The Colors of August, Chapter 8

Chapter 8

 

 

 

There is a knock on the door.  At first I think it’s the boys.  I have been pacing back and forth wondering what went down at that party.  I knew Beau was mad.  I knew that he was beyond heated and I knew he was going to do something radical. I just wasn’t sure what that was yet.

 

When I open the door I’m shocked by who it is.

“Lena?”

My sister is standing there.  Lena looks different.  She always kept her hair cut short when she lived down south with us.  Now her hair was long.  It was long and flowed down in a permed hairstyle.  She had on some tapered leg trousers.

“Hey Steve,” she says.

 

Lena is the only one in the world that calls me Steve instead of Stevey.  It’s awkward as we stand there looking at one another.  I don’t know why.  Neither of my sisters had ever been too big on emotion.  Momma used to say they were two men trapped in the bodies of pretty girls.  She takes me in silently until I finally break the awkwardness and embrace her.  I hug her fully, allowing my hands to wrap around her.

She pats me down slowly and awkwardly but smiles none-the-less, as best she could.

 

 

“Well damn, I guess pigs do fly.  How you been, girl?”

“Better,” she smiles, “You in here alone?”

“Yeah why?”

There is a pause.  Lena looks nervous for some reason.  I don’t really get it.  It doesn’t really click to me what would be making Lena nervous.

 

Lena is acting real suspicious.  She was the type of girl who scared easily.  You can see the expressions off of her.  She’s looking at this house as though this is a nightmare that she was trying to forget.

 

I’m confused even more,  “What are you doing down here?”

Lena called every now and then.  She sent us some money every now and then too.  She had supposedly been married to this big shot up north.  She had a house that was real nice too.   I never thought she’d step foot back in Birmingham, Alabama, that’s for sure.

 

“Sissy called,” she whispers softly.

 

All of a sudden I’m very well aware of why she’s down here.

 

“Sissy out here being dramatic Lena.”

I walk into the house.  I can feel Lena hot on my tail as we make it to the small little living room.  It’s no wonder she didn’t arrive at the door with no bags.  It’s no wonder that I can almost still see the lights from her car outside shining past the curtains.

 

 

“We think it’s about time you moved up North with me,” she tells me, “So go ‘head now.  Pack a bag.  Take what you need.  I’m here to bring you back.”

I felt as though this was an ambush.  That’s the best way to describe it.  If it was a year ago I would have done it.  I would have felt pressured from my sister to do what they said.  Hell, maybe even a month ago I would have done it.  Right now though I just didn’t know.  Something was keeping me here and I couldn’t quite put my finger on it.

 

 

“I’m not going.”

“What’s that?”

“Lena, Sissy needs me down here.”

“Sissy is stronger than you,” she states, “You done got yourself involved with Shug and those boys raping a white girl.  Do you know what that means?”

“They didn’t rape no white girl.”

“From what I hear you weren’t even there,” Lena states.

“They didn’t rape no white girl.”

“You willing to put your life on that?” she asks me, “You willing to hang for that?  Because when they come they going to come for everybody. You hear me?  Every—dam—-body…”

“I’m not going.”

“Stevey…”

“You heard him Lena,” a voice states.

 

 

We all turn at the same time.  It’s Beau who speaks, but he’s not alone.  We notice Beau, Lonny and Shug walk in the house.  Immediately I notice Shug’s eyes draw onto Lena.  Their weird relationship had ended with Lena abruptly leaving Birmingham.   You can almost cut through the tension.

 

“Lena…” Shug states.

 

Lena ignores Shug almost completely as though he’s not even there.   She turns relatively fast back to me.

“I’m going to run some errands in town.  I’m gonna call tonight.  If you not home, I’m leaving here without you,” she tells me.

I can tell she means it.  I watch as she turns briskly and starts making her way towards the back door.  It’s curious that she wants to avoid Shug so much that she’s going out a whole different door.  Oddly enough Shug looks like he’s ready to follow her.  He makes it halfway to the kitchen all the while screaming out here name.

“Lena, wait,” Shug is saying.

 

Lena pays him no mind at all and before he can follow her out the house I see Beau looking over at him.

 

“Let ‘er go,” Beau responds.

 

 

Shug looks irritated but he listens to his brother.  He sits on the couch.  I sit next to him.  Beau walks back into the room.  Lonny has this look on his face as he’s standing there in my living room.  I look over at Lonny and I can tell something is definitely wrong.

 

“How was the party?” I ask.

 

“Good,” Beau states.

“Lonny, how was the party?” I ask.

 

“I already told you it was good, didn’t i?” Beau asks.

 

I roll my eyes at Beau, “I was talking to Lonny.”

