“Shut up.” Porter raised the gun to eye level, ensuring that Stanley knew where his death was going to come from. “I don’t know whether to beat the shit out of you or blow your brains out.” He moved toward Stanley. “Sit your ass down. In that there chair,” Porter indicated the chair by the table. Stanley didn’t move, staring at the gun. “Sit!”
Stanley collapsed into the chair. “What?” he sputtered, trying to gather himself. “Why are you doing this?” Porter didn’t reply. He pulled the other chair to him, turned it around and straddled it cowboy style, never taking his eyes off Stanley. He sat a few feet away from him, his mouth set in an angry line, the darkness of the night casting light on his face in strange shadows; his eyes were dark empty hollows that glared at the youngster sitting in front of him. When he spoke, his voice was deep, guttural, the depth of his pain hidden beneath his intent.
Stanley is a monster. A killer. The devil that killed Ben.
“You know,” Porter said. “I been sitting around all night wondering what it is that makes you do the things you do. The thing that makes you tick. What, in your mind, makes you do the things you do.” He waggled his finger at Stanley. “I’m going to ask you a question. I’m only going to ask you this once so you only get one chance to get it right. Why did you kill that little boy today?”
“I didn’t kill anybody…”
Porter lunged forward and smashed Stanley in the face with the barrel of the gun. A flash of blood sprayed outward, his head slammed back against the wall and he slumped to the floor with his hands covering his face while he cried in pain. Pain blurred his vision but he heard Porter’s voice through the haze. “Shut up! Shut up all that crying big man. Because if anybody hears you and comes up those stairs, I’m gonna put a hole in your neck. A big one.” Porter waited as Stanley got quiet. “Now. Next time you lie… I kill you.” Porter let his words hang in the air for a moment, waiting for Stanley to grasp the finality of the situation. “Now sit up! Put your ass in that chair before I fuck you up! Sit up!” Stanley struggled to bring himself upright, eyes alight with fear; a terror that Porter intended to use to obtain some measure of truth and, failing that, maybe some sliver of understanding. That was something that Porter really needed. It was suddenly important that he know why. Why he was destined to having his heart ripped out. Why was his love more cursed than others. Why? Some deep down part of him needed a reason. As if stoning his son could be justified, as if there could be an explanation that would ease his mind. Then maybe Porter could bring his soul to the point of coping with the loss of his son and with the evil that he was about to extract from this kid who took his life. “I can’t even begin to tell you what it means to me… what it means to you, for us both to be honest here. It’s the only chance you have right now. So don’t lie, you cold blooded fuck? Okay?”
Stanley nodded his head in agreement.
“Okay?” Porter jabbed him in the chest with the gun. Stanley nodded harder. “Okay,” Porter said. “Now tell me, why did you kill that little boy today?”
Stanley rocked in the chair, trying to staunch the flow of blood that was streaming down his face. The liquid was hot and sticky. His mind raced, seeking an escape. He looked over at the tree house window and thought that he might be able to jump out if the moment presented itself. He looked toward the door but realized he would never make it. The man with the gun was directly in front of him with his finger on the trigger.
“I don’t know,” Stanley said.
“You don’t know? You. Don’t. Know?” Porter shot forward and pressed the gun squarely into Stanley’s ear. “Well, both of us can’t be in the dark. ‘Cause I sure as hell don’t know. I don’t know, but I’m trying to know. Trying to understand why you had to kill. Why you have to take a life. One of us got to know something and you know what? You better know it real quick.” Porter was so close that Stanley could smell his sweat. “Now tell me why you killed that little boy. But this time you better answer like it’s the last thing that you will ever say. Because it just might be.” Porter sat back in the chair and waited.
Stanley said nothing, his hopes for escape fading with each passing moment. He was trapped by a crazy nigger with a gun in a tree house. No one was coming to help him. No one could help him. He considered the man’s question. Searched his mind for an answer that could get him out of this situation but finally came to the conclusion that there was no right answer, no solution that would save him. This guy was angry. Past angry. He was raging. He didn’t care. Stanley knew it. It was unheard of for a Black to come into this neighborhood, it just didn’t happen. They know better than that! Yet here he was. So this man was deranged. There was no escape for Stanley. He came to that realization and calmly excepted it. Almost casually, he looked into Porter’s eyes… and Stanley shook hands with his fate.
