Now, they done told me, “White people don’t congregate with them. They’s the wrong damn color.” But I knew they was wrong. They was people. Just like us. Just had different colored skin, that’s all. And I’ll stand by ‘em. What they done was right. And they had the guts to do what was right when all you white people pretended everythin’ was alright.
I tried to stop Billy. I did. Stupid son-of-a-bitch never listened to no one anyway. I told him, “You don’t treat people that way, Billy! You don’t!” Billy never listened. He got with his boys, and they went out on Friday nights, and found some kid to beat up. Always a black kid too. He used to say he was preserving the future of the country, keeping them in their place, subservient to white people, like they was meant to be.
Hell, he’d pick fights with ‘em just to get ‘em arrested, so he could take ‘em to court, and get everything they ever made, or owned. Courts work like that, you know. Hang the one that ain’t white, ‘cause hell, we know the white one’s innocent, and a victim.
Billy got a lot of people’s lives fucked up, that’s what he did. And I told him not to. I warned him.
But then, he married my sister. My little sister. Katie. Momma and Daddy loved her. And I wouldn’t let no one hurt her. Ever. Billy knew that. “Damn, boy, you sure protect your sister, don’t ya.” He used to say that all the time.
I watched my sis walk down the aisle of the church in her weddin’ dress. Momma and the church ladies worked for a month on that thing. Katie looked beautiful. Better than any bunch of roses ever can. I listened as Billy and Katie said their vows. All that “to have and to hold, in sickness and in health, ‘till death do us part.”
We buried Katie last week. She was only twenty-three. Everybody turned a blind eye. Talked about how sad is was that Katie died when she was so young. Billy didn’t even cry. Just stood there. “Real men don’t cry, you know.” That’s all he said. Everybody pretended like this was just some horrible accident. That God took Katie away. “It was her time.”
But me and the people Billy destroyed. We knew. We knew what happened. We knew Katie didn’t die by accident. God never came and took my sister away.
That mother fucker Billy beat her to death. He beat her every night. I used to see the bruises on her face. She’d lie to me. “I tripped and fell,” and “I bumped my head on the cabinet.” She’d tell me it was OK. But I’d sit with my sister on her and Billy’s front porch on Sunday afternoons, and we wouldn’t say a word. We’d just sit. And she knew I knew. Billy was beating on her.
So, hell yeah. I went and I got my Daddy’s rifle. And I got plenty of help from them people y’all keep saying are the wrong color. They knew what Billy was. What he did. They knew he’d beat Katie to death. And they knew it was the last straw.
Yeah, I got Daddy’s rifle. And we went and got Billy. And drug him out in the woods. And beat the hell of him. And when we all beat on him for a while, then I did to Billy what he done to my sis.
I shot him with that rifle. And if I hadn’t run out of bullets, I’d still be shooting him.
It’s what that bastard deserved. May he rot in hell.
My entry, in all its unedited glory, for week 27 of Jeff Tsuruoka‘s Mid-Week Blues-Buster flash fiction challenge. Please, go read the other entries in the challenge.