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Prologue
HATRED. CONFUSION. MISERY.
Hatred of the choices he had been given. Confusion about how a country with so much “opportunity”
always made niggers rely on death to seek prosperity. And misery because his innocence had been
snatched away by an Uncle years ago… unforgiven lust. Those were the emotions that guided the man’s
legs through the darkness. He walked with his pistol in one hand, a cell phone in the other. His face was
rough but his hair was permed with the scent of pink lotion rising off of it.
“Ima kill these bitches tonight…” He spoke in that female, high pitched, voice he had crafted so well over
the years. His whole manner was like a woman’s but but he was male. A black male. Detectives were on
his ass. He had failed to show up for court. He wanted revenge before he went back to his essence. He
had been ducking in the shadows from squad cars and unmarked vehicles all night, hiding in the safety
of blackness whenever they rolled past. He knew it was just a matter of time. The officers and
bondsman had orders to bring him in dead or alive. A menace.
He imagined his funeral would be a mockery! He wasn’t going back to jail. He had paid a bondsman
100,000 dollars for his freedom and wasn’t turning it back in for nobody. He had “fed” charges, wasn’t
like the state where they arrest and then build cases. The “feds” had their case, an airtight one. So the
only gavel he planned to hear now was the hammer he had pulled back on his 45 caliber. He wanted
Just-ice, not Justice.
The wide street “he/she” walked was almost completely dark. The green street signs passed
marked not only the location of a southeastern neighborhood but the location of a mentality that saw
violence as the only way to deal with conflict resolution.
When the faulty street lights clicked on, the only mechanical illumination you could see were long slivers
of yellow light.Faulty.On then two seconds…off. The man cursed under his breath. He kept looking up into
the heavens cursing them for never providing him enough light. The moon, only half exposed, hid the rest
of his body for a later time. The man’s New York accent was wrapped inside the drawl of Virginia’s
Tidewater area. He had been walking around this neighborhood for hours. Softly…elevated yards on his
left, sunken bushes on his right. The scene was typical for Viriginia, family homes bordered by low rent,
two story apartment complexes. The street he walked had four apartement complexes right after the
other. He continued his search.
When the lights clicked off, he disappeared again, reappearing five to six steps forward. Closer.
Trees were scattered around him; they dropped leaves that floated like little canoes through the cool air-
yellow, orange and brown canoes that skidded across the asphalt when they hit.
Skkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk! Skkkkkkkkkkkkk! Some even scraped the back of his leather jacket as they
floated. He felt them, but he didn’t feel them. What was natural was no longer of consequence. The only
“thing” that moved him now was the “unnatural, the cold steel on his hip. Metal, loaded down with
hollow point bullets that could shred through human bone. Bullets that would be responsible for yet
another young life, underneath a fall sky. Somebody had to pay for his choices. Somebody had to pay for
his deep six into the justice system. Why not Medgar Richardson, his son Amon? Since they had stepped
in and exposed a fatal secret that had rocked the very core of the only real friendship he had ever
had…why not them…why not them?
A police cruiser turned the corner. Circular lights. The man’s heart sped up and he dipped the
pistol down by his side. He had disappeared again, underneath another street lamp.
Once he reappeared, bullet and flesh would become one. Genocide. In his mind, it was already
written, life would be taken. The only question was who he would murder firstthe father, the son or
their holy ghosts?
1
Were Jehovah’s Witnesses we speak out in fearlessness, ours is
the God of true prophecy what he foretells comes to beeee…
LOVE-PEACE AND UNITY. That was the benefit of the bi-racial worship taking place within their cipher.
The Jehovah‘s Witnesses all sang and then sat, together, in their Kingdom Hall, listening hard while the
“brother” in front of the microphone told them why it was wrong to associate with those who were not
Witnesses.
The wood trimmed interior was clean, decorated with biblical paintings and slogans in tune with
the belief that Jehovah was the almighty god and Jesus Christ, the pale face on the wall pictures, his
almighty son.
The Hall, built in only 48 hours on the labor of the witnesses themselves and friends from other Kingdom
Halls, was in Aiken County. It was surrounded by fantastically tall Carolina pine trees, scattered trailers,
and wood panel houses off in the distance, that made you think they were straight out of a Southern
Living magazine. The building sat at the end of the straight and narrow… a dirt road littered with
rocks that the kids threw while their parents milled around inside after meetings to talk to one another.