“You want to know the truth,” he said. “The real truth? We were just having fun. Playing around. I mean, what could be more fun than seeing how many boo-berries you could hit with a rock.” Stanley saw Porter’s hand start to shake. “It’s not like that was the first spook we ever took a rock to. It’s what we call the natural order of things and the herd has to be thinned out. The smallest and the weakest are the first ones to go.” Porter said nothing. “My daddy always told me that spooks ain’t real anyway. So what does it matter?”
“Your daddy was right.” Porter felt a coldness creep up his spine. “Nothing matters.”
Nane Quartay was born in upstate New York. After a tour in the US Navy, he traveled extensively before returning to New York to begin writing his first novel, Feenin’. His titles include Come Get Some, Take Two And Pass, The Badness and soon to be released Feel The Fire. He now lives in the Washington, DC area.
Get to know the author:
1) What drove you to write this story?
I was born and raised in upstate New York but I spent a few years living in Georgia right after I graduated from high school. I was always exposed to diversity – both socially and personally – and I took that learned behavior to the south with me. There’s not much difference between de facto racism and Jim Crow when life is the barometer.
2) Are people trapped by racism?
In a very real sense, I think that most people are. The ones that I think are really clamped in the snare are the people who insist that they are colorblind. That they don’t see skin or its hue. They are the most dangerous, much like a trapped animal, because they will never see you for who you are. They will never be able to talk honestly and openly about race because they deny uniqueness in its ultimate form. One of the very qualities that makes you your unique self is the YOU that you bring to the table. (Crazy sentence but it says what I want it to say.)
3) There are a few other social issues you tackle in the telling of this story. Name a few and why you felt the need to speak on them?
I’ll name two: First there is a young man who comes face to face with his sexuality and struggles to find the courage to accept what he desires. His struggles were not only with himself but with society, his family and his friends. He has to chose between his sexual desires and his life… heavy emotional lifting for a teenager.
Secondly, there is the racial battle amongst Black folks about the use of the ‘N’ word. The history of ‘nigger’ has had a more profound and resonant effect on Blacks than any other social injustice and I wanted to examine the issue from the viewpoints of two generations; the old and the young. The unanswered question: will it ever end.
4) Your writing style is unique. It falls between urban speak and literary poetry at times. How do you classify yourself as a writer? Do you have a specific genre?
I love fiction. And I love reading. When telling a story, I catch rhythms and flows that speak to the matter at hand, often breaking rules and oftentimes loving that too. Writing is fun and revealing. Honest and real. It can also release spirits and bare souls. So I’m still trying to find a genre but until then, the written word will suffice.
5) What do you like to read?
Anything that is well written. The best writers grab you with the first sentence and don’t let go until the last page. Those are the types of books Ilike.
6)What advice would you give to an aspiring writer?
Read a lot. Write a lot. And always believe in your talent. In the end, that is what brings you through.
7) Are you working on a new novel? What’s next for you?
I’m currently working on an erotic novel. Relationships and sex from a hungry man’s point of view. Can’t wait to see how that one ends!
Find the author and the book:
Feel The Fire
Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1593095821?tag=simonsayscom
Barnes & Noble – http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/feel-the-fire-nane-quartay/1116055714?ean=9781593095826&itm=1&usri=9781593095826&cm_mmc=AFFILIATES-_-Linkshare-_-PwUJvmDcu1U-_-10:1&r=1,%201
BAM – http://www.booksamillion.com/ncom/books?isbn=1593095821
INDIE BOUND – http://www.indiebound.org/book/9781593095826
Blogs and Websites:
Nane Quartay: http://www.nanequartay.webs.com/
Twitter: Nane Quartay@NaneQuartay