Little Lonny was a kid who was always girl crazy.  That’s the best way you can describe him.  Big girl, skinny girl, black girl, white girl, tall girl, short girl, none of it mattered.  As long as the person had a pussy Little Lonny was trying to fuck them.  He reminded me of one of those little dogs who humped your leg.  That was his mode in life.  Pussy chasing.  So all this other stuff that was going on in his life looks like it’s clearly taking a toll on him.

 

He raises his hands and shrugs, “Like Beau said.”

That’s when I notice his hands.

 

“Is that motherfucking blood on your hands Lonny?” I ask.

 

 

“Oh god Lonny, you’re a goddam fuck up,” Shug says slapping him in the back of his head.

 

 

“I thought I cleaned it all off at the gas station,” Lonny responds frantically.

 

“You’re lucky it was just Stevey who saw it,” Shug continues to dig into him, “You fuckin’ idiot.  I swear I don’t know why we hang with you.”

Shug can be a bully sometimes specifically when it comes to Lonny.  That’s because Lonny wasn’t the smartest one in the group.  He definitely wasn’t even anywhere close.  I watch how he seems to shuffle in his stance at that movement getting more and more anxious about it all.  Beau remains quiet as usual just watching the exchange not really saying anything until it was absolutely necessary.

 

 

“What’s the blood from?” I ask.

 

They all get quiet.  They all remain quiet.  It’s as though they don’t fucking hear me.

 

I shake my head, “Let me ask this again.  Where the blood come from Lonny?”

Lonny looks overwhelmed, “Ask Shug.”

I turn to Shug.  The mouthpiece of the south.  The slick car salesman who swore up and down he can charm his way out of anything.  I watch how he flashes me one of his smiles.  He knows he is attractive.  Where as Beau is handsome, Shug is just drop dead handsome.  He’s the kind of guy who could easily be a singer except his voice sounded like shit but you know ladies would line up to drop their panties at him.  He tries to play off that same kind of charm when he’s talking to me.

“We just had a little fun, ain’t nothing serious.”

“What did you do?”

“Killed the dog and threatened ‘em with it,” he states.

“You killed an animal?” I ask.

I’m sick to my stomach.

“You rather us killed one of them?” Beau asks, “Because that was the other option.”

I shake my head.   I can’t believe it.

“This is where we are now?” I ask.

 

 

“You don’t get it,” Shug states, “You and your goddam family been working for the white man too long.  They trying to play us.  I didn’t rape that white girl.  That white girl wanted it.  Now we got to hide out for the rest of our lives?  Too scared to do shit and too broke to leave the city.  This our new life?”

“It makes us look like savages.’

“They already think we’re savages!” Beau states.

I shake my head.  It was stupid. It was only going to escalate things even worse.

“Is that all that happened?” I ask.

 

 

They look at me and both say yes at the same time.  At least Beau and Shug do it.  Lonny looks differently.  Lonny looks away.  He’s turned to the ground as though something else is happening.  It’s almost as though he wants to say something but he doesn’t.  He looks like he feels guilty about something.

It’s at that moment I knew that Lonny was hiding something.

“Lonny, he asked us a question,” Shug states.

 

 

I watch how Shug looks at him.  As soon as I turn to Lonny I can see in the reflection Shug mouth some words to Lonny.  I SWEAR he is feeding Lonny lines about something.

Lonny quickly responds, “That’s all that happened.  Just the dog thing.”

I don’t believe them.  I don’t believe any of them.

 

“Shug can I use your car?”

Shug gives me a look, “Why?”

“I want to go check on Sissy at the Crawfords.  Clearly she’s still there.”

“Nah it’s been a busy night,” Shug states, “They don’t need you right now.”

“I’m going.”

“Beau,” Shug states for help.

 

 

Why would he need help though?  Why was he so intent on me not going back to the Crawfords?   The dog thing was bad but they wouldn’t be acting like this because of that.  Something else had happened.

 

 

Beau stands up at that moment.  He grabs me up.  The way he grabs me is almost in an intimate way.  He wraps his hand around my waist.  I’m surprised he does it in front of Shug.  He leads me to Sissy’s room so that we can have a bit of privacy.   As soon as he’s in Sissy’s room he takes a few breaths.

 

“Can you please calm down, you’re riling everyone up,” he says.

 

“I’ve been here for you guys through it all,” I tell Beau, “Through everything.  What I’m not going to tolerate is lies.  What happened back there?”

“Things got…out of hand.”

“What the hell does that mean?”

“It means we did the thing with the dog and we had no idea that some white girl would come around looking for the dog.  She found us.”

“Oh god.  Did you guys do anything to her?”

He pauses.

 

 

He isn’t answering!

I give Beau a push hard on his chest.  I push him again and again.  Finally, Beau musters up enough strength to answer me.

 

“One of the guys ripped at her blouse.  I think…he was trying to scare her or…”

He looked like he was talking about Shug.   At that moment I’m just irritated.   How much would he protect Shug?