Their church was fewer than fifteen electric posts from the outskirts of the city limits of where the
Richardson familes lived. North Augusta, South Carolina-population 16,000...right across the 15
th
street
bridge from Augusta, GA.
The shared philosophy of who was, who is, and who will always be, the one and only true god was the
glue bonding the mixed sea of faces. The only other time you saw this many whites and black adults
together was at some type of youth sporting event. When a football was getting thrown down field or a
ball dunked through the hoop everybody was together but besides the Jehovah Witnesses, it just wasn’t
like that. Even in the early nineties the South was behind but at least it was honest: a nigger was a nigger
and a cracker was a cracker-except for in the Kingdom Hall.
South Carolina was an area of the country where swimming pools was in every apartment complex, in the
backyards of most houses and part of every recreation center in the State. People legally lit fireworks as
a past time and wouldn’t trade the option of purchasing fresh fruits, vegetables at Farmers Markets for
the world. Especially since they were picked by the fingers of real live migrant workers.
The city of North Augusta was a tiny town in the western part of a state that would later go on to
protest the rebel symbol in its flag, but, for now, imprisoned those content to ‘leave things be‘.
“Amon, boy wake up…I ain’t gon tell you again!” Amon Richardson’s mother Faythe, yanked on the collar
of her son’s button shirt.Polo. He woke up in a funk. Amon was having that dream again, the one where
a teenage boy was dragged to the ground by two white men and violated. Why did he keep having that
dream?
When Amon was awake he couldn’t keep his eyes off the big butt black girls or the curvy legged white
ones. But for the past few months every time he fell asleep it was that dream again. He didn’t know if he
was the one in the dream, if the devil planted those thoughts in his head, or what. All he knew is he wanted
them to stop. And in the clouds of his adolescence those type of erotic visions made Amon question
himself. He already couldn’t get a girl to save his life because he was too black. Some of the white girls at
school loved his dark skin but for them to act on that love would have compromised too much. He wasn’t
popular enough for the handful of black girls they only wanted the varsity upperclassman or the light
skinned pretty boys.
“Alright Ma I’m up.” Amon was speaking to his mother but looked only at his father, Medgar, while he
was mumbled the words. Medgar had damn sure created Amon in the image of himself because they
looked so much alike that it made you question whether Faythe had even been involved in the process or
if Malcolm had just spit the boy out by himself.
All around the world Jehovah’s Witnesses held the same three meetings per week in their Kingdom
Halls.Two meetings, The Theocratic Ministry School and Book study were held during the week usually on
Tuesday’s and Thursday’s. The third meeting that consisted of an hour long speech by a “brotherand
coverage of the Watchtower magazine was on Sundays. The meetings during the week always started at
6 p.m.
"Friends before we start the next part of our meeting let’s open our song books to page 84 and
join each other in song”, a short, dark-skinned original man addressed the congregation. His wife sat in
the front row grinning. The man wore a drab gray suit purchased from the upscale Augusta Mall not on
Broadstreet or at the Regency Mall where the rest of the black folks shopped. The meeting was about to
get split up into the Witnesses version of a trinity…three meetings or schools as they were called. The
purpose of the Theocratic Ministry School was to improve the Witnesses speaking skills and familiarity
with the bible. Therefore, when they went out to knock on people’s doors (field service) they would be an
effective speakers. In certain parts of the service people acted out skits -one person was the Witness, the
other the person at the household door.
As was customary worldwide, the Kingdom Hall was built with three seperate rooms reffered to as
schools. School number one was the huge front room equipped with a wall length glass petition, it allowed
parent’s, who pulled their disobedient kid’s out of the meeting, to still see the podium. Prime Time. The
other two schools, equipped with window size glass panels, were smaller rooms and allowed a smaller
setting for people to give their talks and be critiqued. The Theocratic ministery school members picked to
give talks were notified weeks in advance by name and the sciptures they were to cover. Membership in
the Theocratic Ministry School was voluntary but an urged higher education.
A well mopped linoleum walk area separated the front schools from schools two and three. In the left
corner of the walk area was a water fountain and in the right corner near the entrance door was a book
store where Witness publications were sold by brothers before and after meetings.
