Fiction by Candy
This story began as a school assignment in history but ended up being another one I couldn’t turn in to my teacher. I tried to be as real to the times as I possibly could based on my studies, so please don’t be offended by some of the language.
“Get in the wagon, Elizabeth. I don’t truly wish to do this, but you gotta see it for yourself.”
“Yes, Papa,” I said. I knew what he meant.
Word was around town there was going to be a lynching. Papa didn’t much like to see coloreds killed like that “for no God-forsaken reason” so I knew he wanted me to see it only to teach me how evil this sort of thing was.
My schoolteacher said that after entering the twentieth century, America would finally “fulfill the promise” made when Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves. I wasn’t sure what promises he made, but I didn’t see much evidence of promises kept here in Mississippi, I reckoned. Forty years after they were ‘freed,’ the Negroes living in these parts sure weren’t doing much ‘fulfilling’ as far as I could tell. Three weeks ago, they lynched young Joe because he stared too long at Miss Emily outside the dry goods store. She may be the prettiest young lady in the county, but when a colored man forgets his place and “looks carnally at a white woman” (as I overheard Miss Penny say to Mama) then folks around here will more often than not take out some rope justice. As I climbed into our wagon, I wondered who was going to be at the bad end of that rope today.
“We’re a little late,” Papa said, as he pulled the wagon up to the clearing and the big magnolia tree, with its strangely disfigured and often misappropriated branch. Sure enough, a colored man was already hanging. It looked to me as if folks beat him badly before stringing the poor, unfortunate man up.
“Oh, Papa,” I said, choking back a sob. I recognized him; it was Isaac, and he’d always been nice to my family and me.
Papa said, “I know, Elizabeth. I know.”
Then I saw it. Isaac’s trousers were tattered, nearly torn completely off, and his peter-meat was sticking right out there! I first thought my eyes were playing tricks on me, but the thing was longer than I imagined a man’s privates to ever be; and, as God was my witness it was as big around as my mother’s rolling pin. Looked as hard as that, too. My Pa, too shaken by what was before us to consider what else I was witnessing, didn’t keep me from a-looking. When we got home, Mama was none too happy that Pa took me to see the lynching, saying I’d be “havin’ nightmares all night.” Unlike my Ma’s forecast, my dreams were not of dying men but rather the mystery each kept hidden in their drawers. I may only be thirteen, but I knew a man did something else with his manhood besides pee, even if the details of such an act were heretofore unclear.
I was a stubborn child, so when I needed knowing, I asked. The following day I sat with Miss Ella on the front porch of the house where she did day-maid work.
“Miss Ella, do all Negro men have big peters?”
“Where you get that notion, chile?” she said, a sly smile playing across her broad, brown face. “You been peekin’?” Before I said anything, her face darkened and she said, “Ain’t nobody been showin’ you none, have they?”
“Showing me? You mean their peter? No Ma’am.”
“I figured a girl your age is askin’ about such things because she’s seen a dark cock, all struttin’ around the barnyard. Shouldn’t happen, but it does sometimes.”
I was all confused. “Cock?”
She laughed. “Sorry ’Liz-beth, I be meanin’ what a man got between his legs. You not too young to know about such things, I guess. A man’s meat be called some strange things, like cock, but it’s rightly called a penis when we talkin’ civilized ‘bout such subjects.” She began telling me all about sex and men’s anatomy. I was enthralled, remembering what I saw on the hanging Isaac. “My Abraham had an impressive piece o’ manhood on him, and damned if he didn’t know how to use it,” she said, her eyes watering up at the mention of her late husband. She cautioned, “Don’t go tellin’ your Ma we be talkin’ ‘bout these things. It’s rightly your Ma’s place to be teachin’ you about copulatin’, but a girl’s gotta know one way or t’other.”
As I walked home, my mind was a-buzzing with all the things she told me. Reconciling what Miss Ella had said about sex between a man and a woman, and the size of Isaac’s cock (I sure thought that was a funny name, but it was what stuck in my head), I couldn’t ever imagine something that big between a man’s legs going between mine. ‘Know how to use it’ was her saying, and that got me to doing a whole lot more imagining.