 

“Beau, did he rape that girl?”

“No.  I came and stopped it and…”

“He was going to rape her?”

Beau turns away from me, “No…”

“Are you sure on that?”

This was dark.  I didn’t like to talk about it.  Beau turns, “We aren’t animals…”

“I can’t tell,” I respond, “You attacking dogs now?”

“You feeling sorry for their dogs now?” Beau asks, “When I grew up my father’s friends were beat to death.  10 black boys for protesting.  That blood on the streets.  That wasn’t goddam dog blood. That was human blood.  So while you sitting here worried about man’s best friend, why don’t you worry about man.  Those people got more love for their fucking DOG then they do us.  They treat their fucking DOGS better.  So yeah.  I killed their precious fuckin dog.”

There is so much pain in Beau.  So much pain.

 

“Beau, things will get better,” I state, “But there’s another way.”

He shakes his head, “I don’t see one.  Stay here tonight.  We’ll talk about it tomorrow.”

 

 

With that he leans over and attempts to kiss me.  I turn my face and Beau ends up kissing the side of my cheek.  He seems upset about it but he takes it as he walks out of the room.   I knew there was so much anger in him and in all of them but they weren’t doing anything good at the moment.  Right now they were only making things worse.  For all of us.

 

That’s why I sneak out of Sissy’s window, get to the backyard and get on my bike.

I start cycling to the Crawford house.

 

 

 

~

“There goes one of them!”  I hear as soon as I get on the Crawford property.

I see a group of white boys.  They are teenagers.  White teenagers.   They see me riding up to the Crawford house on my bikes.  They were young, real young.  All around this area were rich white boys but I never specifically saw any of these faces.

 

“Get that nigger!”  another one screams.

All of a sudden I see a rock fly past my head.  It almost hits me.  It almost full blown smashes me in the head.  I keep pedaling up the grand fence that is about a half a mile from the front of the house.  I can see the boys chasing me when I look back.  The rocks they are throwing are bigger and bigger.  The faster I pedal the angrier they get.

 

They chase me all the way to the gardens when my tire breaks out. By now I can count that there are 6 of them.  One of them lifts me, ready to beat my ass when I hear someone interrupt.

“Let him go,” the person says.

 

 

I turn and realize that it’s Chuck.  He’s come with a few of his boys as well.  I definitely recognize these boys.  The memories had come back to me fully.  Seeing them again makes my hair stand on end.  It seems like there were groups of whites pulling up from everywhere now and it didn’t seem like it was some type of party or something.

 

No…this wasn’t a party…this was something…darker.

 

 

 

“Ain’t that the same nigger who was there when Carol got raped?” one of Chuck’s friends asks.

 

“I got him.  He works here.”

The boys look at Chuck like he has three heads.

“He’s a fucking dirty stinking nigger.  You Crawfords can afford some white staff.  This is what happens,” someone else says.

 

There is a chorus of agreements at that time.  The way they sound scares the hell out of me.  The way they are swarming around me like killer bees.  They are so thick that I can’t really hear the barks of racist and angry remarks being yelled at me.  They all just merge into one angry sound of anger.

 

 

“Guys I know what he is.  Trust me I got this.  It’s me, Chuck.  I’ll make sure he gets questioned,” Chuck states, “Make that interrogated.  We’ll have this dirty nigga squealing like a fucking pig before the night is out…”

Sounds of agreement from the ol’ boys club get loud at that moment.  Chants of “That’ll teach ‘em”  and “Kill that nigger dead”  start raising out in the crowd almost immediately.  I had heard scary talk before but this wasn’t anything I had heard before.  Chuck seemed like he was barely able to convince them that he’ll handle it.

Chuck was definitely not the one leading this mob of people.

Chuck runs over to me grabs me up and puts me in this strong choke hold.  He wrestles me to my knees.  I can barely breathe he’s holding onto me so tight.  The crowd seems to react to this squealing in delight as he leads me up the path to the house.

 

It’s not until we are in the house that he lets me go.

 

 

“What the hell were you thinking?”  he asks me, “What the hell were you thinking coming up in here?”

He whispers it to me.  He whispers because the black staff are gathered in the foyer.  They have this look in their eyes. This worried look.  They had all worked the party.  I knew these people.  We had all worked with the Crawfords for years.  I’d never seen this kind of fear on their faces before as they notice the mob of people continuing to form outside.

 

“I needed to see what happened.”

“By having something happen to you?” Chuck asks, “Shit is getting serious now.  I can’t keep trying to protect you.  Stop being so fuckin’ selfish.”

“I don’t need you to protect me.”

“You’re mine,” Chuck states, “I always protect what belongs to me.  I just want you to be more careful.  You hear me?”

