Disclaimer/Note from the Author: This book is intended for an adult readership. Although it is narrated by children, there is explicit language and there are explicit circumstances. This is a story about how children navigate their way through and/or past those experiences. 

Interior Art by Frankie "Fuzzy" Holzbach

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a taste of chocolate

“Colored folks taste like chocolate.”

that was the last thing I heard my sister say befo she pegged a rock clear ‘cross the river at that white boys head. and down he went.  I aint never seen nothin like that befo. she had a chocolate bar in one hand and with the other hand, that rock flew all the way ‘cross the river.

my brother jeremiah, the oldest of us three chiren, gathered our swimmin clothes, and hurried us off through the woods.

“damn, wallace!” he scolded, “now look whatcha don gon and did.  now we all fixin to git in trouble. come on wallace and sarah mae. run! yall act like you got lead in ya feet.” 

our baby sister wallace was firey, fearless, and strong. until to came to candy. that was her only weakness. whenever she was gittin a whoopin she was the onlyiest one of us who never cried. even jeremiah had tears in his eyes, but not wallace. she just stood there like a proud soldier or somethin.  but take her candy from her, and you’d see a tantrum like a wee bitty baby.

we all started runnin real fast, then wallace just stopped, took a bite of her chocolate bar, and belted out,  “I aint runnin from no white folks.  I aint no slave bout to git a beatin.  yall can run if you wanna, but I aint runnin.  well what chall lookin at!  huh sarah mae? I thought mama said when you reach past puberly you ‘posed to be mo mouthy.  you don got quiet as a lamb.  you know it’s true sarah.  who you lookin at anyway?”

“you, wallace, i’m lookin at yo bad butt. you think you harriet tubman, or somebody special with ya chocolate eatin self”, I laughed, “you aint nothin but a nigga round here in these parts, so you besta brang ya little tail on. by the way, it’s puberty wallace, not puberly.”

jeremiah scooped wallace up on his shoulder.  she was kickin at him so hard, til she kicked him where he couldn’t think straight. 

“aw, wallace whatcha do that fo, girl.  now, I can’t think straight,” jeremiah gasped.

“well you shouldn’t be tryin to carry me.  I aint no baby and you aint my daddy.  and that white boy aint got no right callin us niggas.  yall heard him and acted like he aint say nothin at all,” wallace said in a voice like she had been betrayed. “yall aint say nothin at all,”  

as she helped jeremiah up, she shook her head low to her chest as if she were heartbroken.  I grabbed jeremiahs other arm to help him up.  wallace wasn’t no light footed kid. 

“why you aint do nothin jeremiah?  aint you ‘posed to be the oldest?”

“wallace, when that boy said that he wasn’t gittin in the water with us niggas, I was just glad we had the whole big river to ourselves. the water is one of the best creations this life can give us and I aint fixin to fight nobody when I can be enjoyin my swim. we ‘posed to have nothin but peace when we in the water. so who cares that he said colored folks look like coffee and taste like shit.  cause plenty folks drink coffee and like it and he’s the one with the problem if he know what shit taste like  right?! think about it, but think while we runnin.  now come on lets go!” 

jeremiah always had a way of makin sense out of situations that never seemed to make any kind of sense at all.  wallace thought about what he said fo a minute, but just cause she’s always got to git the last word in, she said, “ well, yall can taste like shit if ya wanna, but me, I taste sweet like chocolate!  It’s 1958 and we got train tracks dividin us up by where we ‘posed to live.  don’t make no kinda sense.  yall can let them honkeys call yall anything yall wanna, but me, they gon call me what I say they gon call me and  that’ll be....

“yea wallace, sweet chocolate,” my brother and I both said.

“yep,” and if they really be hateful, they gotsta call me “miss sweet chocolate.”

“well miss sweet chocolate, you besta bring yo sweet butt on,” my brother jeremiah said with a tickled grin.

wallace was crazy , but you had to love her fire fo a little girl who was still a couple two three years shy of her womanness like me.  she never understood why us black folk had to just bow down to white folk, all on account of the color of our skin.  she say they aught to be bowin to us, cause we the ones who aint killed em all fo treatin our kin worse than a wild coyote eatin up a farm chicken.

I admire my little sister wallace.  i’d never tell her though, cause it would swell up that already big ole head of hers.  she got one belief and one belief only... “you wrong and i’m always right, and when I aint right, it’s cause you wrong!”

ask her what she wanna be in life and she’ll tell you it aint what she wanna be, it’s who she is gon be...the first negro, lady president of the united states of america.  cause she say if she had grown up in africa like we ‘posed to have, she’d be a queen.  in america, she say she’ll settle fo bein the president.  that’s why she say she be makin good grades, so she can be picked to be the president.  but if she lookin to be the president by her attitude, she can give that up, cause she be fightin with them white folks all the time.

wallace don’t understand alot of things, I mean she question things all the time, I guess she got a right to know, but what she don’t know is that alot of things change; however,  aint gon be too much changin cause then white folks be scared we just might be runnin em. they be scared we gon be doin so good fo ourselves, they be jealous and angry. outright spiteful. ‘cordin to them, negroes got they place in life and it aint even no where near them white folk eye level. standin or sittin.  we aint never gon live to see no lady president and we sho aint gon live to see no negro up in the white house.  why you think they call it the white house?  wallace talkin bout she gon name it the blacker than black house. talkin bout how she gon fill her black house with so much chocolate they never run out.  she say all her workers gon be from everywhere ‘cept for where white people don come from or claimed. wallace say that all...