I spent the next few weeks trying to see just what these ‘cocks’ looked like. I spied on my Papa. His was kinda small, mostly hidden by a big thatch of curly hair, and nowhere near the tree limb I saw sticking out from swinging Isaac. I snuck down to the creek one day and caught a few of the boys swimming. From what I saw, they were even smaller than my papa was, though without so much of that kinky hair. That night before putting on my bedclothes, I looked at my privates, still imagining. Of course, I had my share of the curly hairs down there like the boys. I explored the slit, thinking of what Miss Ella told me about sex (“The first time a man lays on top of you, raring to put his cock in you. You gonna be scared, like no way that thing gonna fit, but it does, it always does, and if he knows what he doin’, you gonna wonder where all the scaredness came from.”) I thought I knew a little about what she meant. Sure, I would be scared if that monster of a cock I saw on Isaac was “raring” between my young legs.
One thing all that imagining was doing to me was making me all warm and itchy inside, as if a bunch of fire ants were crawling around inside me. ’Twasn’t an altogether bad feeling to have, I reckoned; did something to my nether regions, felt good.
I knew a colored boy named Stoke (don’t know the significance of the name nor where it came from—and I never would ask a Negro such things anyway.) He was somewhat older than me, maybe eighteen, though his mama couldn’t quite remember exactly (which I thought to be both humorous and strange.) Stoke and me couldn’t really be friends because of our ages and colors, however he was a good listener and he never seemed to mind when I bent his ear about anything. He once said, “I never knew a white girl who talked so much” as me. I thought I knew what he meant since most of the colored girls I knew chattered away like hens in a pen when they figured no white folks were around. Stoke and me would often sit behind what few actual gravestones existed in the colored cemetery and talk. Like I said, mostly I talked and he listened, and whittled on some creation of his. I knew he was sweet on me and I thought that was nice. What could he hope for? He’d whittle toys and other objects for me, which I would hide from my folks; what would they say if I told them a colored boy made ‘em?
As was usual, that day in the cemetery, I talked and Stoke whittled. “How you feel about what they did to Isaac?” I asked.
“How you think I feel? There be so much hate from white folks to my kind. How can I explain it? I don’ think the Good Lord a-cared much about skin color when he made us. I been thinkin’ it’s you all scared.”
“I ain’t scared. Why would we be scared? Seems Negroes would be more scared than Whites.”
He laughed, and it came out like a dog’s bark. “I know you ain’t scared; you’re different from t’other white folks. Whites’re a-scared for lots of reasons. Your people think we gonna rise up and take all the work and take all the women too.”
It was my turn to laugh. “Take all the women? What you mean by that, Stoke?”
“C’mon ’Liz-beth, I can’t be talkin’ to you about things like that. You too young yet.”
“You can talk to me ’bout sex, Stoke. Miss Ella told me all about it.”
Stoke rolled his eyes and looked extremely uncomfortable. “Why you be talkin’ to old Ella about things men and women do under the sheets?”
I told him about seeing Isaac, and how mammoth his manhood looked to be, under that fateful tree branch. “I was wonderin’ if Negro men were all of that size, is all”
He shook his head. “How you know about size, young’un?” He paused then said, “Aww, don’t answer me on that one, ’Liz-beth, I reckon I don’t want to know.”
He went on to explain (very uncomfortably, I might add) that stories abound on colored men being bigger in that area than whites, and whether true or not, he sorta believed it himself. When I asked him why, he went silent and I swore his dark skin still blushed. He explained about what hanging can do to a man, and how that might’ve been the case with poor, unfortunate Isaac. He wondered why I was there to see the lynching, and so I explained how my papa wanted me to be shocked since it was a really bad injustice. He surprised me by gossiping about some of the White townswomen who were sleeping with Negro men when their husbands weren’t around. Some of the names stunned me.