He puts his hand on the back of my head.  It’s gentler than he usually does.  I watch how Chuck watches my lips.  He wants to kiss me.  He would.   Hell, even with the staff there I think but then I hear footsteps from the ballroom.  There’s only one person who walks so hard.  It causes Chuck to jump back almost immediately away from me.  Into the room walks his father, Charlie.

Charlie Crawford wasn’t a dumb man.  Chuck might have been quick but when he sees the awkward positioning of where I was and where Chuck was he gives him this deep stare.

 

 

“What the fuck are those hooligans still doing out there?” he asks his son.

“Millwood is getting them all worked up,” Chuck tells his father, “People are getting their guns…if something doesn’t go down tonight he is going to make sure something goes down soon.”

“And you’re in here doing what?” Charlie asks his son.

 

 

Chuck doesn’t answer.  He just has a dumb look on his face.

 

 

Charlie barks at him, “Take your ass out there and clear those people off my property!  I don’t need this type of ruckus here.  The party is over.  They need to leave.  They can go kill random niggers all night for all I care, just not here!”

Maybe it’s the image that makes him say that.  Maybe it’s something else.  It was hard to read Charlie Crawford.

“Yes sir.”

“I’ll come too,” June Crawford says.

 

 

I’m surprised.  June Crawford wasn’t that kind of guy to even want to deal in situations like this.  He always put himself above things like this.

“You sure?” Chuck asks, “Mary might need you.”

“I should have been protecting Mary.  These…” June starts before shaking, “These savages are getting out of control.  Something needs to be done.”

Mary?  Were they talking about Mary Flannery?  Did something happen to Mary?  I watch how the Crawford brothers leave the house at that moment.  I was just hoping August Crawford wasn’t outside involved in all that craziness as well.

 

 

“What the hell you doing?” Charlie Crawford asks me.

 

“Just came back to help sir?”

Charlie Crawford looks me up and down, “You’re looking well.”

“You seem surprised.”

Charlie Crawford shakes his head, “No matter.  Go start in the ballroom.  Your sister is there and she might need your help.”

~

Sissy is in the dining room.  She and the other house girls are helping Mary Flannery, Mrs. Crawford, and Carol Millwood.   The three white woman are drinking.  Mary Flannery is crying and Carol has an arm over her.  I’m a little shaken up by it all.

 

“Same thing,” Carol Millwood says to Sissy as Sissy pours some tea in her cup.

 

The way Carol Millwood says it to Sissy is so strange.  It’s as though I’d walked in on something I shouldn’t have walked in on.  Sissy nods to Carol Millwood and finishes pouring her drink.  Carol doesn’t drink it herself.  She gives it to Mary instead as she continues to pat Mary’s back.

 

As soon as my sister sees me she walks over to me and grabs me by my hand to take me towards the storage closets.

“What are you doing here?” Sissy asks.

 

“I heard something went down.”

“Lena was supposed to be arriving.  She was supposed to be taking you away,” Sissy responds, “That was the plan.”

“I’m not leaving.”

“Did you see outside?  Did you see that mob forming?”

“It’s about Mary?” I ask, “Shug attacked her, didn’t he…made her think he was going to rape her.”

“Shug?”

“Yeah.”

She shakes her head, “Wasn’t Shug, sweetie.”

“I’m confused.  What do you mean it wasn’t Shug,” I state, “Beau told me…”

She shakes her head.

 

 

Sissy looks like she knows something.

 

Sissy shakes her head, “He will pay.  I’m telling you he’ll pay for all of this.”

“What are you talking about?”

 

 

 

“You don’t know why Shug and Lena broke up, did you?” she asks.

 

 

“I figured Shug cheated.”

“It’s not Shug.  Shug just protects him.  I don’t know why you all just protect him.”

“Protect who?”

“Shug and Lena were making love one night.  Shug was real drunk.  Too drunk to finish.  That’s when he climbed on top of Lena.  He finished for Shug whether Lena wanted it or not.   He took her.  He raped Lena.”

Omg.  What had Beau done?

“Why leave Shug?”

“Shug covered for him.  We tried to go to the cops but he said he would get him help.  He promised us.  Said a black man would be killed in prison.  We had to deal with the problem internal.”

Had he raped Carol too?  Sissy hadn’t mentioned Carol.

“So it was Beau who attacked Mary.  Was it Beau who took off her blouse?”

“Beau?” she asks, “You aren’t listening, brother.  Beau and Shug protect him.”

“I’m confused.”

“It’s Lonny,” she states, “Lonny has a problem.  He has a problem that’s going to get us all killed.”

  • John Warren

    Uh, I can guess what is keeping “Steve” down South, a certain month of the calendar maybe?

