Short Story: Does My Black Life Matter? (3/4)

Continued from part 2

It was a private home with a sign in front stating the front door was inoperable. Mawuli was ten minutes early, yet preferred earliness over walking around a residential area. He knocked on the back door and was let in by Omowale. “Rehema told me you passed.” Mawuli thought about Rehema and thought to ask whether Rehema was in attendance. She greeted him before he had the chance and told him to have a seat. Mawuli noticed the cashier lady and, though preferring Rehema, accepted her invitation to sit beside her. Looking around the room, he noticed 23 people. And though it was early, Omowale said “We expect one more” and one minute to the appointed time, the last guest arrived. “We can begin,” announced Omowale.

Mawuli studied everyone. Complexions and countenances ranged the gamut. Yet he had to question if anyone was really Black–as he never knew a Black meeting to start on time. Needless to say, everyone was very African and, to him, ‘ready for revolution.’ Omowale began with an introduction as Rehema went around offering seeded grapes and water to the guests. “My name is Omowale,” he began, “and I’m a warrior.” A few people laughed. They either heard Omowale say this before or they, like Mawuli, thought of the Alcoholics Anonymous introduction. Omowale continued, “Now I want everyone in this room to make it clear whether they are Warriors or Worriers.” One of the men Mawuli met at the store teased, “Explain the difference,” to which Omowale explained, “A Warrior is for war; but a Worrier, well if you that then I’ll be worried!” The veterans laughed.

One by one, twenty-three people repeated their names and that they were ‘Warriors.’ It was discovered in this process that of the twenty-four, fourteen were as new as Mawuli. Noteably, twelve of those fourteen were men. Interestingly, of the ten veterans, half were men; making a total of 17 men and 7 women. Mawuli, ever playing with numbers, partly wished to consider a social implication; however, ever the single-type, he also wondered what odds he had with the two women he had his eyes on.

He took a lapse in Omowale’s introduction to compliment the cashier beside him. “Ife is a beautiful name.”

She responded, “I thought so too.” She observed that Mawuli was confused. “It’s not my government.”

As Mawuli tried to wrap his head around her response, Omowale interrupted, “Brother, what are you here for?” Mawuli sat back, and Omowale continued talking. He spoke about the conditions of Africans in America, the lack of resources, the need for land, the broken economic structure and the police state we are under. He then pulled a police-issue glock from his backpocket and cocked it. “It’s time we fight back! Who is ready?”

All eyes were at attention when one man, a newcomer, said, “Can’t we just build up our economic base?”

A veteran shouted out to Omowale, “didn’t you ask for the Worriers to come out?”

“I thought I did. Seems some people are only ‘Warriors’ when they don’t need to kill.”

“There’s more than one way to bring war,” offered the worrier.

“Yeah? You got that from the cracker?”

“No, from history,” the worrier rebutted.

“Did this fool say ‘his story?'” asked the same veteran. “Did he say he got that from the cracker’s story? Or was there another ‘his’ he didn’t mention?” People laughed.

“No, ‘history.'” repeated the worrier.

Omowale dismissed, “Yeah worrier’s history,” then asked, “Does anyone else feel like this so-called man?” Another two men raised their hands. “Cowards! The three of you get out right now.” As they rose, Omowale said, “Ladies, look, there are the ‘Black men’ of today. Your so-called protectors. They would not kill for you; yet even low-life crackers will kill for their women. These are the men who claim manhood and what kind of men are they? Cowards!” The three men retreated their separate ways, however Mawuli stayed seated. Though things moved quickly, he, like many other Black men, feel waiting around to be fruitless. Ife bumped her knee on his, she had liked his bravery.

“You who stayed,” continued Omowale, “are men! But not just men of words; but men of action!” With that Omowale nodded to Rehema, “Sister, if you would take the sisters into the next room, we men need to discuss things.” Rehema requested all the women to rise and head to the back porch. As they did so Mawuli’s eyes followed them; especially Ife: he had never seen her from the back and now seizing the opportunity he was very glad he did.

When the women were out Omowale congratulated the remaining men for their bravery. “You have distinguished yourselves. However, ‘Boasting at home is not valor; parade is not battle; when war comes the brave will be known.’ To stand your ground in front of the women was commendable. However, we’re men and we must do ‘men’ things. I’ll give you guys five hours to think seriously about what your next course of action will be. Return here at 10 PM if you are truly about war. If you don’t return, no harm done. But look around newcomers. I do not expect to see all nine of you in five hours. I expect to see these four Brothers, but not all nine of you. And when I don’t see you again, don’t let me ever see you again!”

The group was dismissed and Mawuli looked around as though he was curious to discover where the women were. Omowale detected Mawuli’s predation and explained to him, “Consider deeply what is expected of you. You understand what’s going on right?”

“Of course,” reacted Mawuli. He had already made up his mind to return in five hours. He wondered if the other eight brothers intended to as well. There was only one way to find out.