While talking, he’d used the word “biggun” so I asked him the big question in my mind: did he have a “biggun?”
’Liz-beth, oh ’Liz-beth, you cain’t be askin’ a question like that, ’specially to me. You the wrong color, and too young anyway. I like you very much and I be honest…I think of you…like that…many days. You so pretty and it sometimes make my heart…and other places… a-thrilled to see you.”
He said I was pretty!
I never would’ve thought of me and Stoke that way, but I did like him, and I admit the idea of seeing him naked and whether he did have a “biggun” did things to me too. He admonished me not to speak with anyone about this conversation—not Miss Ella—nobody.
That night I had incessant dreams of me and Stoke, and I awoke to find my privates mighty wet, though now I figured I knew what that was all about. The next day I went looking for Stoke and we snuck off into the woods behind the Negro part of town. He had a nice hidey-hole there, where he’d built up a little lean-to shelter. We sat and talked some more, as we were apt to do on most idle days.
“Stoke,” I interrupted, “you may do those things to me like all them white townswomen you tol’ me about. No matter my color or my years. I like you too.”
He was torn between gladness and horror, I could see, but soon he was teaching me about kissing. This kissing was very dissimilar to the kisses I shared with my ma and pa. Stoke showed me how to use my tongue in an open-mouthed kind of kiss. He sure used his! And I felt much a-stirring between my legs, remembering how wet I’d been that morning. I was certain I was moist then too. He put his hand under my dress and felt for my bosoms, though I hardly had any to speak of, or to touch. Nevertheless, it felt amazing.
“Oh…’Liz-beth…oh,” he moaned but then he pulled away from me. “Somebody see us for certain here in this old place, then it be Stoke’s neck getting’ stretched.”
He warned me again not to speak with anyone about what we did. That night, my dreams were even more vivid. I was getting to where I connected the feelings—fluttery stomach, itch between my legs, tightness in my chest—with all of what Miss Ella told me about sex.
The following morning, instead of the lean-to in the woods, Stoke walked me to an old shanty-shack he said was once used by moonshiners. He took me inside and we went back to kissin’. This time we were standing up and I felt the swelling in his trousers. It was a biggun! He helped me out of my dress down to my under-drawers before removing his. Dear, sweet Lord Jesus! Though not as big as hangin’ Isaac’s, Stoke’s was as mighty for its proximity. I tentatively touched it, feeling its rigidity as well as its warm, fleshy texture. He was very excited and soon his cock was standing up straighter than the flagpole in front of town hall.
I was so mesmerized by his manhood I didn’t realize he was touching me down below until he murmured something about wantin’ to taste me. “You be like fine cookin’ on my tongue, little girl,” he said.
Cooking? Taste? What he meant was beyond me but I was already surrendering myself to this dark-skinned man-boy and I’d let him do anything short of putting his thing inside me. Now that it was up close, I doubted it could go in there at all anyways. I lay down in some sweet smelling straw and he proceeded to place his tongue at my woman-zone, licking and fondling—and yes, tasting—until all sorts of feelings took over my body, feelings I had no way to categorize but knew I loved them.
Stoke kept saying, “Oh my, oh my…” in between his licking (and strange slurping sounds).
After a fair time, I started making noises of my own, almost sounding as if a newborn kitten was in my chest. The kitten-sound quickly turned to a lioness’s roar when the feelings took me over, and I started to quake like one of them holy-roller folks, a-thrashing and a-twitching right along with my squeals.
Stoke let out another long sigh accompanied by more ‘Oh mys’ before saying, “’Liz-beth, you done had one of them womanly raptures…Lordy, maybe the loudest this boy ever heard with his own ears!” He kept on, “Without puttin’ ole Willy into ya, too.”
I figured ‘Willy’ was his silly name for the big, twitching, fleshy flagpole I was staring at. He wanted me to touch it, and he taught me how to rub it, which I did until it squirted all over; I was amazed by the hot, milk-white spray.
