The Exclusive, Explosive story
It was the only job he could convince his parole officer to let him have in pursuit of legal entrepreneurship. He enjoyed the freedom, travel, customers; the flirty, busty, teasing, women flashing skin. And the occasional hook up. He preferred cash, and knew how to bang out extra. Some of the businessmen, once in a while, gave solid business advice without making him feel shame of servitude.
Marcel locked his 1965 Lincoln Continental, and was strolling to his complex when he took the phone call. A sweet voice struck him deep. Powerful as the pull of the sea, fierce as a volcano’s fire, glided through.“ Am I speaking to Marcel? The good, dutiful chauffeur?”
Marcel contorted his face into a What the fuck expression; one used to back down liars, hustlers, and aggressors. He looked at the phone, expecting to see a familiar one.
“Are you there?”
“Who is this?” Marcel answered. Confused; he remembered first hearing a woman, but now a mans voice.
Marcel chuckled. “yeah-aight.” Marcel hung up. To him, God never showed up, when those most in need gave up their life in place of belief. Some magic secret of survival.
Instead, he saw self-enlightened matrimony, under the makeup of a savior who provided a clearer path to death than it’s so called holy spirit- hearted after- affects. Marcel believed; all blacks were baptized in the blood of devastation. And religion, was the well that deepened frustration. A drowning you couldn’t escape.
His phone rang again.
“Marcel. This is not a joke.” The voice stated in a sure, wavy tone. “I would like to hire you for transportation.” The voice continued.
Marcel, unaccustomed to… He could not decide what kind of accent he was hearing, something foreign, proper. So, he payed attention.
“I am here for a brief visit and would like to immerse myself in the livelihood of your city”
Marcel sulked; envisioning from the voice, a white male, calling himself god. He thought of driving around a slave owner. I ain’t no house negro. Shit I ain’t nobodies field negro either, and I never seen a white god besides cocaine. He felt the soil of life sticking, molding, deepening, solidifying, the grave he was trying to climb out of after leaving prison. the grave of the place he grew up in, fighting to drown him. His already thick intimidating build, intensified by his blackness, made him a monster, in and of color- the Frankenstein of every generation.
He was a teenager when he went to prison, floating from one dead pool to another with a solid frame from the weight of his skin. Like all experiments; released after times trial, he exited with the body of an adult. Mind like an ocean, soaking up everything in sight. Until… Damages, deep hidden, bubbled and rose to burst. And, when his mother died, he exploded. He rejected bastard symptoms and tried to shut out the mentality. Both were his plague
“Did my P.O. put you up to this?” Marcel asked, ready to hang up.
“No. My research has never failed or been wrong.” The voice breathed deep and exhaled heavy. A gust swayed passed Marcel’s nose hairs, smelling of fresh air on a wet day. “My word is true as life and death.”
Marcel winced from the statement’s sharp coldness. He felt a threatening truth. It was unnerving spoken as a positive.
Since he had driven and survived worse, Marcel agreed to chauffeur this person calling themselves god. I can just call him sir-hell naw- Mr! he thought; like the Spanish guys named Heyzeus but spelled Jesus.
This reminded Marcel of the time he was working as a cashier for a fast food joint. He took the order for a Spanish man named Christ. When Marcel asked a name for his order, he was given a license. Assuming, more so- wanting a misspelling, Marcel asked, “Chris?”
Staring, as if looking at Judas of pronunciation, Christ waited impatiently; his judging, arrogant, name - imposed holiness, confirmed-at that moment, what Marcel knew. This Christ, ain’t the real one, cuz that ain’t how he would act.
Marcel returned the Id. Hoping the man’s attitude and name, whatever it was, translated into a fulfilling life. No, day- he decided Chris, or CHRIST- neither would live that long. He assumed that was the real meaning behind the name blasphemy. Minorities die young and are always, taught and shown to believe in something other than themselves or the people raising them at home. Or, maybe he was born with a defect and his parents, (but which one?) Gave him the name for strength?
Marcel thought he remembered, hearing somewhere; mental disabilities were a sign of god’s mind. Too powerful for the divine compromised. But credited his own blackness for his thoughtful poetic prowess. He thought, maybe the guy was supposed to give his parents-probably his father- the motivation needed to finally rise from their tormented, failed life.
“They will call you when your food is ready” Marcel forced. “Thank you, and have a great day”, Marcel said with a mocking smile he knew the real CHRIST could punish him for.
Remembering the good boy chauffer statement, Marcel asked. “How do you know whether I’m good or evil?” He normally had to market his services to white men. To his surprise tho, they weren’t the only ones who made him feel as if he was back on, and belonged to the block- auction, cell, or neighborhood. If you go away and come back different, your own people can make you feel like you’re dressed for the wrong season.