    • John Warren

      We still are missing some information. I went back to Ch 1. Very last sentence ….”THEY RAPED ME”! Not he raped me, but “THEY” raped me. So Lonny + ???? We still need more info. Sorry even after all the 20/20, 48Hrs, 60 Minutes, Dateline, Criminal Minds, etc TV shows that I have watched, I’m still not a detective and need shit spelled out for me. For me, there is still key piece(s) of this story missing, or the story we have so far has holes in it. I’m willing to agree that Lonny has possibly raped Carol and was trying with Mary. But “They” raped me still rings loud and clear. Who the fuck is “they”. I’ll call the cops now and hand Lonny over, like i said all 3 of those boys, beautiful and/or hung or not, they are all 3 dead to me. I’m so over them. I’m only going to continue to read this story to see how quickly August pulls his head out of his proverbial white ass and gets himself back up North. He is better than the rest of this Crawford Clan. Even June-Bug is starting to act out (he may actually have cause). Screw Lena, August needs to take Stevey and go West. Forget the North and sure as hell forget the South.

  • Brandon Cruz

    It always the quiet ones that you need to watch. Like Sissy said, Lonny is going to get them killed. I get friendship is important, but you would rather protect your friend who raped your girlfriend like really. Don’t be mad if she doesn’t talk to you.

    Stevey should have just left with Lena. Like forget about all of them.

  • Ralph Jones

    I hate people like Lonny. Desperate and needy cause nobody wants their ugly mean little ass. It makes sense that he was the one who raped all the girls. Beau is just a bit violent and rightfully so cause of the injustice that he sees happen to those he loves. They both need to drop Lonny cause he’s gonna get everyone killed. Stevey constantly defends these white people as if they don’t do all the terrible shit they do. Like August is innocent but the rest of them are all evil mean and terrible people

    • Brandon Cruz

      They need to drop Lonny’s crazy ass like yesterday. What does Shug expect Lena to act if you let the guy who raped her get away with it just because he is your friend.

    • Lee namefree

      I keep trying to make June the “good” Crawford, but honestly, June’s lack of reaction to these events are bothering me. Chuck says everyone in the household knew that Charlie and Stevey’s mother were in a long affair. He and Loribeth are very much aware that Charlie had the doctor get rid of Stevey’s mother after she became pregnant. It’s difficult for me to believe that June was the only member of the family who was unaware of thus event?

      June seemed to be okay with flying under the radar until this most recent incident with his fiance. Who is he to advise going to the police? He couldn’t make the same consideration for himself.

  • JJ

    I’m sorry but this has to be said; Stevey does not think half of the time. He might not be as dumb as Lonny but he does some dumb shit.

    If all the black staff who worked the party are present in the house, how exactly would Stevey have heard something went down, if the perpetrators hadn’t told him. If Charlie was thinking and started questioning him on how he knew something had happened at the party, when his ass wasn’t even there; Stevey would be toast.

    Could Carol have possibly been telling the truth? She was flirting, but with only Beau and Shug if I remember correctly. Could Lonny have indeed forced himself on her in the bathroom? We originally doubted her story believing that she was implying Beau raped her, but could it have been Lonny this whole time. Carol might have been drinking but was still sober enough to know she never gave Lonny permission.

    I’m going to need Stevey’s dumb ass to go with his sister. He was almost stoned to death tonight; Chuck is right, he won’t be there all the time to save him and if he’s staying for August; he forgets that August lives up north.

    • John Warren

      JJ, I agree with you….just one nagging thought though is that very last set of 3 words from Ch 1 “THEY RAPED ME”. Not he or Lonny or Beau even, but “THEY” so this implies to me Lonny + who?

    • Lee namefree

      Unfortunately for Beau & Shug, it doesn’t matter if only Lonny did the raping. They are complicit in his crime because they did nothing to prevent it. But we know that Shug participated as well. Whether she wanted Shug or Beau as well, is irrelevant if she didn’t want that sexual encounter to go down in the way it did. I question whether these boys knew that she didn’t want them based on her behavior and actions? But I’m also trying to figure out, what these boys were thinking, and if there was intention to harm her.?

      -Beau seems to really get into sexual humiliation. After sexually dominating Stevey, Beau wipes his sloppy dick off on Stevey’s face. He gets off on sexual domination and humiliation, but would that extend to assaulting Carol? He definitely humiliated her, and I think he was stimulated by it, because he wanted to fuck Stevey afterwards. But did he think Carol was being raped? Was he getting off on her being raped?
      -Shug seems to be really sure that Carol wanted him and Beau. He seemed to be really confused by her cry of rape. I understand why. She was aggressively rubbing his dick under the table, in full view of August. What should he have thought about a woman who didn’t seem to care who knew she wanted him? Did Shug hold Carol down and prevent her from pushing Lonny away? Or was he just getting his freak on while Beau talked dirty to her & Lonny fucked her mouth? Did Shug know he was raping her?
      -Lonny is delusional. He’s the only one saying that Carol wanted him to take Beau’s place. He raped Lena. He tried to rape Mary Flannery. The night of the rape, I thought he was crying because he feared southern justice. But maybe it was his guilt catching up to him?

