Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The Buckwheat Chronicles

a major award                                                  


Wind was up this mornin when Monsterdawg and I took our pre-dawn stroll.  Got a chill and couldn't get shet of it.  So I hooked up a space heater, put on a hoodie, and sat down to translate a tale from the Arabic in the mode of A Thousand And One.  Coulda gone on for pages and pages, but decided this is long enough.  Add to it if you like. - Metzger

by Ron Metzger

Once upon a time there lived a woman who had one son whom she didn’t know what to do with. Their little cottage was on the outskirts of a jungle, and as they had no neighbors who spoke any language they could understand, they were very lonely, and the boy was kept at home by his mother for company.

One day they were sitting together discussing just who the boy’s father might be when a storm suddenly sprang up and the wind blew the door open. The woman quaked and shivered and glanced over her shoulder as if she half expected to see some horrible creature behind her. “Go and shut the door,” she said to her son. “I’m concerned that it might be a black man whom I once knew.”

“Concerned?”  said the boy. “Why should you be concerned about a black man?”

“Well, that’s just the way it is,” answered the mother.  “We all have concerns and fears about certain types of people, either from personal experience or from tales told to us by our elders.”

“Hmmm . . . It must be very uncomfortable to feel like that,” replied the boy, knowing that his father had been a black man, although his mother wasn’t entirely sure which one.  “I will go forth in the world and seek out why people have these unreasonable feelings until I find the reason.” And the next morning, before his mother was out of bed, he had left the jungle behind him.  She’d always looked at him as somewhat of a pest and was glad to be rid of him.

After wandering for some years through strange and smoky lands, he reached a tall building which he felt compelled to climb, in a city by a lake. Near the very top, in a lush yet forbidding chamber, he came upon a band of cutthroats and scoundrels sitting round a huge pile of money. The boy, whose feet were hot and tired from his climb, was delighted to see the bright and shiny coins, so he went up to the scalawags and said, “As-salaam Alaikum to you, sirs,” and wriggled himself in between the men, his feet buried in the pile of money.

The crooks stopped counting and eyed him curiously, and at last the organizer spoke.  “No one dares to come here unbidden.  Even the po-lice leave us alone.  Who are you to venture in so boldly?”

“Oh, I have left my mother's house in search of the source of suspicion and fear. Perhaps you can show it to me?”

“Fear and suspicion are wherever we are,” the head agitator told him.

“But where exactly?” asked the boy, looking round. “I see nothing fearsome, nothing suspicious.”

“Is this bumpkin for real?” suggested the Capo di Tutti Capi di Chi-town, sotto voce.

“Here, kid.  Take this little book, go down to the projects, and rustle us up some voters,” grunted the socialist-in-chief. And the boy, who was by this time enthralled by the wealth and power of the group, jumped up cheerfully, and tucking the little book Rules for Radicals under his arm, hurried down to the Land of the Ignoranti.

When he got to Cabrini-Green he collected some acorns and started a fire so that all could assist in creating the choom cloud.  It was not long before everything, even the air, grew aromatic and brown, and the boy shared the contents of the pot and chanted from the book as the eyes glazed and the crowd began to grumble about bushes and reparations. 

At that moment a hand touched the boy’s shoulder, and a voice said:  “How audacious.  How colorful.  How erudite.  Come with me.”

And the boy, now much inflated with airs, followed the hand as an idea struck him:  “I need to start writing some of this down,” he said to the voice.  “Perhaps you can help me.”

So together they spun a pair of dreamy tales and talked of fundamentally transforming the land.  Then, carrying his little book along with the new ones the voice had made for him, the boy went back to the money pile, whistling a catchy tune which greatly captivated most who heard it.

“Well, have you found fear?” asked the Capo when he held out the new book to the captain.

“No,” answered the boy.  “But I did encounter a beguiling vision, a vision of hope and change, and I created these two imaginary revisions of reality to substitute for my complete lack of experience and credibility.”

“You are just what we need,” said the Capo in a voice much like the earlier ghost-like voice which had helped him with his books .

“Yes, there is a great future for you,” said another of the assembled agitprops.   “A seat in the state legislature is open.  We’ll get you in, and perhaps there you can learn all about controlling fear and suspicion.”

“I hope so, indeed,” answered the boy. And he set out at once.  Soon he watched with great interest as the old men of the Illini Senate devised and crafted their means for controlling and exploiting the citizens.

He beheld the wheeling and dealing in the dim corridors and noisy lunchrooms of the halls of government, and as he gained understanding he realized what the organizers with their pile of money had in mind for him, and it was good.

Fear’s power, he realized, was in his hand, his to control, for at last he knew what his mother had expressed:  ordinary citizens are suspicious of black men and   afraid of being called racist.  All he had to do was focus their fear while reciting words that the men who sat at the foot of the mountain of money prepared for him.

In a moment of profound understanding he knew that he could say what the people wanted to hear, whether true or not, and then if he failed to produce what he promised, all he had to do was blame it on his predecessors.   Fear of his blackness would forestall any criticism of his abilities or his style or his motives.

It was like a sacrament, a ritual, a miraculous potion.  And the first corollary of fear was political correctness.  He could do no wrong, for even if he did, the blackness thwarted and deflected all repercussions.

Dingle Barry’s quest was at last over.  An unending flow of riches now followed him wherever he went.  He, his even blacker crony Mooch, and their offspring Malaria and Sharia moved into the white palace near the swamp where Dirty Harry and Daffy Nan held regular ceremonies for the interment of the archaic ideals of honor, ethics, common sense, and patriotism.

Fear was no problem for him personally.  It could exist in him only if white people conquered their fear of being politically incorrect concerning race.  And by the time that happened, they would be in the minority anyway, unable to turn the tide of tribal loyalty and Spanish-speaking dependents.


Anonymous said...

Most excellent. Can't wait to read how it ends. Please let it involve the second coming of Attila and a herding and culling of the guilty.

Esteve said...

Hmmm....This tale sounds familiar but too fantastic to be believable.

poletax said...

I hope it ends with the people finding good use of piano wire.


Anonymous said...

Hmmm…D'ya mean piano wire used as a garrote, or d'ya mean piano wire would be good for hanging a body upside down (like, for example, from a gas station)?

That's not too obscure an historical reference, is it, Kids?

Phil N. LeBlanc

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