The Black School Mate: A Short Story

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Bryan was never one to back down from any hint of disrespect. Bryan and a black school mate really hated each other. I never knew what started the conflict that finally escalated into a physical altercation in the school hall. Both were taken to the principal’s office and sent home until they cooled off. Bryan didn’t come to work that day so when I talked to him about it, Earl had already expressed his opinion. Apparently the corporal punishment for theft was exceeded for fighting. I assumed Earl was angry about Bryan fighting at school, however I was completely off base. Bryan said, “Dad was pissed because I didn’t finish it. He asked me how it started, and I told him Jerome called Mama a whore. So I hit him until the teachers came up and told us to stop. Dad said I let that n***** walk …show more content…
Alton was friendly, talkative and quick with a laugh. Howeer he abstained from vulgarities, crude humor, or childish acts of meanness. It didn’t surprise any of us later in life when he became a missionary. And yet, he was the target of pranks. Did we misinterpret his meekness as weakness? Or perhaps it was safe to torment him because we knew he wouldn’t retaliate. The event that I regret most was a week after we found a dead body outside the warehouse. One summer morning we arrived at work to find the police milling around our loading dock. When the warehouse manager arrived that morning, he found a dead body propped against the rollup door. The Birmingham police’s method of investigating was to standing around talking and smoking until the coroner arrived. We began to concoct all types of explanations for the body’s appearance on our loading dock. Some deranged maniac was hiding out in the weeds behind the warehouse? Perhaps the local gang was now using our property to administer discipline to a recalcitrant member or at least as a body dump? I don’t remember Alton participating in these conversations, though I do remember him

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