The Exterminator came to, but he was not sure because he was in complete darkness, the florescent light was turned off, he tried to adjust his eyes to the darkness, but could not see a damn thing, he was hungry his stomach rumbling as he belched.
I see you are awake,” that same voice said out of the darkness, he had come to hate that accent. Then he heard a foot shuffling next to him, and a chair was sat in front of him, he waited, listening to the breathing of his visitor,
You must be hungry I will feed you if you tell me what I want to know.” The African said. The Exterminator did not respond.
“You know, when I came to this country I thought, thank God, I can find the peace and freedom I never had in my own country, no more violence, no more refugee camps, just peace. But this is a different kind of war, economic survival. My first day in this city I was attacked, couple of kids tried to rob me after I asked them for directions. I was stunned, the richest country in the world and yet people resort to violence to get what they want. I see the news, all the crime, the killings, hell, how different from home could this be. The rich live in safe suburban castles, while the poor attack each other to survive. With the exception of genocide, people here are not much different from my country. It is a strange way of showing how alike we are, but stupidity is universal. There are good people and then there are those who believe themselves to be innovative and use crime to get what they want. We need to focus on what is good about us that make us alike.” He stopped talking and looked at The Exterminator for a second. “Are you one of those innovators? Are you one of those who use violence to make a living?” Nelson said then stopped talking as if waiting for a response, but when he got none he continued.
“Today I felt that old feeling, you know, like death walks with me, took me back to the day the rebels attacked, they went through the village killing at random, women, children, even babies. They took us boys and forced us to be soldiers, I came to love killing, it was the only way to stay alive, cause your own friends would kill you to save their own ass. When the U. N. forces finally came, I was relieved, but soon found myself in a refugee camp. Lots of people died there in limbo, waiting for some salvation. Then I found out that there was a tribunal wanting evidence of the human rights violations on my people, they wanted to try rebel leaders for their war crimes, so I testified, lots of good that did because the warlord is still killing today as we sit here, who sent you, did they send, you tell me,”
The Exterminator did not respond, this the man believes that he was sent by some dictator to kill him, he was going to let him keep thinking that while he plot his escape,
“You have a family?” Nelson asked, the Exterminator just looked at him, Nelson kept talking
“I miss my family, someday I will get my revenge, even if it is those animals being executed for what they did,” Nelson sighed and was silent for a second.
The florescent light came on and The Exterminator blinked, never would he believe a florescent light could be so bright, Nelson stood in front of him,
You will tell me who sent you, I will not spend my days looking over my shoulder, nor will I keep running, I will fight off every animal they send to kill me,” he said, The Exterminator looked at him his eyes rolling around in his head, he had not eaten for days, and he was finding it hard to focus, his stomach convulsed with hunger pains, he was dizzy, and he almost passed out,
“You need to eat don’t you? I should cook you something as good as your mother used to make for you,” Nelson said, The Exterminator spat at Nelson, this damn animal was polite, as if he was a priest or something. Nelson turned and dissolved into the darkness beyond the light, and then there was complete darkness.
The Exterminator sat listening, trying to hear anything that would give him any indication of where he was, but there was no sound. The silence was deafening, until he heard a faint shuffle, he sat still and listened intently there it was again. He tried looking around, but could not see anything, and then he felt tiny paws tickle his feet, and then the unmistakable sound of rats. He hated those devilish creatures, he tensed up as what sounded like a stamped of little feet came towards him, their screeching echoing in the dark room, and he bit down so as not to scream. The hairy beasts crawl up his legs and onto his body, he tried to stay still, but the beasts were blood thirsty and he felt them nibbling at his flesh, they were big like small kangaroos. He stiffened up waiting for them to feast on his body, but no sooner had they came in, they ran off in a wave of screeching, and he was left in the darkness, he felt blood running down his face as he slipped into unconsciousness wondering how the African knew about his fear of rats. .
Ridim for so, gwan boi
Let me tell you about some of the encounters I had with the brothers. Though not as negatively profound, there still was an attitude of “you are not one of us”. One thing I learned real quick is that if a black man dates a white woman, some black men assume she is a “brother lover” so they did everything to conquer her.
