Guess Who's Coming to Dinner? Guess Who's Getting Greyed Out?

Chapter 13

Did you think I’d crumble? Did you think I’d lay down and die?

Oh not I, I will survive…

The television blared to life. And what do you know? Knobby-kneed, Olympic Track Qualifier for the 1936 Games, Old Man Shepherd himself. With what was – considering Jackson’s current status of bondage and discipline – a frightening presentation.

“…you have been chosen because of the physical advantages you’ve enjoyed your entire lifetime. With your natural gifts and our determination we could both be part of something greater…something perfect. The Coagula Procedure is a man-made miracle. Our Order has been developing it for many, many years, and it wasn’t until recently it was perfected by my own flesh and blood. My family and I are honored to offer it as a service to members of our group.”

Ohhkaay. Well that didn’t sound racist, elitist or terrifying all at once. The only reason the guy didn’t sport a white sheet, he guessed, was his pride in this concocted scheme as well as an in-bred conceit at not having to hide his identity. Added to that the arrogant certainty of no repercussions. Another non-incentive was that there was no expectation that the Black Man would live to tell the tale, or even identify these cuckoo-bird KKKers. A disturbing rationale.

Okay, so not only one reason.

Old man Shepherd continued, anticipating the obvious reaction of anyone unlucky enough to find themselves in that hot seat. “Don’t waste your strength, don’t try to fight it. You can’t stop the inevitable. And who knows, maybe one day you’ll enjoy being members of the family. Behold the Coagula…”

Damn, he’d stumbled into the worst type of cult a Black Person could be in. One evidently meant for said Black individual to play the part of ‘sacrificial lamb’. There really was only one way to express the discombobulation he experienced at this situation he found himself in...“Fuck!”

His heart just pooped its pants. In fear...

The Shepherds were so preoccupied with whether they could, that they didn’t even stop to think if they should.

Before he could process anything more, while still continuously attempting to loosen the ties that bound him, the picture on the screen was replaced by the hated porcelain tea cup and accompanying teaspoon. Stirring round and round. He swore that if he ever got out of this, he would ban tea as a beverage of choice for anyone of his acquaintance. And he was lights out.

“Hey Avery, how’s it going buddy? You can answer, there’s an intercom in the room.”

“What…what? Who…Mark Sloan…?”

“I’m supposed to answer any er-outstanding questions, concerns you may have so far. Apparently, our common understanding of the process has a positive impact on the success rate of the procedure.”

Yeah right. He snorted in response to Sloan’s BS.

“You could give a shit, right? Okay. Just…lemme just tell you what it is. Phase 1 was the hypnotism – that’s how they sedate you. Phase 2 is-is this. Mental Preparation. It’s basically a psychological pre-op.”

“Pre-op?” he was forced to ask.

“For Phase 3. The Transplantation. Well, partial actually. The piece of your brain connected to your nervous system needs to stay put, keeping those intricate connections intact. So you won’t be gone, not completely. A sliver of you will still be in there somewhere. Limited consciousness. And you’ll be able to see and hear what your body is doing but your existence will be as a passenger. An audience. You’ll live…”

“…The Sunken Place…” He was horrified. He’d expected death, not this indeterminate state. Death was infinitely preferable to limbo.

“Yep.” Sloan’s gesture was blasé. “That’s-that’s what she calls it,” his grin was giddily evil. “Now I’ll control the motor functions so I’ll be…”

“Me. You’ll be Me.”

“Good. Good. You got it quick. Good on you,” Sloan patronized him. “You know a mind is a terrible thing to waste,” he smiled to himself. “Ain’t that a kick in the head?” Double, double entendre. Both ironically insensitive.

“Why us, huh? Why…Black People?”

Sloan laughed, lifting his shoulders in a shrug. “Who knows? People wanna change. Some people want to be stronger, faster, cooler. Some want a pseudo-immortality. And to some Black is in fashion. But don’t, please don’t lump me in with that. You know, I could give a shit what color you are. No. What I want is deeper. I want your eye man…I want those things you see through. Yeah, those retina’s process information. But do you know why…why would we ever remove the wisest of our teeth? Oh, and I want your hands too.”

“This is crazy.”

“I have nothing against you. In fact I quite like you. I chose you to be the host body of my consciousness, didn’t I? In another world, perhaps we could’ve been ‘The Plastics Posse’…kicking surgical ass and taking names.”

“You’re a fucking lunatic,” he replied. The arrogant prick actually thought he was paying him the highest compliment? What a douche!

“Alrighty then. We’re done here,” he spoke to either of the Shepherds, father or son, off-screen.

Regardless, the question had been a valid one. He was in this situation only because of the color of his skin.

Dear Black Man…If you weren’t so valuable and didn’t have the potential to be so powerful, the world would not be so hell bent on exterminating your very existence.

Dear World…To level the playing field, you need to ultimately dismantle the intimate pervasiveness of anti-Blackness.

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