Cottonwood Golf Club
Sam had been to visit Todd a few times in hospital during the week. He would make a full recovery. Even though he was still recuperating Mrs. Sheppard proceeded with her event at the Cottonwood Golf Club.
Sam walked through the cocktail lounge of the gathering of relatives and friends, hearing people talk about the incident.
“Isn’t he with that mulatto girl? Maybe the klan thought she was white, so he kind a had it coming…”
“That’s just the way it is in the South…”
“That Eunice Johnston girl is here. My husband says he’s got to do, extra Taskforce patrols around the wretched Vineyard, because of her...”
“I heard Anderson Cooper was staying at Renaissance la dee da! I do hope he’s enjoying Montgomery. He’s swell on the eyes though!”
“Why do they have to flaunt themselves like that? If Todd had just kept his mouth shut they would have got the black one!”
“My poor nephew. He just can’t keep his flamboyance at bay…”
Sam found a discrete spot to sit.
Mrs. Sheppard kicked off the special function with a thank you toast, “I was hoping Todd would be able to attend today but he’s improving every day over at Jackson. Given all the media attention this has attracted, I wanted to thank you all in private,” she said, as if kicking off a run for office.
Eunice was meeting him there. She had asked if he could RSVP for her, Gabrielle and Terrence, so they could be ‘eyes and ears looking for clues.’ Sam wondered if her motive was justice or the glamor of the Cottonwood setting. “Sam, I’ve been there before. Gabrielle worked there last year remember? We’re going to sniff out for leads,” Eunice had said.
Eunice focused on catching and making an example of Todd’s assailants. Her heart was in the right place but she seemed hell bent on revenge too. Perhaps that was the heart of a true vigilante. Did she forget Sam had also been a victim, now that he was fully recovered?
Eunice set her sights on being a bastion of justice and he had no doubt the cabin planning meetings had been about avenging Todd.
“Don’t worry we’re on it Sam! Those devils are going down,” Eunice said. She could boil to the ranks of evil comic book villain with her ravenous drive.
Sam, you have to know your woman! Grandma Hood would say.
“How are you holding up Sam?” Sam turned his head and was relieved to see Max looking at him.
“Gosh man. I’m sorry Max,” he said, giving him a hug.
“Me too. Onward and upward right? I’m mostly worried about getting through this soirée. Todd’s mom is a bit of a show off. This shindig is a jab at his father, who barely acknowledges him,” Max said, sipping a green highball with mint leaves stuck to the sides of the glass.
“Folks certainly chatter. I could hear them talking as I came through. They weren’t even whispering,” Sam said.
“Welcome to my world. I gather we share some of the same annoying judgments of people,” Max said.
Sam wasn’t in a great headspace to see Eunice’s friends so, when he saw Gabrielle and Terrence standing around a bistro table at the back, he kept his eyes on Max. He wished he could’ve ducked away. He resented her friends for not liking him and blamed them for coming between them. He supposed it was Eunice’s fault for allowing it. God only knew what she said about him.
Eunice arrived looking lovely in a black dress. She caught his eye, nodded then went to her friends table. He nodded back and finished his drink, “I best be heading to my girlfriend, Max,” he said. He wondered why, they got to have an inside track of her attention.
“Hang in there Sam,” Max said, patting his arm.
“Why do you share everything with them?” he remembered, asking her once. Her answer began with a kiss on the forehead.
“Don’t be ridiculous Sam. I don’t feel threatened, by prying questions from Gabrielle or Terrence. I can also cut them off if I need to, so I always have a way out,” she said, so nonchalant as if disposing of longtime friends was normal.
He gave her friends credit, they were loyal to her.
A macabre thought came to him, if her eulogy were enacted it would be those friends who would have the most wonderful things to say about her. They knew her best.
Later at home after the event he and Eunice held hands, while watching Big Brother on TV. They were quiet and distant, perhaps each trying to let bygones be gone. He let go of saying too much. Eunice, do you know what it’s like to be constantly reminded, your friends are more worthy of your time and attention than I am?
Instead he said, “Harboring anger is not good for me Eunice. It turns me into an ugly person, hence my outburst before the party Saturday. I’m embarrassed by my behavior. I’m sorry.”
“Thank you Sam,” she said.
They made love in silence. Sometimes words were stupid anyway. It all went away when she shared herself. It confused him how he might have been more accepting if he’d gotten lucky once in a while. He thought sex was withheld on purpose, her weapon being her headaches.
Post intimacy, the skies opened and springtime light shone off her smile. A day or maybe a week after the friction he’d fall for her invitation as if he’d been stunned by Cupid’s Taser.
Resistance was pointless because immediately following a reconnection tryst he’d wished he’d abstained longer. Prove his animal instinct and good old fashioned sex drive weren’t the culprit. He was no different than those girls held on strings in late night Elvis Presley flicks.
What was wrong with wanting someone to grow old with. He’d never thought of himself as needy but wanted a mate for life like apes, wolves, and coyotes.
CNN News: Deep Inside the Klan
“I’m Anderson Cooper. Tonight we bring you a story to help us understand what makes someone want to join the klan.”
“Anonymous accounts tell a story of how a person gets involved in the klan. What goes on inside the hate. Tonight we’ll hear from ‘Steve.’ Since Steve was a teenager, he has been exposed to the America, South Chapter of the klan.
“At age 14, ‘Steve’ ran away from brutal parents. He says he got into petty crime and drugs with his black friends. He’s been in and out of prison, where he learned he’d be welcomed in a biker gang.
Footage showing archival clips of various lynching scenes intercut with the 1915 film Birth of a Nation, often used to fortify organized racism. After the montage, the camera lands on the talking head of ‘Steve’ in silhouette sitting with a reporter.
“It’s tied to power. It’s got nothing to do with the victims,” Steve says.
“Roaring around on large motorbikes with insignias and tattoos can be interpreted as an attempt at getting our attention and to frighten us. I felt the power in their fear. It’s the only power the powerless have.
But we give them a false power with our fear. We must keep in mind deep down it’s our love they yearn for. The love they missed out on in childhood.
Some bikers discover if they dress up in klan costumes and light up a cross out in the forest it gives them a feeling of power which catches our attention in a far more effective way. When they are incapable of getting our love, they settle for our hate. After all, that is better than being poor white trash and totally forgotten by the world.
It is the continuous feeling of being a loser. (11)
“I guess we know there really is a boogey man,” Cooper said. “We did some research. Enslaved African-Americans told tales to their children of a Boogie Man who would abduct you, kill you or otherwise cause you harm if you were to leave the plantation. The Boogie man of which they spoke was in essence the white man. Quite possibly a connection to the ghost like appearance of the klan dress code.”
Sam remembered, Grandma Hood telling him the story of the Boogie Man, “Ah Sam, be careful the Boogie Man don’t get ya. He sure likes the velvet ebony ones baby boy.”