smiles as if laughing to himself about a joke he just heard. Boy, hand me a match.
I take one of the sticks from the floor, and turn toward the man standing at the kitchen stove. The blue flame is pouring up toward the ceiling. Now put it in there. Directing me to put the match inside the fire. And as I do the red tip of the stick fizzles sprouting a yellow illumination that blackens the stick as it burns. Put some more in there. Is that all you can hold. Put em in there. Hurry up boy! You want those band aids don't you? I'll give em to you as soon as you get finished. Let me know when you get finished. He's gone. So pretending to take up all the matches from off the floor, with both hands I fling my imaginary objects onto the stove, then gallop into the living room. All finished!
Is that right?
In the living room Laverl nervously stands there staring at Ervin rumbling through our house, tossing papers around on the living room floor. With a long paper torch in his hand Ervin hurriedly touches it's flame onto the curtains and wall paper. Then balling up a piece of news paper he tosses it to me.
Here, kick that around. Watching him kick the flaming paper ball around on the floor. I kick at the one near my feet. What's the matter with you boy, you don't want to play with me.
Then leading me by the hand to the my bedroom door. Hey, Sorry Charlie! Where's your friend? I think he's hiding under your bed.
Standing behind me, he pushes to door open and I look inside. But the bedroom where I once played is glowing. It's yellow flames have melting into my box of toys. The flames behind it are melting into the walls too. Turning the white curtains into ash and billows of gray black smoke. Guiding me to my Mommy's head where I would often lay, and look into her eyes. Ervin gives me a shove into the burning room, but before my foot can take half a step, with a whoosh the door slams itself shut, pushing me out. Mommy, mommy! I race over to her side. But she's still asleep.
Damn! Startled Ervin jerks his hand back from the doorknob. You can see in his face, his heart is racing in panic from the flames all around us. And somewhat annoyed at his own fear, he reaches into the bathroom taking the tin of bandages from off the sink. Looking around at the smoke. The smoke has driven Laverl onto the stars in the hallway, where she whispers, calling Ervin's name. Without a word, looking at the couch as it slowly begins to burn on one of the edges. Ervin tosses the tin of bandages at me, and I snarl with it, trying to get a clicking sound from the latch. The hallway door bangs closed. Stumbling down the stairs, they're gone.
As the room became clouded, each heated breath I breathed scorched into my lungs. I watched my mommy sleep, the flames engulf her body. The sizzle of her flesh, and then a pop, her body moved. She was on fire, tears streamed from her eyes. I saw her love but I was terrified. Terrified of someone that I had loved so much.
I ran to the door, the latch was to far for me to reach. And I didn’t know how to open it anyway. As I stood there stomping trying to figure out the door I saw a flaming angel. The cool air felt fresh as she calmly opened the door. I rushed remembering to take only one step at a time. I had fallen down them so much that I had stopped crying from the bumps to my head. All the time I was calling to my Mommy. As I stood there alone at the outside of the entrance of our second story house I called for her. Confused, crying, but I didn’t even know what the fuck confusion was. I don’t know if it was the burn of the fire but all I could do is cry. Didn’t notice the tears on my face, until I noticed a voice. The only thing I could feel was afraid, I had know way of understanding what was going on in my life. The Firemen someone lifted me up and out of the way, and spoke to me, little boy why are you crying. Then as the Fireman tried to talk to me, Laverl appeared.
He’s calling for his cat. I’m his mother.
That’s not my Mommy.
Ms. we’re going to need to talk to you. So, I’m gonna need to ask you some questions. Here’s the telephone number, you need to contact me at.
Laveral kinda dragged lifted me to the car. I don't think she was realized that my motor skills were adult sized yet. Quit doing that and come on.
I don't remember saying anything to them. They were talking, but it was garbled. I think they might have wanted an emotional response, but I just didn't care.
For a while I lived with the Boozers and the Gilbergs were there. I preferred to lay out in the yard, all day and all night. Alice cared about me, she used to call me Phillip Harris, my Aunt Gurtrude did the same thing, but I didn’t know them. Other than her nieces and nephews, along with Laverl's kids who kept telling me, I did something bad. I just didn't know them. They were just some people who had some really fucked up ways.
Then they'd tell me what I had to say in court. I'm three years old, what's a court? Say this, say that. Funny how you can smell fear, at such an early age. I was three years old, and everything that these people feared became something for me to laugh at.
Every once in a while I'd spend time with the police. they took me back into the burnt rubble of our home, but I didn't recognize it, none of it made any sense, and they had a hard time trying to explain it to me. But I remember for some reason, I began to cry, and these white men responded to my tears, making it all the more confusing that people could care.
There would be many more attempts against my life, each attempt made to look like it was just an accident, or as if it were something I brought upon myself.
1337 Flatbush appartment 2F Brooklyn, New York A young Latino girl used to watch through my window as I slept, I was complimented, she was beautiful. But it wasn't as innocent as that. She was clocking when I would fall alseep. The latest attempt, a young man broke into my apartment, while I was sleeping. I could here the dogs barking, and the latch click, but I couldn't move. My drink had been poisoned with a neuro toxin. From there, I seem to have blacked out. When I woke, my face had been beaten, and there were hypodermic needle wounds around my eye, no blood anywhere else, not on my pillow case or the floor or walls, the wounds were bloody soar but clean. It was a message, from Richard Gilberg, he wanted me to fear that he could get me anytime, anywhere. Then at 5:00 a.m. while taking a shower, I heard one of the tenants from the up stars apartment arguing with a young man. "you broke into my apartment. What are you doing here. Tell me." I put on my shirt and drawers and went out side into the hall. There was the young man, I grabbed him by his bullet proof vest, and hit him about three times in the face. Look at my face." Startled they both looked.
It was all a set up, even the Latino gang had been set up. They were given drugs tainted with MRSA, a flesh eating virus. The drugs were supposed to have come from the Russians, so my guess is we all were set, and the bullets were supposed to go flying in every direction, taking me out in a gang related incident.