Two young original people, black boys, stood in the rear, on the linoleum floor, wrangling microphone
cables. Two young whites sat off to the left corner manning the audio controls. Besides separating the
front room from the two smaller rooms in back, the shiny tiles allowed people a place to stretch
momentarily or scold their children quietly. The boys stood on its yellow surface preparing microphones
attached to long poles, which in another part of the service they would use to give voice to "friends" in
the audience who would be called on to answer questions from the lessons. They would move up, down
the carpeted aisles to whomever the minister at the podium selected from the throng of hands to answer.
The answers to the questions in the literature were prepared in advance. The purpose of the service was
to voice those answers but no questions of your own.
Warmth of familiarity blanketed the room, that southern blanket stitched with experiences in hospitality:
gatherings, sleepovers for the children, and, of course, cookouts in backyards and porches. These were
soldiers, who armed with their Watchtower and Awake magazines were commissioned to knock on every
door in whatever dog-filled, link- fenced neighborhood was mapped out on the daily itinerary. And only
then would the end come to the present world, when everyone had been presented with Jehovah’s will.
(put the scripture)
"Boy wake up and stand your butt up --this the last time ima tell you!” All the young witnesses boys had
little brief cases. Amars was scratched up and empty.
"Alright ma, I'm gettin up--dag!" Amon Richardson pulled his short, muscular, fifteen year old body up out
of the carpet backed chair standing listlessly between his mother, and taller, heavier twin-father Medgar.
The friends were singing the between service song. Voices were on high, floating like blue smoke, softly
up into the “heavens.”
Singing only the first verse, his mother, Faythe, pushed her ovulating ovaries past Amon, leaning in to her
hubby's ear, "Y'all embarrassing me tonight. Spose to be here to listen to your nephew bible readin and
here you are fallin asleep. Now this boy think he can do the same thing," her voice was heavy, but almost
lost against the room full of proud voices, in harmony proclaiming that they were Jehovah's Witnesses.
Medgar could really care less- he was fulfilling an obligation. He shook his head as if to let her know he
understood, then wiped his mouth in an attempt to keep his cool. He wasn’t scared of his wife, but since
he just did’nt want to hear her bullshit when they got home, he decided to go ahead and pay closer
attention. It was funny to him how the witnesses knew everything, but how to keep a good job. Well some
of them anyway, the “chosen” all had good jobs and money…dumb ass niggers couldn’t understand that
they was the only ones working nickle and dime jobs. He was tired of arguing to his wife about that.
Everytime Medgar looked out of the corner of his eye and saw not only his physical brother, Martin, in a
blue pinstriped suit, but also the root of his brother’s passivity and cowardice… their father. And though
the man who had brought him into existence thirty seven years ago had died last year while playing
checkers in a nursing home downstate, every time Medgar stomached a look at his younger brother, he
saw nothing but his dad’s reflection.
Faythe moved on into the aisle toward the ladies room smiling at all the "sisters" who gazed her way.
Though she was bearing her long, yellow teeth, hate was on her heart for her husband. You would think
he would have had enough respect to at least stay awake and pay attention since she had stooped to the
level of a hoe just for him to come…
“DON’T GET AN attitude with me…you said whatever I wanted- and that’s what I want.
“You are a worldly man, you know that, if it wasn’t for Jehovah I wouldn’t even be with you.” Worldly was
the word for anyone who wasn’t enlightened enough to be a Jehovah’s Witness. The world was filled with
two types of people the witnesses and the worldly. And Faythe used that word as much as Medgar did
“cracker.” “Can we at least go in the bathroom…you know that boy at the door listenin to every word we
say?”, and Amon was at the door crotched down low trying to hear his parents talking but their stereo
was up too loud so he mostly heard tones. He had been in his room… got in his one hundred practice
swings for the day then he noticed his parents had slipped into their bedroom.
Medgar grinned, “How ever you wanna do it.” He grabbed his belt buckle allowing his 40 in the waist jeans
to drop straight to the floor. He stood there with his snake suffocating inside some too tight white briefs.