In the fall of nineteen eighty-six, The Coal Miner’s Daughter and I were standing in line at the cafeteria of the school. One of the football players, Specs I will call him, decided to “Mac” on her. I guess he thought there was no better time to try. Hell, I was standing right there, so I guess he was trying to make a fool of me because he occasionally turned to his jock buddies laughing. They wanted to teach the immigrant how it was done. The second time he turned to his friends, The Coal Miner’s Daughter handed me the tray and walked off. He stopped talking to his friends turned around with this stupid grin on his face. “What time you want me to ……….,” he asked as he turned around and stopped dead in his tracks when he realized he was talking to my chest. I could see the disappointment in his eyes when he he saw that he was not looking into the chest he wanted to. “Is seven good for you?” I asked, then blew him a kiss. His glasses almost fell off his face as laughter filled the cafeteria as his friends dogged him.
I was called every name in the book by some of these gentlemen. African booty scratcher, dirty Jamaican, starving Ethiopian – of course none of the above applied because I am a frigging Spice Islander. I was not mad about the way they treated me. I knew that people who felt like they were being oppressed usually deflected their lack of security on others; been there, done that. Now you may derive from my tone that I am a little perturbed with the brothers. Well to a certain degree I am. Where the hell were they when a white president ordered the invasion of a black nation? Did they take to the streets? Did they express solidarity? As a matter of fact the army that invaded the island was sixty percent black. Now there is a perfect example of keeping people separated by culture. The only brother that showed interest in our plight was Harry Belafonte. Thank you my friend; it was the humane thing to do.
I can’t talk about Lexington without mentioning some of the culture-shocking encounters. Between you and me Hillbillies are naturally funny. This one incident stuck with me. It was the first time I had to reassure anyone of my “blackness”. I was working at a toy store when this blue haired white woman dressed like a dame in her lacy white blouse and dark blue skirt walked past me. She went to the aisle with dolls and surveyed the shelves, then looked round. I saw in her face that she was hesitant to ask me any questions, but had no choice. I was the only worker on the floor at the time. She wanted a doll but all we had was the black ones. The shear look of dismay in her eyes was hysterical. I thought here is an opportunity to have some real fun. I was mean like that. I asked her if I could help her in any way. I was sweet like brown sugar with a big smile on my face. Hell I had to show them tropical teeth.
I saw the stressful look on her face disappear when she realized I had an accent. Confidence seeped into her expression as she asked me if we had any of the white dolls, but it took her a couple of seconds before she stuttered the word white. After I told her that all we had was the black ones, she turned to walk away, but stopped. She looked at me and told me that I was not one of them. I looked at her, her blue eyes a little red with age and asked who was the “them” she was talking about. She looked perplexed at my question, then leaned into me, her eyes tilted upwards. She told me in a strange whisper that I was not black. I looked around. Was there some ethnicity god around? Did she think he would smite her down if he heard? I told her I was not from The City of Golden Streets, but as god is my witness I was black. She looked flabbergasted for a second as if surprised that I would admit to being black; she insisted that I was not black, but foreign. I asked her what she thought being black meant? She did not answer so I proceeded to explain to her by using a Peter Tosh song lyric: “No matter where you come from as long as you are black, you are African.” She looked at me, puzzled. I mean, what was I thinking? This poor lady did not have any clue who Peter Tosh was.
I could tell by the look on her face that I succeeded in totally confusing her. She was quiet for a second and then insisted again that I was not black. I was at my wits end. The perplexed look on her face only helped with my growing impatience. I looked around the store and decided to illustrate my blackness emphatically by using the only thing that most white people here seemed to believe about black men. I reached down and started unzipping my pants. Hell, if she did not want to listen to reasoning, I was going to show her. She turned around and ran for the door, her face red as a beet, her little legs churning like a propeller. I was surprised she did not report me to the bosses, or worse, call the cops. Can you imagine the headlines: “Former Basketball Player At Christian College Arrested For Attempted Indecent Exposure”?
If I could I would reach up and catch a shooting star
And the world would stop for a moment.
I would swim to the depths of the ocean and stay there
For as long as I can, hide myself from reality
I would build my house at the top of Mt. Everest
Slowly let myself fall asleep for lack of oxygen
I would jump off the world’s highest waterfalls
Float in the air and watch my life in the falling water.
I would stamped with the elephants on an African plain
Feel the earth shake as I bounced around their feet like a football
I would kiss a beautiful woman until my heart stopped
And I was dead in the moment
I would sit on a graveyard and feel the souls of the dead
Enter me, torturing me, as if I was their only hope for salvation