Tag: Black

Secure Hearts

 

Old lady Elza was alone. She toyed with her unsalted food while inaudible chatter filled the cafeteria. Over the first few months at the Secure Hearts Retirement Home, Elza tried to make new friends as one does. She tried small talk, offering a hand to those who had trouble walking, letting others win at card games. Nothing ever worked. If anything, they began making an effort to avoid her. She could feel their voices whipping gossips behind her back. Since her hearing had declined a bit, she couldn’t make the exact words being whispered. That is until the day a resident decided to be loud and clear.

“Filthy tranny nigger” – the frail lady in a flowery gown spouted

Elza fled the scene. Years had gone by since she was called such horrible names. Bingo night was completely out of the question. She couldn’t face anyone, her eyes stared at the vanilla colored corridor floors as she escaped to the safety of her room. The situation asked for a strong, and prescribed, sleeping pill earlier than usual. Hurt as she was, self-medicating was no longer an option. She flinched at the memory of the day an entire bottle of pills tried to make it all go away but just amounted to the expulsion of her lunch. Elza promised to never allow herself on that same pit of despair and she would make damn sure to live to see better days. Came dawn and Elza went to bed. Alone, as always. However, thanks to that little chemical wonder that put her out like a baby sloth, Elza was the only one to survive at the Secure Hearts Retirement Home.

Her eyes blinked heavily as the sun shined shyly through the blinds. The analog clock ticked five past six in the morning. She had overslept big time. Elza hurried out of bed, breakfast would last two more hours and she took one just to get to the cafeteria. It wasn’t that far; the truth is she was snail like. As she slowly made her way to her delicious sugar-free pancakes and mouth-watering vegan sausages, Suzana, the Brazilian woman whom once had a nasty fit when she saw Elza wearing a red dress, grunted a “good morning”. At least that’s what hard of hearing Elza thought Suzana said, but it was more of an “AAAHRNG”. Nevertheless, she replied with a “good morning to you too, dear” with a smile so warm it could melt the Artic.

Finally arriving at the cafeteria, poor Elza was out of breath. She needed a moment to sit and rest before digging into the most important meal of the day. Approaching her usual table, a kind sir moved the chair for her. Surely, he stumbled upon the chair causing it to move, but who’s to say it wasn’t intentional? He was also unblinkingly dragging his feet forward and moaning which felt extremely odd to Elza, though she chose to dismiss the behavior as a bad night of sleep for the old sod. She quickly forgot her fatigue and hurried to thank the kindness in that man’s heart, but soon enough he was gone without saying a word.

Now, her Mama taught her never to think ill of others when no ill intentions are plain to see. Therefore, Elza clung to this belief even though she was time and time again deceived and betrayed. Make no mistake, she was no fool. She could see the dog running towards her, but preferred to think he was coming for a lick, not a bite. Moreover, acceptance was the only way to go, so she took those little acts of cordiality to her heart. That is until one of her brand-new friends coughed up theirs.

The same frail lady in a flowery gown was having a violent coughing fit. She looked like a cat with a fur ball stuck in her throat. Alas, it was her own blackened heart that was splurged on the linoleum floors. The woman paid no mind and, just like the chair stumbling gentleman, went on about with a dead gaze. In fact, she was dead all over. They all were. Bingo night was their doom. One of the young and agile residents, aged 75 or so, had been infected while visiting her family and passed it on to all those who weren’t locked in their rooms crying.

Elza adjusted her glasses to better observe the Secure Hearts Retirement Home’s residents hobble around. They were bloodied and bitten. Some of them had limbs and eyes missing. Most of them had their clothes torn. None of them seemed to take notice that Elza wasn’t like them. She was slow like them and, apart from the blood and guts, smelled like them. That old people smell most grandchildren learn to associate with childhood. Elza relaxed her entire body on the chair and drew a sigh of relief. Among the undead, she was safer than ever before.

Black Role

 

The masked homicidal white man was coming for me. Leading lady Jessica was just a few meters ahead, screaming and calling for the protagonist, Scott. She used to date this other douche Chad, but the antagonist killed him first. Even though I told Chad not to inspect that weird noise, the crazy asshole went anyway. But what actually did him in was that he said something like “be right back”. Rachel, the supporting cast with big boobs, had the same fate. She did the nasty moaning like a goose in an uncomfortable penetrative only kind of sex. Her punishment for not being a virgin was delivered. When I tripped on a branch, Jessica’s golden blond hair started flowing in slow motion.