      I still think Carol is lying about parts of her story. She claims she went into the bathroom alone with Beau, then he called his friends in to join them. Why would she wait for the friends to join them, if she only wanted sex with Beau? And why was she rubbing Shug’s dick if it was Beau she wanted? Carol may have been raped, but her story is sketchy.

      Stevey is a sex addict. He would be in trouble wherever he moved.

  • Lee namefree

    This story is just rife with sexual excentricities ranging from Dom/sub role playing, bondage, gang banging, high risk sex, and now sexual addiction, but was any of this sexual assault? All I know for certain is that Staten has gotten us completely fucked up with this story!

    Who was sexually assaulted?:

    1) Well Mary Flannery was definitely assaulted. Lonny may have only ripped her blouse but he threatened to have sex with her. After murdering her dog. He is clearly delusional about women’s needs!

    2) Was Carol Millwood raped? Everyone involved is lying about something. Carol lied when she told August she only wanted Beau. She was rubbing on Shug’s leg at the table. She wanted both big black men. Lonny lied when he said Carol said he could take Beau’s place. Carol didn’t want “little” Lonny. Carol likes big black men. Not 5’3 baby faced Lonny. Beau lied when he said he did nothing. He made Carol think he wanted her, laughed, and humiliated her while she was getting fucked at both ends. Shug lied when he said Carol followed them into the men’s room and interrupted them when they were smoking a pipe. They brought her with them to smoke weed (they could of smoked pipe tobacco at the table) and have some fun.

    3) Was Carol Millwood raped? Everyone thinks they’re telling the truth. Beau wants to believe he didn’t do anything wrong. He never touched her. But ethically, morally and legally, he’s complicit. Lonny is delusional. He doesn’t fit the profile of a rapist, but profiles don’t fit everyone. He probably thinks Lena wanted him too. Shug knows Carol wanted him, but I think he’s trying to convince himself that Carol wanted Lonny too. He held her down while having sex, as men sometimes do, but did he hold her down and force her to submit to Lonny? Carol believes she was raped. She wanted kinky sex with one or two fine looking brothers. She would have been okay with fucking Beau, then Shug, but she didn’t invite Lonnie. He forced himself on her while Shug was fucking her. So was Carol raped? It’s hard for me to believe she didn’t object to Lonny when she has a reputation for wanting 6’4 black men with 7’in dicks. And there are a lot of women who don’t like oral sex. I think she was raped. Lonny raped her mouth, while Shug held her down.

    4) Was Stevey raped? Clearly Stevey has zero concern for his well being. He looks for danger and incites violence towards him. The logical person would have called the Crawford residence, instead of pedalling over on a damn bike!! Black staff answer the phone. Sissy would’ve called home. Even if Stevey has no phone, it’s 1967. Phone booths are on a street corner, and only cost a nickel!! So was Stevey raped? Stevey likes role playing violent sex. Beau plays with him. Chuck plays with him. Chuck’s friends weren’t playing. They raped him, and they’ll do it again.

    5) July was fucked. Okay the dog wasn’t raped. But he was sliced open and nailed to a door. Poor little thing absolutely didn’t deserve that.

    There is still the question of who the mysterious suited white man was who entered bathroom while Carol was being assaulted. Could it have been Peter in his uniform? If so, why didn’t he reveal what he saw? Why didn’t Carol identify him? Why was Peter allowed to attend the party. He may be white, but he’s still the help?

    • John Warren

      Well said, Staten gotten us completely fucked up with this story. He has invoked emotions on sexual deviations plus he has invoked emotions on a topic of racism during a period of time when racism wasn’t racism (if you were white), and completely acceptable especially in the South. You’ve definitely read more of his books than i have, but you’re right and I also said yesterday that he has us right where he wants us “hooked on his words”. This if the most confused that I’ve been this far into any of his previous books I’ve read.

      Also your last point is a sore spot with me. There was no justification in harming that puppy, killing it is unforgivable. For me these 3 are dead and non-redeemable. I hold them with the same “HIGH” esteem as I do one certain former NFL QB who tortured dogs.

      • Lee namefree

        Well I’m sure this is going to be an unpopular opinion, but I actually do admire Michael Vick both for his acknowledgement of his crimes, and his fervent efforts both as an animal rights activist and an educator for those like himself, who exploited and abused animals for profit.

        I’m always interested in what leads a person to commit heinous crimes. In a 2007 deposition Vick admitted to strangling, drowning and slamming a dog’s skull into a wall. It’s interesting to note that before his arrest in 2007 Michael thought of himself as a dog lover and had well cared for pets in his home. I wasn’t surprised to learn that he was inducted in the dog fighting lifestyle at the tender age of 9. He was earning money from dog fighting before the age of 11. That’s a fairly early age to be normalized to murdering animals.

