I feel woozy. Isaac’s baby sister had died too young and his brother had been murdered.
“No need being mad at Uncle Elias,” Isaac says. “He’s seen more things than most of us. He knows the rules, the law of the land.”
“Yeah? And he thinks those laws are good?” Olvie says. “All he does is live day to day feeling bad that he wasn’t born white. Why can’t he stand up to things once in a while.”
“He’s just fine being a colored man. He’s just scared.”
“Scared? Everybody’s scared of something.”
I want to ask Olvie what she’s scared of. Not now. I’ve never seen her so serious.
“You’re scared for Sylvia,” she continues. “You’re scared you might be the next one to be beaten and locked up. Chicken Coop here is afraid fire.”
How did she know that?
“So, what do I do?” Isaac asks.
“Do?” Olvie picks lint off of Gladys’ moo-moo, hesitating. “What does Elias think? Not that it matters, of course.”
“This time, he’s scared for me. I told him the whole story. I had to. You know, in case a deputy comes to pick me up. After I told him, he went—”
Olvie holds up a hand. “Let me guess. He went to his Sweet Home Baptist Church to pray for his sweet home and kinfolk.”
Isaac nods. “He asked me to go, but I couldn’t.”
“Uh-huh. How’s prayer worked for your uncle so far?”
“Can’t answer that, Olvie,” Isaac says. “God and me are on the outs right now.”
Olvie sighs. “Fair enough.”
The whistling starts. The Andy Griffith Show is about to come on.
Olvie stands and, to my disbelief, she turns down the TV Volume.
“Maybe you should find an ambulance chaser,” she says, sitting back down again. “Chicken Coop? Don’t your folks know folks in the NAACP?”
“Mr. Overton. But he’s not a lawyer. I’ll ask when they call.”
“Oh, no you won’t. There’s no need for your parents to turn around and come home. We’ll figure this out on our own.” Olvie stares at Gladys. “What do you think?”
Isaac and I roll our eyes and wait for the end of their silent conversation.
“She said chopping off your finger is no longer an option.” Olvie grins. “I say we visit Overton. He’s bound to know someone. Or …” She looks up at the ceiling and sniffs something I can’t smell. “Or, we take Pontiac and drive to Birmingham. Clear this up once and for all so those cops won’t think you ran away from a crime.”
Isaac stands. “As much as you think you understand, you don’t. We cross those county lines and I won’t have a chance to clear anything but my bowels.”
Olvie crinkles her nose. “Well, that’s a disgusting thought. You just cleaned Pontiac and now your want to soil her with your scared shit?”
“Deputy Garvey,” I say. “He seems decent enough. How about we talk to him. Get his advice.”
“Good one, Chicken Coop.” Olvie heads toward the phone.
“Wait just a goddamn minute,” Isaac says. “This is my life you two are talking about. Maybe I don’t want you to call a policeman. Even one you both know.”
Olvie stops. “Okay, Wisenheimer. You think I wear a white hood when I’m sleeping?”
“I know better than that,” he says. “But police haven’t been so kind to Negros.”
“Isaac,” I say, hoping I’m right. “I’ve talked to Deputy Garvey. And yes, I know you’re skeptical of police. But I think he might just do you right. Plus, he also knew my grandmother, and liked her.”
“Was your grandmother colored,” he says frowning.
“Not that I know of.” I grin. “But she was a tolerant person who hated injustice.”
Excerpt from my WIP, Bare Bones of Justice (working title)
Daily Word Prompt: Volume