Faythe mumbled, “gotta go through all this just to get you to go hear your own nephew give his first
talk…don’t make no sense.” A talk was witness lingo for when someone in the congregation had to give a
bible presentation. Faythe staggered into the bathroom unbuttoning her robe and slipping it off her big
buxom frame. Weight Watchers was doing her a little good, but she was still big. Faythe had all the right
curves but it just looked like somebody had blown them up with a tire pump.
Her husband walked in the bathroom still grinning. He walked in buck naked with his snake in his hand..
Faythe already knew how he liked it there was no need to drag it out, so she leaned over the toilet seat
raising her left butt cheek so that her dry vagina was completely visible. They hadn’t had sex in weeks and
wouldn’t have sex for more weeks after this, but Medgar fingered her anyway and when she was good
and moist he stuck his charmer deep, deep, deep into her womb until she moaned above the music. And
that’s when Amon knew exactly what was going on… after many strokes Medgar passed his seed, reared
back like he was dizzy. Then, Faythe stood up cursing the day he was born as she grabbed for a rag.
As the song ended, the room of "friends" sat back down waiting for the front room school to begin. Faythe
returned to her seat frowning at Medgar, whenever she was sure no one else was paying attention. The
room was then divided some "friends" went to the back rooms to give or listen to presentations. The
Richardson’s stayed seated, their kinfolk was about to take the stage.
As his cousin Prince was introduced (tonight young Brother Richardson will…) and began moving toward
the wood bordered stage, the only thing Amon could think about was their last interaction together-how,
even though they were family, they had fought just the other day, like enemies over a one on one
basketball game. They were too much alike to get along: both intoxicated by competitive spirit, and
neither one really being “in” reality, a condition that would change in the months to come. even if it cost
severe losses in their family units to achieve.
"Brothers and sisters tonight I will be covering Genesis chapter 42 verses 1-22." Prince was a tall beanstalk
of a boy with a strong presence. He stood over the podium peering out into the crowd, with all the
confidence of a skilled politician. It was hard to tell that this sticky night in June was his first in front of a
microphone. The young girls in the audience almost couldn’t stand it Prince looked so good.
He momentarily locked eyes with Amon who frowned at him, rubbed his middle finger across his nose to
taunt him, then started to feign coughing to the point where everyone turned to see if he was going to
choke. Medgar looked at him, he stopped, then Medgar placed his attention back on the podium. Prince
raised his voice to a shouting level commanding the diversion of attention back to him, his crisp blue suit
and the black Bass penny loafers loaded with two shiny dimes instead of pennies.
"I hate Prince." Amon was disgusted because of how close his father seemed to be paying attention to
every word that came from the golden complexioned boy’s mouth. Maybe he needed to start giving
talks to get his father’s attention. Amon held his New World Translation bible begrudgingly; it was open
to Genesis, but he refused to follow along with his cousin’s articulate reading like everyone else. Amon
could read well too, he just had never been interested in giving talks.
The New World Translation was the ‘witnesses’ own version of the scriptures. They still kept a King
James for those who felt their bible was grafted. Some people’s( house holders) doors they knocked on
while in Field Serivice, didn’t think a bible written in plain English that substituted the name Jehovah for
God was valid. Field Service was what the witnesses called it when they went to peoples doors to tell
them about Jehovah.(scripture)
Every so often Faythe cut her eye over at Amon. She knew that her son felt a twinge of envy. She knew
that lately Amon filtered everything through his father’s level of attention. Faythe had often confided to
her sister in law, Pearl, that she was worried about what would happen if Medgar didn’t stop working so
much and spend time with his child. He was a teenage boy who needed the attention only a male parent
can give. Pearl always told Faythe that Medgar was bent on being part of the world. He was a lost cause
and she should pray that in the new system of things she would get a good husband. Of course Pearl didn’t
have that problem. Her husband, Malcolm, spent time with both their kids-just as he was commanded
him to do.
Speaking of Medgar, he could feel his son’s long, bony fingers tapping his arm but chose for the moment
to ignore them. He felt like, out of respect, Amon should listen to what his cousin had to say. Yet, instead
of communicating that, he continued to marvel at his nephew's skill on the microphone. Medgar was
shocked; he didn’t even know Prince could even read, let alone get up, talk in front of people. As bad as
his brother allowed the boy’s grades to get sometimes the oration was a miracle.