“No!” – Jessica screamed in a pitch so high it was meant only for dogs to hear

The killer slashed my gut open with his generic sharpened weapon and my insides flew in the air. Running like the wind away from our nemesis, and my very much alive and agonizing body, she muttered the words “I’ll never forget you” and then I died.

Once that was done, I just went home and grabbed a peanut butter and nutella sandwich and some apple juice. I was already in my jammies brushing my teeth when the most awesome woman in the world, my roommate Taraji, came home.

“Tara, my love! Your face, I like it. Awesome timing too. I just got killed, so I have some free time to snuggle you” – I jumped into her arms like a newlywed bride

“Yeah, Shonda. They killed me too” – she put me down gently as her skinny arms trembled with my weight

“Oh, don’t tell me! Do not tell me! The killer was your pimp. Am I right?”

“Nah, this time the abusive baby daddy to my second child did it. And I’m pretty sure yours was the main white guy”

“You know it. Either the apparent hero or the guy who we all thought was dead turned out to be the killer. Maybe both. Are you hungry? I have some chicken leftovers”

“Thanks, love. I’m sick of chicken. All I ever get to eat while in character is chicken and watermelon juice. I have to gulp it down while telling the white folks how great it is and that I don’t mind the stereotype. I much rather have steamed vegetables and a can of grape soda to break the healthy vibe”

“Grape soda? Tara, I have some bad news for you…”

“Shon, please, don’t tell me. Don’t take grape soda away from me too. Take my life like some John does every single time, but not grape soda.”

“I’m so sorry, Tara. I didn’t know grape soda was that important for you” – I told her without a single drop of irony in me

Taraji dropped her tired body on the couch and let out a sigh. She had seen so much ever since she went from being the bitchy teenager, who is also surprisingly a cheerleader, to an addict forced into prostitution. She made an effort not to burden me knowing my roles spared me from it all by being killed right in the first act. Maybe it was better to look down and see your intestines being used as a rope to choke another character than staying alive. Taraji began to hum that song by the Bee Gees.

“Oh no, not ‘Staying Alive’ again. When you hum that song, I know it’s serious. Talk to me Tara, don’t leave me in the dark again” –  I kneeled beside the person I adored the most and took her hand

“It’s not about grape soda”

“I kind of figured that out”

“Shonda, it might come as shock to you, but I don’t like being beaten, raped and humiliated in every story I’m in”

“Oh, my! It is indeed a shock! Winston, fetch me some brandy to settle my nerves!” – I emulated my best rich white lady accent

“I ain’t joking, bitch!” – Tara giggled. The sound I wanted to hear

I sat next to Taraji on the couch never letting go of her hand. She was my only family. We met when we were just wee little girls on secondary roles with no lines. While the cop main character chased a street thug for dealing drugs on the corners of the projects, we were there to establish a ray of hope and innocence on the eyes of the policemen so he wouldn’t shoot the black man. It was all very weird and we began to meet to talk through it all in between roles. She was there for me when I was a generic African immigrant giving life advice to the troubled protagonist and I was there for her when she saw herself being replaced by a white woman when her role got lines on the sequel. Whenever she was feeling upset, I simply had to make her laugh.

“In all seriousness, I get where you’re coming from. We’ve had it bad, being background faces without a voice and all. But now I feel like we are being punished for getting too close to the main guys. My sole purpose for existing is being the black person that perishes to motivate the survivors to carry on. I don’t own the story”

Taraji jumped up like her ass caught fire. More than her ass, her eyes were on fire, as if she was cooking an idea like prime pizza in a stone oven.

“But what if we did, though?”

“I’m listening”

“What if we owned the stories? We’ve been analyzing how stuff works all this time, we know the works. It’s simply a matter of opportunity, see? We jump in when there’s a breaking point and make our names. You, for an instance. You can begin the investigation right after the first murder happens and never read demonic books out loud”

“I could finally become the killer!”

“What?”

“Stab a fork in their eyes and eat with spaghetti as if they were meatballs”

“Hey, um, ok…”

“Use my victims’ fingernails as pendants on a necklace”

“Yeah, we’ll talk about that later, love. Believe me, we will. First, we need to tell the others. Text Viola, I’ll phone Davis. We revolt at dawn”

Taraji could be the disposable secondary characters in their story, but never in mine. She always was, and would ever be, my leading lady.

 

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