“Good and Evil.” Spoken as if dead and dreaded. “Words given too much credit. They allow lies to become unquestionable. Truth becomes disadvantaged, until disabled, and unrealistic.”
Marcel entered his apartment, locked the door, tossed his keys in a rush that was un-characteristic.
“What?” Marcel gritted aggressively through his teeth, before reassuming a business tone. “Ok, so the focus should only be right and wrong? You sound like a lawyer. And, why are you always shown as white?”
“All visions of me, sight, and word, come in a flash. I am the color, shape, gender, or being, needed to give comfort, belief, and also grief.”
“Do you favor one race over the other?” Marcel hiccupped. He bent over and pounded his chest, coughing from the burn of real, true thoughts, spewing, forming a danger zone like lava. He held his breath to allow an answer, but-instead push-released snot and fart, simultaneously.
“So why are blacks and minorities treated soo…” Marcel stopped from abrupt anger. Thinking, why am I asking whites about my rights? I ain’t in prison no more. He sniffed the cup of water he was drinking. Wondering, questioning everything?
“I don’t answer un-asked questions.”
“You already know the question.” Marcel growled. “Unfairly, unequally. Why does God, allow them to suffer?” At that moment-he felt definite disdain about the man’s whiteness. But also joy, from not referring to him as who he claimed.
“Every race is prophetic and godly. It takes some longer to see and lead themselves. “ Did you know?” A pause filled the conversation, “when people say black is colored, they see beauty, but don’t have the words to describe it?” “Magic is not considered real until it is touched, and people, no matter how much they try, can never grasp magic. It is one of the most volatile elements.”
Marcel had never been sold on, or trusted anything or anyone white. He felt It brought destruction, couldn't be kept clean, and, acted as if all other things were dirty.
Why are white people so willing and invested in telling blacks about our plight? Marcel thought. The first lesson Marcel taught himself when he was free, was not to carry the mindset that brought him to the penitentiary.
“Where and what time am I picking you up?” Marcel asked, ready to be done.
Marcel was determined never to enter a place of external worship again. His mother died in church, and he blamed god.
“What time works for you?”
Marcel wanted to say seven, thought to say six, “Nine o’clock work for you?”
“How about seven?”
Marcel had the strange feeling of letting the man down. He wanted to throw the phone. An anger like this happens when something needed fixing. When you dismiss warning signs and pleading self-reminders.
Marcel would not say perfect. Instead he responded, “I will be there at seven.”
Marcel was smiling when he hung up. It hurt, like the ones held long after a compliment, or uncomfortable comment that should cause a frown. He forced one and felt old, and tired and drained. “I am not a cowardly man.” He said out loud. ” I do not act only out of necessity. My truth is my authority.”
Marcel struggled to sleep that night, feeling anxious and worked over. He was not a nervous person and realized this feeling, accompanied him to all pick-up’s, always kept him safe, despite trouble. When he rose from bed that morning, flashes of Jacob Lawrence painting-dream #1-flashed in his mind. It was a painting he tried to re-create in prison, and the only hobby from inside he carried out. He felt the painting was his soulmate, showing and knowing the horror of living a nightmare.
Marcel drove an un-usual route that morning; through a place he normally went around. His hometown- a roadblock; a place structured for domesticated, forcefully aggressive and docile human animals. Where worn neighborhoods were held together through hope, religion of hustling, a jungled haven. Occupied with beautiful shining beings. Clawing, scraping, scrapping, trapping, tragically dying, miraculously surviving. Up-lifting-rooted in hot-blooded liquored tradition, stealing back greatness, by any means necessary- lord willing as is the saying.
He drove across the tracks to a building, unusual in its normalcy. Fenced, but welcoming. Grass- green, but wild. Bricks unworn, but mossy. A place of grandparent cluttered, beautiful, neatness. Worn, withered, with a spirit of liveliness. This was the church. A place that never realized taking did not show it’s worth. A place of radical beliefs and thoughts. A place that was meant to inspire the world the most. But inspiration, like the initial penetration can make people crazy. Even the birds sung a call of the wild. Swooping down, flying in a circled halo above the buildings crown. Sharp glass eyes. Chiseled hole riddled brick. Some gated, all deterring commoners with cents. It was used as an un-official hostel, but only housed one visitor at a time- bums, addicts, criminals on the run don’t allow or make good roommates.
Marcel beeped his horn once, and thinking instead of acting-depending on point of view- hesitated to move from his car. Scared to disappoint, and be disappointed, but knowing avoidance was the greatest contributor, beeped again. Annoyed the man had not appeared, got out and walked to the gate. Then he saw a figure emerge from the building.