        Michael Vick will always be known for his imprisonment for his cruelty to animals. But he uses his experiences to work with underprivileged kids and young adults who are drawn to this lifestyle because of the money they can make. The culture of dog fighting is very addictive. Vick has worked to help professionals to understand it for what it is. He’s also brought a lot exposure to illegal horse racing, cock fighting, and other animals abused for the sport of gambling. I could write another paragraph on the amount of time he invested in working with Philadelphia schools to keep sports programs active to discourage the attraction to dog fighting. Not far from where I work, there is a football field that bares his name. That very underprivileged community’s appreciation for the time he put into it.

        I hate what Michael Vick did. But I like and can appreciate what’s he’s done and continues to do to bring awareness to the many different ways animals are abused for profit.

  • Daisy Transsexual

    You describe lonny as small and dull. And he just taking girls….I dont believe it

  • Lee namefree

    This story has really caused me to question my own judgement and bias. As a woman, I harshly judged Carol Millwood for going to a bar late at night, without panties, rubbing her body and hands against a stranger’s crotch and letting it be known she wanted a fuck. She didn’t verbally asked to be raped, but her behavior suggests, particularly to the group of men she solicited, that she wanted multi-partner sex. I would have a difficult time judging these men guilty. Additionally the south has a long history of persecuting African American men for false claims of rape. So I ask myself, would my answer change:

    1) If Carol were African American?
    2) If Shug, Lonny and Beau were white?
    3) If Carol was a gay man and Shug, Lonny and Beau were also gay?
    4) If Carol was a gay man and Shug, Lonny and Beau were straight?

    1) Carol being African American woman didn’t change my judgement of her behavior, but it was easier for me to identify her as a rape victim for a variety of reasons including the fact that African American woman are 10% more likely to be a victim of rape.

    2) If Shug, Lonny, and Beau were White, I would still think harshly on Carol’s high risk behavior, but again, it was easy for me to identify her as a rape victim. In general, White women are more frequently raped by White men. On average only 4% of rape victims are victimized by a member of another race.

    3) If Carol was a gay man and Shug, Lonny and Beau were also gay, I had zero judgement of Carol’s behavior, for a variety of reasons, but I also had no difficulty seeing Carol as a rape victim.

    4) If Carol was a gay man and Shug, Lonny and Beau were straight, I would question Carol’s judgement and see it as reckless behavior. I had absolutely no difficulty seeing Carol as a rape victim.

    I don’t like to think of myself as having biases or unreasonable prejudice, but people do. I certainly do. When I change Carol’s race, sex and sexual orientation, it’s now clear to me she was a victim. At least it’s clear until Staten throws another curve at us! Until then, I’m going to continue to put these character’s actions through my filter, because this is a story in which it’s all too easy to prejudge.

    • John Warren

      Lee, I think your comment at the end about thinking of yourself as having biases or unreasonable prejudice is the same for any normal person. I would add to that the less tasteful comment of “I’m not a racist”. If you have to state your not biased, your not prejudiced, you’re not a racist, well guess what, you are. I think all 3 belong in the same family together. Going back to when we are born, we are none of these. But literally from the moment we start learning things (good & bad) there are inherent biased, prejudiced and to the point applicable racist principals that we forge through life with. Some people are lucky to have very good influences in their lives, some not so lucky. For those of us that are in the middle or the worse end, part of character as person is how we deal with those inherent judgements we learn and how we reject things we don’t understand or those we don’t agree with.

      For example, having been born in ’62 and growing up in Oklahoma, a common word/term used was “Negro”. I used it! I used until I questioned myself why? Just because that is what my parents said didn’t make it right for me or right period. I ask my mother why she referred to someone as her “Negro Friend”. I didn’t understand why she used the term in describing her friend. But that is what my mother was taught and she never questioned it and passed it on to her children. Does this make me better than my mother, absolutely not. Does this make my mom a bad person, my immediate answer is the same….but honestly I don’t know the answer unless I know the person, know their heart and have witnessed their own actions. For the record I personally think neither of the “N” words should be used. btw…I don’t like that “F” word either

      Take all 4 of your situations with 4 different people and you get 4 different answers. Why, because of how we learned, what we were taught, what our own moral compass is.

      Do you have biases? Probably, just human and really I can’t imagine a person not having a bias of some sort. My personal bias is that the Oklahoma Sooners are the best football team ever in America!
      Do you have prejudices? Only you can answer that. None of us want to admit something like that unless it is over something completely unimportant. But for the things that count, your actions/words will always speak the loudest. And as I’m learning more and more, you non-verbal and in-action can speak just as loud.

