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