To kill time, Mawuli hopped on a bus and returned to the vegan shop. He asked the owner about what was going down at 10 PM, but the owner responded that he had no idea. It appears as though he only allowed the revolutionaries to use his space because of Ife, yet he wasn’t himself organized with the group. Mawuli ordered falaffels and fries and purchased a bottle of water. The food filled him and Mawuli thanked the owner. He inquired about Ife and was informed that she should be coming in shortly so he took out his copy of “The Isis Papers” by Frances Cress Welsing and read his fill before she arrived.

She had to work, but Mawuli had to speak to her, so he ordered a smoothie and told her his opinion of Omowale. “He’s a real man,” he said.

“Yeah,” she smiled. She followed with, “I’m sure you are too.”

They conversed for a while. It was short but lively. Ife admitted that many men never return after their first meeting but she can sense an intensity and genuiness in Mawuli that she is sure he will become a veteran like her. Mawuli assured her that he would be committed to the organization; and her. Eventually, Mawuli looked at the time. “I’d love to see you again, but I have to go: we have a meeting,” he blabbed. Ife was noteably prettier since the revolutionary meeting; almost as if her straightened hair didn’t mean a thing. “Should I come here every day or should I call you?”

“You can do both.” With her number in his phone, Mawuli headed back to the meeting spot. It was time to do ‘men’ things. Or at least find out what was meant by it.

It was 9:41 when Mawuli showed to the spot. Omowale remarked how he didn’t expect any newcomers to show, yet two other Brothers were already in. The group talked amongst themselves as two more Brothers showed. When the clock struck ten, Omowale raised his fist and said “It’s ten o’clock.” The room fell silent. “Five out of nine is not bad. Does anyone know what we going to do?”

The five men looked around. Omowale continued, pulling out his gun again, “We going to kill a cracker.” The men smiled and cheered. None were sure what Omowale had in mind, but it was too late to back down or ask questions. This was all new to them. Whether they were to assassinate someone or attack a random hillbilly was unclear. Then Omowale told two of the veterans “Get him,” and things were becoming clearer.

In short time, a heavily-bruised, tied-up, mouth-gagged and blind-folded white man was forced into the room with the newcomers. He put up very little resistance and his whole demeanor was that of one who was a broken man. Another veteran went to each newcomer and handed him a pistol. Omowale explained what was to go on, “When crackers want to execute someone, they have many gunners but only one gun with a bullet. This way, no one can say who was the executioner–cause no one knows whose gun killed the bastard.” Hearing this, the cracker squirmed much but he was easily restrained by the two other brothers, “Of the five of you, only one of you has a gun with a bullet. This cracker needs to die. To prove yourself as a revolutionary, you going to have to shoot your gun at this cracker. We’ll see the smoke. And if one of you punks out, there’s a chance this cracker will live. So now is the time for you all to make your stand.” The veterans restraining the cracker pulled off his blindfold and his mouth gag.

“Please, don’t! I’ve a kid, I’ve a family. Please,” the cracker remonstrated.

“Ready,” Omowale shouted. “Aim,” he demanded. Four of the newcomers aimed. “Aim!” repeated Omowale. All five had their pistols facing the cracker.

“Oh, no, please, this does not need to happen!”

“3 . . .”, the cracker squirmed, “2 . . . ” the cracker remonstrated and plead, “1 . . . .” It was too late to turn back. “Fire!”

Five gun shots and billows of smoke filled the air. Behind the smoke Mawuli noticed the cracker untying himself from the ropes; he also noticed blue paint on his hand from the gun. “Freeze, Police!” said the cracker holding a badge and a gun.

Omowale pointed his gun and badge at the would-be executioners, “Hands in the air!,” he urged. The four other veterans also pulled out. Eight confused hands flew to the sky, half of them were blue from the paint. Mawuli wasn’t as hopeless. He understood the gifted weapon was a fake, but his motto was “ABC–always be carrying.” Mawuli took his nine from his backpocket and slayed the cracker. He then pointed his gun at Omowale: the bastard who was betraying his race. The two of them shot a few rounds at each other’s torso; Omowale, however, was wearing the vest.

4 thoughts on “Short Story: Does My Black Life Matter? (3/4)

    1. Peace,

      I see it all too often! It’s almost always coming.

      One time, a fellow warrior and I bumped into a brother we met long ago. He approached me and I gleaned from the conversation that he became an official of an organization different from the one he was formerly a member of. He then invited the warrior and I to a sort-of warrior circle (obviously I’m hiding some details) but long story short, the brother was trying to set us up. He probably set up a few cats in the community that way.

      Plus I can’t tell you how many times I met people who talk a good game but ain’t never lift a finger in their lives–except to criticize and/or hurt you (or someone else.)

      Some so-called conscious people make it their life mission to criticize Umar Johnson; still others make it their life mission to criticize me (and not constructively!)

      Thanks for comment!

      1. Peace,

        They are so commonplace it’s frustrating. Some of the ones I met weren’t even on the payroll. They just couldn’t stand that I was organizing people in my style and I didn’t organize the people I worked hard to get in their style (which was nothing.)

        I had more than a few people attempt to convince my membership away from me–only to themselves do nothing with my losses.

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