Brother Huey Got His Back

{Editors Note:  The dialog between Jameel and Alfonso was taken from my unpublished novel Sin Against the Race.}

He knew Hegel.  He knew Marx.  He knew Lenin.  He knew Trotsky.  He knew Mao.  He knew Ché.  He knew Cleaver.  He knew a whole bunch of others that none of the rest of the group knew.  And he knew Brother Huey got his back.

The Circle.  Once upon a time he relished it.  Upon the intended prey, isolated in the circle’s confines, he wielded his tongue with dangerous precision, leveling the harshest questions and making the bluntest assessments.  If the victim cowered, he usually paused and said, “You know, it ain’t personal.  It’s about the revolution.”  Then he doubled down.  No one else got into it the way he did.  And he got away with it because he knew Hegel and Marx and Lenin and Trotsky and Mao and Ché and Cleaver and a whole bunch of others that none of the rest of the group knew.  He was the Party.

~~~

Jameel felt himself getting drowsier and his slur increased.  He begged Alfonso to leave with him.  Alfonso was tired of the party anyway, so he agreed.  They ran under Alfonso’s tiny umbrella to a waiting bus.  They sat in the back across from each other, slouched on their seats.

“You sleep?” Alfonso said.

“Naw.  Bus moves to much.”

“Don’t here you talk much about the Party no more.”

“Ain’t nothing to talk about.  Don’t hang around with ‘em no more.”

“Ferreal?”

“New clique took over.  A coup.  They thought they were going to criticize me.”

~~~

They feared him no longer.  Surreptitious serendipity ignited a frenzied schadenfreude.  How the mighty had fallen.

~~~

“Criticize you about what?”

“They put you in the middle of a circle with them sitting all around you.  And they criticize you, try and break you.  Tell you what’s wrong with you and why you ain’t a good revolutionary.”

“I know what the circle is, but why you?”

~~~

The e-mail was in all caps.

YOU ARE HEREBY SUMMONED TO APPEAR BEFORE THE PARTY AND SIT IN THE CIRCLE.  THERE WE WILL DELINIATE YOUR FAILINGS AS A MEMBER AND AS A REVOLUTIONARY.  THIS PRACTICE IS NECESSARY TO MAINTAIN GROUP COHESION AND DISCIPLINE IN THE MOVEMENT.  PART OF YOUR PLEDGE WAS TO APPEAR IN THE CIRCLE IF SO SUMMONED.  IF YOU BELIEVE IN THE REVOLUTION AND THE PARTY, YOU WILL APPEAR AT 2000 HOURS IN THE USUAL LOCATION.  YOU MAY NOT BRING ANY NOTES.  YOU MAY NOT BRING COUNSEL.  YOU MAY NOT DISCUSS THIS MATTER WITH ANY PARTY MEMBERS PRIOR TO THE MEETING.  YOU MUST DEFEND YOURSELF AND ANSWER THE CHARGES SOLELY ON YOUR OWN MERIT.

LONG LIVE THE REVOLUTION.

For a long time all Jameel could do was stare at the screaming letters and say “what the fuck?” over and over.

~~~

“Told you.  It was a coup.  Those punks thought they knew shit about me.  Thought they were gonna break me.  I wouldn’t let ‘em.  I didn’t go back.  And I ain’t going back.  No one’s gonna make me fucking cry, shit.  Fuck them.  I know what revolution looks like.  I’ll do what I please.”

~~~

He needed to space on the e-mail, so he closed it and started browsing.  Hard bodied brothers pictured on the usual sites he haunted distracted his mind.  Then he froze.  His hands fell from the keyboard.

Impossible.  It’s always so dark over there.

The trees on that side of the park blocked the streetlight.  And the restroom light was so dim.  Shadows met in the shadows.  Darkness and cinder block walls cloaked the inferno of desperate lust.

Or did they?

From the restroom door he thought he saw a familiar shape in the distance that night, lingering, perhaps rubbing himself as those of this realm often did.  Jameel stared.  But the other wouldn’t come closer.  He just lingered, then turned quickly and vanished.

Did I move into the light?  Did he see my face?

He couldn’t be sure.

He shutdown his computer.  He got up.  He walked across the room.  And then he collapsed to the floor and drowned himself in a puddle of his own tears.

~~~

“Why don’t you come over, ‘Fonso?  We can play some Wii.”

“You sure you’re up for it?”

“Course I am.  Shit.  I can still whup your ass, man.  Walk me home, alright?”

Alfonso wished he didn’t have the urge to caress him.  He cursed the beer.

“I gotta go to church with my family tomorrow.”

“So.  I’m going out to the fucking ‘burbs to see my folks.  If I wake up.”

Alfonso said nothing.

Jameel pulled the cord for his stop.  “Let me have your umbrella.”

He handed it to him.

“What am I supposed to use?”

“You got your hoodie on.”

He hopped up and pushed out the rear exit.

Alfonso wondered if he should have gone with, as the bus lurched from the curb.  The rain would have given them both a needed cold shower, he chuckled.  But going to Jameel’s like that wasn’t what the trip to the party was about.  He went to forget something, not create a new regret.

He moved to another seat so that he faced forward.  He leaned his head against the glass and gave his reflection a sideways glance.

~~~

Jameel walked into his apartment dripping wet.  He took off his clothes and put the heater on.  The bookshelf sat next to the thermostat.  It held the collection, Hegel, Marx, Lenin, Trotsky, Mao, Ché, Cleaver, and all of the others.  Huey Newton wasn’t there.  Didn’t matter, though.  He knew Brother Huey got his back.

But there is nothing to say that a homosexual cannot also be a revolutionary.  And maybe I’m now injecting some of my prejudice by saying that “even a homosexual can be a revolutionary.”  Quite the contrary, maybe a homosexual could be the most revolutionary.

– Huey P. Newton, August 15, 1970

 

© 2011, gar. All rights reserved.


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