Amon had been trying, to no avail, to get his fathers attention, ever since he got off from work earlier in
the day. 'Prince ain't saying nothin we ain't already heard before-- bet Uncle wrote every word of it for 'em
anyway. Dadee act like he so into what that punk sayin- he won't even let me ask him if he still comin to
my game tomorrow.' He knew his dadee liked Prince better but he wondered if it was for the same
reasons as everybody else.
Having tried again to tap his father's arm, break that trance, Amon snatched his hand away from the
baby blue of his fathers dress shirt, stood, and made an exodus to the bathroom. He sat in the lone stall,
with his bottom on top of the toilet seat. He reached in his pocket, pulling out a cigarette lighter. He
caressed it; the way camouflaged rednecks fondled their hunting rifles! Ironically, the lighter was white
with a big yellow smiley face on it. Ironic, because the only way he could smile like that was if his father
could put out the flames burning his heart, with wisdom: the water of words. Relationship. They had none!
One minute Medgar loved Amon the next he acted like he hated the boy. Two personalities. All it took
was for Amon to do something that he didn’t like and then the hate in Megars eyes was enough to cause
confusion.
“Boy don’t stay in there too long!” Amon had risen from his seat and headed to bathroom. Faythe
burned a hole in his back as moved up the aisle. He walked into the bathroom and entered the stall.
Solitude.
After a few minutes somebody entered, little feet that shuffled to the urinal. Amon walked out of the stall.
He looked at the wheps on the little boys legs as he dropped his little suit pants and tippy toed for a leak.
The boy turned and you could see tear stains all down his shirt. When the boy saw Amon he smiled. Amon
walked over, knelt and helped the pull his pants up.
“What you get a whuppin for this time?” The little brown skinned boy, Princes brother and Amons cousin,
Richy, shook his head slowly.
“She said I was moving around too much in my seat while Prince is reading. She took me outside and beat
me.” Amon hugged his little cousin.
“Don’t worry about it he’ll be done in a few minutes.” The boy shook his head again this time up and
down.
“I Love you Amon.”
“I Love you too Richy.” Amon was nice to Richy unlike Prince who bullied his little brother from sun up to
sun down. The little boy left, Amon went back in the stall and sat down trying to block his cousins voice
coming through the PA system.
His father entered minutes behind him knocking on the stall. They were the only two inside the
bathroom Amon knew it was his father, simply, by the smell of Old Spice aftershave. Medgar walked up
to the stall, quickly craning his neck over the door. Amon fumbled to stuff the lighter back in his suit
pocket. Then he opened the stall, stepped out.
"What's wrong with you boy? Why the hell are you sittin in here with that damn lighter?” Amon looked
up at his dad but did not answer. Medgar yanked open the stall door. Amon prayed that his dad wasn’t
about to knock him upside his head for having the lighter. He had been warned about playing with lighters
before. You don’t want to hear your cousin’s talk! Na’ll all you wanna do is play wit lighters. When your
black ass get locked up you’ll stop. And don’t call me to come get you out… after you burn some shit
down…these crackers gon lock your black ass up.Watch and see and I aint’ coming to get your black ass
out-cause I dun told you! "
Eye to eye they stared at each other. Amon loved the fact his dad had left his cousins talk to come see
about him, but he hated that it was probably only because his Mom had told him to do it.
"Daddy are you coming to my game tomorrow?" That was the bullshit question. He really wanted to ask
his dad if did he not love him as much or something--had he done something wrong that, made him not
want to interact with him and talk. If this problem was recent, he could have blamed it on his inability to
pass his driver’s test after two tries. He had to be the only fifteen year old in North Augusta who wasn’t
driving on a temporary drivers permit. Amon could play the mess out some baseball and basketball but
he couldn’t pass that test for nothing in the world. And each time he had to deliver the news to his daddy,
he saw the obvious disappointment and that little sneer that said, “boy you ain’t shit are you?” But that
problem wasn’t recent it had been going on now for a few years. Medgar had failed to establish
communication with the very seed he had created in his own image.
Medgar was still mad about the lighter but his emotions changed. He was hot and cold like that. "Boy, you
can bet your life I wouldn‘t miss that game tomorrow-if the world was about to end I wouldn‘t miss seeing
you play in that game!" Amon smiled. Medgar rubbed his hand across his sons box faded head then told
him they better get back out front if they didn’t want to his mothers mouth later. On the way out of the
bathroom Amon observed the squares in the linoleum how each one connected perfectly to the next.