“Good morning. Thank you for coming”
“Thank you.” Marcel stopped himself from uttering, for choosing me. Marcel held the door open for his guest. Glanced curiously but the sun was blocking his view. Peered inside as he walked towards the driver’s side. Got in, fastened his seat belt and glanced into the rearview, still blinded.
“How is that possible?” “Just look back” he said to himself, before asking, “where to?” Normally-he would add sir, to the end, but decided against it.
“I am your humble guest. I trust your judgement.”
Marcel preferred to make his own choices. But being told to choose, made him feel like a free prisoner. He felt anger and alienation. He sped, as if under pressure, pulled up in front of an elementary school, graduating scholarly gravediggers. war torn, from neglect, hope snatched and distant with un-educated respect.
The children were at recess. Seeing a car, up-kept, driven by a black man was an instant sign of success. They ran to the gate, barring outsiders and preventing their escape.
Marcel remembered how the city school system always made him feel trapped. He wanted to break them out.
“You a hussla, or a dealah?” A boy shouted through the holes in the fence.
A girl, mature for her age, gave him a show some sense tap, and they retreated. Backing away from the gate, for reasons Marcel took as him being a stranger.
A woman holding a clipboard, looking too nice to be official, but serious enough to ward off any issues. Piercing eyes, a dangerous smile, a face that made the hardest man melt and become selfless, walked towards the children.
Marcel felt like a student in trouble. He hadn’t sweat or felt this tense since…Any of his cavity searches.
This was the woman Marcel was supposed to marry. When he entered prison, he distanced himself out of fear of holding her back. Even now, with returning feelings of love and regret, he was happy with his choice, considering the progress she had made. These children needed love and guidance, and she was the perfect provider.
She approached the gate. “Would you mind giving the children a tour of your car and sharing your story of success? And how you turned your life around?” She smirked, tenderly covering irritation.
“How do you know about my business?” Marcel asked, flattered she had been keeping tabs. He smiled and nodded. At a loss for words as he had always been around her- that was all he could think to say.
They smiled, and she led the children to his car.
Marcel looked for his guest and saw a distant shape walking the boundary wall. Hand held above, vacuuming, the dirt upwards like a pyramid, rebuilding. Learning blocks to guide all.
Marcel walked close to the woman. She still smelled the same, like lust and brains. He smiled and was amped at the possibility of fucking hers out again, reminiscing how often she willingly knelt and gave hers to him. His eyes widened. He grabbed his chest, clutched his peck, fell to a knee, raising his arm and head.
“What the hell? Please god help me!” He pleaded. He fell limp. He always feared being shot dead in the street, like an animal, so he tried to crawl to his car. At-least I will die in peace. But I’m not ready, he thought. Then he became angry. Where… In the fuck… Is god when you need him? Her?Whoever tha fuck!
A light flashed only he could see. Warm, pleasant-not blinding, but too bright- hot for him to look at. Scanning like a shadowy horizon, the kind monsters are made from and lurk in. He felt himself melting, crumbling, then sinking. The earth grabbing. Then a mothers embrace. Tears poured. Hot, heavy as summer rain. He felt free. Real true freedom, of escaping an abusive relationship with living. He closed his eyes and prepared.
“Is this really what you want?” A tender, stern voice asked. “Are you really finished with life? “You don’t want more out of life? I didn’t think I raised a quitter!”
“Ma?” “How, where are you?”
“I am you. I am always with you.” “A parent’s soul is rebirthed to give their children worth.” “Tell me somethin-you made is this far, and your tryna give up now?” “That ain’t the son I raised”
Marcel began suffocating from sorrow. Drowning in tears. Something inside him was gasping, trying to pound it’s way out. He always suppressed his parental influences and urges. Children always want better. Better lives than their parents provide, and better parents. Then they grow up and see they could have been better children. And Marcel proved, and provided better than others, in terms of taking care of his mother. He was a natural protector.
“I miss you.”
“I taught you to see with more than your eyes.” “I have always been by your side.”
Marcel woke up. Coughed out a wheezing scream, released his nightmare. He sat up in a hospital bed. The woman of his dreams holding his hand.
“You were talking in your sleep.” The woman said.
Carefully, Marcel asked; “where is he?” His eyes searched the room, for clues, like he was trying to find the answer to a surprise question.
The woman shifted, groggy, teary eyed, surprised, voice shaking. She hugged Marcel gently. Whispered; “Where’s who?” “You’ve been in a coma for two weeks.”
Marcel thought that was impossible. His memories and were too vivid and present like cold breath.
“The man… Person I came to your school with.”
She sniffled. Pulled a small scorched-nearly to a crisp bible, from under his pillow. Revealed an unblemished picture of his mother, protected in it’s pages.
Your car exploded. The children received minor burns but you were the only one injured.
“Where is the person I came with. I was chauffeuring god”
She handed Marcel the picture of his mother. “This was the only person with you, besides me.”