|"Satan" photo by dorothy charles banks|
New resident: Mr. Devil, can i get a cool glass of water, a cold soda or a bowl of ice cream?
Longtime resident: you’re new here. he’s not gonna make it easy for you. he lives up to everything you heard. this old asshole is meaner than a toothless bulldog trying to bite meat off a bone.
back to my nightmare , , , when i got to the Heavenly Gates--there were 2: Before and After--i was stopped at the Before Gate, and handed a sealed envelope like on the Academy Awards Show. i was told by a smart aleck angel to stand outside the gate and read the postcard twice: one time to myself and then out loud to her. this no personality nitwit was acting like i couldn’t read!
you give some people a little authority, or a half-ass decent position, and they let it go to their head. in this case a bleached halo. i guess the halo meant she had some kind of authority. before this dreamish nightmare is over i’m going to tell her to put some decorations on that halo, some lipstick on her chapped lips, and get some braces for them buckteeth!
i read the note three /3/ times to make sure i got it right the first /2/ times. the note said very clearly! Skip Heaven, Hell and Purgatory! Go straight to a designated KKK headquarter in Alabama, or go directly to the nearest pecan tree, hang yourself, or let the Klan boys do it. The choice is yours!
what the holy bullshit is she talking about!? this don’t even make common sense! i banged on Gate #2 in protest. the homely angel had disappeared. i know she heard me but she pretended like she didn’t. “Miss Angel! Miss Angel! Girl you hear me calling you! don’t make me call Jesus on you! i got a pocket full of quarters on my purse! i want to go to purgatory first like everybody else! i want to go to purgatory like everybody else. that’s my right!”
“carrie mae benjamin where did you get that old wives tale from?” the homely angel asked, calling me by my full name. “there are only one of two places you’re going. you can come up here, or go keep the Devil company. we got a long standing contract with him! i’m sure your mama told you a hard head makes a soft ass! your head is hard.” there it is! i knew this buckteeth cow was from the South the minute she started popping off.
“you may be a halo wearing Southern Belle up here in Heaven, hanging out with the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost, but girlfriend you don’t know who you messing with! you better wake up ask somebody!”
“shut up and shove off!” the smart aleck told me, pointing a finger in my face. before i could tell her to get her anemic finger out of my face she zapped me to Alabama against my will and under strong protest.
“i’m going to have a talk with Jesus and his Daddy about your nasty attitude! i’m coming back up here and play the Jungle Boogie on your stretch marks!” the threats didn’t stop the zap. i whirled and twirled through the polluted air like a drunk crazy acrobat. “i’m going tattoo my sister’s married name on your flat chest! i’m going melt the fat off your thick ankles! i’m going to slap you so hard you’ll have to blow your nose from the back of your fat head! i’m going to . . . ”
i landed in the Alabama KKK headquarter with a thud, knocking over a gray folding chair and two spit cans.
“what’s that?” a KKKer wondered out loud. 10 of them were sitting around in the wooden shack. they looked around to see who, or what had invaded their executive suite, uninvited. because i was invisible, courtesy of the smart aleck, buckteeth angel, they couldn’t see me.
besides, even i knew better than go in there like i was applying for a job! my mama called me crazy five times a day, but she never called me a fool! i wasn’t going stand in the middle of this shack pretending i’m James Brown singing I’m Black and I’m Proud!
a black man about 30 years old was standing in the middle of the room telling jokes. very, very bad jokes! he was carrying on like a minstrel show entertainer. brotherman was rolling his eyes, tap dancing, and singing for his life. “Mr Klan y’all! take my wife’s neck, please! she got two necks! i tell her all the time she can spare one!” brotherman didn’t get one laugh. a grunt. a groan. a giggle. “on the way over here to this neck tie party i fell down and broke my neck! ha-ha-ha-ha!” silence with a big fat Shut-the-Fuck-up! “come on y’all . . . that was funny!”
brotherman wasn’t ready to give up his neck that easy! he was determined to make the Kmales laugh, giggle, grunt or groan from boredom. he wasn’t ready for a neck tie party in his honor! laughing at his own joke before he told it, brotherman said, “the other day i saw a horse trying to hang a man! the farmer run up to the horse, telling the animal to back off. “hold it, Horse’s Ass.” that was the horse’s farm name. “you can’t go hang ol’ Jim-Jim! he the best employee I got!”
the stone faced audience of 10 was unmoved. they were as unforgiving as Clint Eastwood. but brotherman was on a comedic roll. he told another pitiful joke. “a funny thing happen to me on the way to this . . . “
plump, muscle-bound KKKer said to brotherman, “i’m gone break your face if you don’t make us laugh pretty soon, colored boy. i’m gone have your teeth looking for a new set of gums! you get that?” the KKKers bust out laughing. “we gone butter yo’ black ass and call you a biscuit, then we gone feed you to our pet dog Fluffy! he likes buttered biscuits and dark meat!”
brotherman looked at the group of half-hooded Klanners. he wished he was at home eating a hot supper and drinking a tall glass of strawberry Cool Aid. being that he was no slick headed, eye-rolling buffoon in real life, brotherman jump started an upbeat “I wish I was in the land of Dixie . . .”