How together they formed a large surface for people to walk over. Every square was alike and in every
way. Amon looked at the squares and then through the glass partition at the followers seat in the
audience. He looked down again and wondered what had happened to the tiles that didn’t want to fit in
the floor design. He was a deep thinker but the thought came and went.
Prince was still at the podium weaving his magic. A young chocalate witness girl, whose mother was
outside beating the black off her little brother, commented to her older sister about how cute Prince was
with his curly brown hair. Amon heard what she said and frowned down at her as he walked past. To him
she was stupid--anybody dark like him wasn’t cute- at least not yet, public opinion had yet to shift. And
she and the other girls in the Kingdom Hall told him so every chance they got. Amon called them all types
of names to even get them to that point but still blamed them for propagating what he told to feel looking
in the mirror every morning. And unfortunately, in a world steeped in ignorant racism, self-hate there was
no one, at the moment, to tell him otherwise.
"Friends, if you follow as I read the final verse. And verse twenty-tworeads: AND REUBEN ANSWERED
THEM SAYING,"SPEAK I NOT UNTO YOU, SAYING, DO NOT SIN AGAINST THE CHILD; AND YE WOULD NOT
HEAR? THEREFORE, BEHOLD, HIS BLOOD IS ALSO REQUIRED.
"You see friends the parents have a responsibility not to sin against the children--we are not the only ones
who do wrong," Prince smiled his little smile, everyone in the audience chuckled except Amon. "In a sense
the blood of the children is required for you to get into the new system of things living in Jehovah's
paradise on Earth. Us children are dependent upon the parents to teach and train us right in accordance
to the ways of Jehovah. If not, we perish and so does the future of living in a new system of things---Thank
you."
When Prince stepped down off the stage it was to the thunder of hands clapping. He went straight to his
father, mother sitting in the front row and gave them both hugs. Amon could'nt help but feel less than
excited. Little Richy stayed mannequin still in his seat as his mother basked in Princes limelight.
All these people clappin need to see how he act when he ain't in the Kingdom Hall. At least I don't play
with Jehovah like he does.
AFTER THE MEETING ended, Amon lifted his mamas set of car keys from out of her purse, then sat in the
car until she and Medgar came out. He did not feel like seeing everybody congratulating Prince. When
Amon’s parents got to the car, they were still bubbling over with excitement at how well they their
nephew had done. Medgar soon got the car in motion along the rock filled dirt leading out to the main
road. Amon sat in the back seat of their cream colored Buick contemplating.
No longer waiting for a break in his parent’s discussion of Prince, Amon leaned between the gap in the
two front seats (boy sit back and get your seat back on) and asked," Daddy what did that scripture mean
about chilruns blood being required ----I’on understand," which was a lie because he did understand. His
mama turned, looked at him in disbelief but for the moment her mouth shut.
"It means if you don't start stayin awake in them meetings your mama will beat the blood from you ----
it's required!" Medgar laughed his big laugh banging his work swollen hands down on the steering wheel.
His teeth-baring joke amused him only; he cut on the radio to the oldies station, seeming to dismiss any
attempt Amon may have made to continue.(what song) Amon slammed his body back on the backseat
cloth, resting his head on the side door mold.
Sensing her son’s attitude, Faythe turned, straining her neck to get a glimpse of him," Well, Amon,
Jehovah requires the blood of children as kind of a payment to enter the new system of thangs. Everything
in a person shows in their blood. Everything. Medgar glared into the side of his wife’s face. She always
had to have the last word on anything religious. But as the parents we---", Faythe stopped mid sentence.
A deer’s wide eyes lit up in the Buick’s headlights. Medgar swerved, barely able to stay on the narrow
road. "Medgar, why don't you watch where you going?"
Amon laid back listening to a whole new argument for the day telling himself that his dadee, for some
reason, maybe did not like him or love him either.
Carelessly, he pulled the lighter from the inner pocket of his suit jacket pocket, no one was paying
any attention to him anyway, Amon caressed the plastic mold. He prayed that Megar showed up for the
game so he could when and receive all the glory from thine father. Little did Amon know; life as he knew
it was about to change.