      I don’t know if Staten ever does this, but I’d love to hear his thoughts about some of our comments (once this story is done, that is) What were his thoughts/concerns in some of these situations. What story is he really interested in telling. Up until “The Colors of August”, reading Staten’s stories was just good, interesting reading. Bi-Sexual Assassins, how cool is that? But I honestly can’t think of the last time, I’ve kept this involved, scratched my head, and tried to place myself into the shoes of the characters like I have with this story. Not in ages have I questioned my own moral compass. Its not every day you question yourself, what would I do if I were Stevie, August, Chuck, Beau, Uncle Charlie. How would I be in ’67 as 20-something white male living in the South. It is real easy to say well no way would I….but I cant really know that. I only know the here and now. But I will say, between yourself, Staten, Ralph, Brandon, JJ I’ve had a lot of great information, some tears, some confusion, and some determination.

      I know I can’t wait until we are done with this story. I want to know how things turn out. I want to quit thinking so hard about the topic. Yes, this is an uncomfortable topic.

      I know I’m sad to think this story will soon be ending. Sure I want to know how things work out, I like challenging myself with the question of my own behavior. Uncomfortable, too damn bad. Uncomfortable is nothing compared to what an entire class of citizens have endured/endures. Uncomfortable makes me a better man.

      I’m still thinking about your 4 situations. I don’t have my answer yet!

      • Lee namefree

        At the end of the story, if you write your questions in the Forum, Staten will probably respond to you there. It won’t be a spoiler then.

        Parallel Hearts is on chapter 10. I think it’s probably finished next chapter, or the one after. Staten should be previewing a new book by the end of next week.

        I’ve conducted workshops on cultural diversity from a counseling perspective. It can be very challenging, particularly for new therapists, to work with persons from a different race, or culture. The exercise I listed in my comment, is one I challenge my students, staff and interns to consider, “Would I think/feel the same way if the person were…..”

        I’m looking forward to your comment. Despite my belief that Carol was raped, I still believe she’s hiding something. I still think Lonny and Shug are hiding something. Or at least Shug is. I keep asking myself why Shug defended Lonny when he raped Lena, and why he held Carol down to allow Lonny to rape her? Is it possible that Shug gets off on Lonny raping women?!!

        • John Warren

          Lee, I think my answers would be the following:
          1) No change in my attitude based upon race. At first, I thought Carol was lying. The only side of the story we really have is from Beau, Shug, Lonny. But now I’m wondering if I were wrong and it is possible in my mind that Carol was raped by Lonny. Still can’t help but remember the last 3 words of the 1st chapter “The Raped Me” So if she wanted Shug and/or Beau but not Lonny, wouldn’t that have been phrased “He Raped Me” So was it rape and if so, by whom?
          2) I’m not naive enough to think people wouldn’t change their mind based upon the race of these boys being black. Changing the race to white doesn’t change my mind. But they killed the puppy, they are monsters. So black/white doesn’t matter, they are guilty.
          3) Changing the sex of the victim to be that of the alleged attackers doesn’t change things for me.
          4) This one is where I have been having the hardest time with my answer. I’m not a str8 guy, so therefore, I can’t honestly say/think. But based upon some of the “good ole boys” I use to know in H.S., I could see this happening or not happening. My hang up is would str8 boys really and truly have intercourse with a gay man. I just don’t think so. Maybe force the guy to blow them, but fucking, I really doubt it. So I would have a hard timing believing rape regardless of color. Now I would believe there was forced sexual contact, just not intercourse. Does that constitute rape, yes to me it still is rape even without it being intercourse. But the various jurisdictions might not consider anything other than penetration to be rape. So that is a legal question I guess. I’m wishy washy here, i know. Just don’t have a solid answer.

          • Lee namefree

            I keep flip/flopping on the way I see this situation as well. Despite my Bias testing on race, gender, and orientation, I still “want” to believe Carol is lying. But if I do something as simple as change the year of this event from 1967 to 2017, again, I have no difficulty seeing Carol as a rape victim.

            The scenario of Carol being a gay man raped by straight men was inspired by a couple of clients. If you think of rape, as violence, not an indicator of sexual preferences, then it’s perhaps not so odd to think of straight men abusing a gay man, who walks into a bar, sans his undies, looking for a quick fuck with the “forbidden” straight man, as would be the scenario for Carol. I can easily imagine a group of straight men in the 60’s, and how they might lead Carol on then rape him.

            The only difference I could attribute to Carol, Shug, Lonny, & Beau all being gay, is that, in 1967, I can’t see Carol publicly crying rape. This is pre-Stonewall, and I don’t know that Stonewall had all that great an impact in Alabama. I think that a gay man in the 60’s, White or Black, would be inclined to be quiet about a rape.

            I keep waiting for Staten to feed us something that makes this a clear open/shut case, but nothing about this story of black and white people is black & white.

  • Yan

    This is my theory. Stevey Is not a black man. A black person wouldn’t walk to their death like that fam