“you in Dixieland, colored boy!” a Kmale said. “we gone lookaway whilst you take a look see at this rope we fixing to hang round your neck. if you don’t mind we fixin’ to stretch your neck inch or two.” the KKKers burst out laughing.
suddenly i was visible (courtesy of the halo wearing, smart aleck angel.) i didn’t know i was visible until a KKKer looked in my direction. i was getting used to being invisible. it was safer.
“well, well look-a-here! it must be raining Alabama coons! here’s another one the good Lord done sent us! let’s hang’em both at the same time! get that extra rope, Jr.!’’ a scrawny, snaggletooth Klanner said to Jr, who was clapping his hands with too much joy. “get that fancy one we got from New York City the other day!” Jr. obeyed like a happy puppy fetching a rubber bone. he didn’t seem real bright. in other words, switching on Jr.’s brain wasn’t going to light up a room.
sounding southern educated and properly raised, i asked the KKK gang: “does your moms and dads know you all are this shack talking about hanging innocent people? that’s not Christian! it’s not Godly!”
“it’s whatever we say it is, coon girl. you can bet your best gallon of moonshine our mama knows what we up to! me and Jr.’s mama is sitting right over there!” he pointed at a woman sitting in the corner, smoking a pipe, drinking moonshine and chewing on a wad of tobacco. “she used to be in a circus, along with our daddy. one day he got run over by a elephant. Kilt him dead.” his mama smiled open mouthed, showing all four of her teeth: three at the top and one at the bottom.
“does you yo’ mama know you fixing to get hung?” she asked. Miss Mama had a sinister smile on her lips. she delighted at the prospect of watching a double lynching. i didn’t find any humor in her delight or her question.
not being of ignorant heritage, i knew i had to do something fast. i fell to my knees and sang the old southern spiritual “Mammy”. it’s not really a spiritual but southern white folks love it, just like they love “Suwannee River.”
“let’s get to hanging’em right now!” a KKKer yelled from the back of the shack. i got to take my family to church for a revival tomorrow. I want to get a good night’s sleep!”
“wait . . . let me tell y’all this joke i heard the other day,” i said, smiling at everybody. brotherman was deathly quiet. he was sweating like a summer-time cotton picker. “did y’all hear the one about the white dude who . . . “
“naw. and you ain’t gone hear it again neither,” said a Kmale, sitting on a red-white and blue folding chair.
“well have y’all heard the old saying, “death be not proud?” i couldn’t think of a joke. and being dead damn sure wasn’t something to be proud of!
somebody in the shack said, “naw I ain’t heard it, but we gone be proud when we hang y’all from them trees in the back woods down yonder.”
just as they put the ropes around our necks i woke up, holding onto my neck for dear life, and a breath of fresh air. i jumped straight up, and sat on the side of my bed, my eyes wide open, searching the room for the KKK. i was alone. so i thought. sitting on my brand new Goodwill dresser was none other than the halo wearing, smart aleck angel. she wasn’t looking happy.
“what do you want now?” i asked. “you need to worry somebody else to bother and leave me and my dream alone!”
“you might well go back to sleep, honey. you’re going to hang tonight. i’m tired of fooling with you and this dream. i’ve got more important things to do.” ..
i was more than ready to knock out this halo dipshit. she was walking on my last nerve. “and i’m sick of you!” I told her. “get your Atlanta House Wives ass off my dresser before i knock you off!”
“whatever. i’m not going to follow you in this silly dream tomorrow night! I’ve got a special assignment, and it’s not you!”
“go suck on a lemon, or whatever you can wrap your chapped lips around!”
“and you can get ready to hang by your neck until you see Jesus’s face looking back at you!” she zapped me back to Alabama; same shack, same crowd. brotherman was telling very, very bad jokes again.
“i’m going to haunt your schizophrenic grandmamma, and your crippled daddy if he’s alive! i hope your liver have a heart attack! i hope your first child is born with three legs and one eye! Uh-oh! Here comes those KKKers with that fancy New York rope . . .”