Reacting to my stare, Stoke said with a chuckle, “What you expectin’, maybe brown ‘jac? All men white inside along with what they spew, I reckon.”
We got dressed but lay back down in the straw and talked. Stoke talked about his dreams, how mostly he wanted to be a doctor someday, a dream he figured because of color he could never realize. I told him how I wanted to be a schoolteacher as well as be a good mama someday. He said he knew I’d be a good mama.
He then said, “This was a special thing, lyin’ with you this way. Stoke wantin’ to do more but it not be right with you being so young.”
But there was a week later…
Our bed of straw got used again, and he used his mouth to make me feel good like before. “I need to. Stoke need to,” he said before spreading my legs and putting his biggun at my hole, pushing it a little way into me. It hurt! I told him to stop but then felt guilty because I knew he wanted to be in me so badly—and I wanted it too, remembering what Miss Ella said and the remarkable feelings that radiated through my belly when he put something as insubstantial as his tongue down there. He tried again but only went in part way, which seemed to be enough for both of us. It didn’t take much (as long as he didn’t go any deeper, I imagined) and I started having those feelings again. Stoke appeared to be having those feelings too because he was moaning along with a few “Sweet Jesus” epithets added in. He suddenly drew away, pulled himself out of me, and sprayed his spackle like a spring rain shower all over my belly.
“Why did you do that?”
“Can’t get you to be sproutin’ a brown-skinned baby now, can we? If that happened, Stoke be soon swinging from a rope hisself.”
Like before, we kissed, dressed then talked. I kept thinking of what Miss Ella’d said about sex, being a great thing and all. I figured Stoke was a fine representative of his race in that regard, and that next time he could go deeper, me taking all of him to experience what Miss Ella said about her kin’s prowess.
After a few more of our secret meetings in the old moonshiners’ shack, Stoke lost all reserve and went fast and deep within me. No more a-hurting, and all the feelings magnified. I was caterwauling to the extreme, having no memory of a sensation like this ever before, when I felt his manhood shudder inside me. I wasn’t scared. I thought of a little baby with skin the color of good coffee and me and Stoke going somewhere else to be together, maybe up north.
My dreams, it turned out, were as ridiculous as Stoke’s. Someone had overheard us and seen us leaving the shack. Gossip was buzzing like a hive of honeybees about “the colored boy raping the white girl.” Mama wouldn’t talk to me, and Papa was in a rage, which he directed at me once I told him I’d wanted it and it wasn’t a rape.
“We’re gonna lynch that boy,” he said. The man who had wanted me to see a lynching so I would be disgusted at the indignity was now willing to tie the rope himself.
I thought one more time of Abe Lincoln’s “promise,” one not kept by those who followed. I cried and cried, not thinking it would come to be but fearing it would. I couldn’t see Stoke at all, so I cried some more. I wanted him to kiss me, hold me, and enter me again. Forever.
Later that day Papa led the party to the misshaped magnolia tree. Some townspeople wanted me to watch, but Papa said no, since he knew it wasn’t rape and thus fearing my in-public reaction. I snuck over to the clearing and watched from afar, crying silent tears when Stoke saw me at the periphery of the crowd and smiled, even while knowing he was about to die. Then I knew what love was.
I watched and cried as they put the noose of the hanging rope around Stoke’s neck while he was standing on an old wood crate, then kicked it out from under him. Poor Stoke swung and kicked for a while until going still and lifeless.
I waited there as everyone eventually went back home, leaving my dearest as food for the animals. I couldn’t live without him, especially if I was growing his baby inside me. I walked to the tree, and Stoke. I disrobed, picking up another section of rope that was lying around, and stacked up a few of the wood crates as a sort of stairs. I climbed up my makeshift scaffold right next to Stoke and kissed him on his growing-cold lips. I tossed the rope around the tree limb and tied it sturdy. Fashioning a simple noose on the other end, I put it around my neck before kissing him again, longer this time. While kissing him, I put my fingers down below and used them as pitiful replacement for his cock. While I reached that sex climax and moaned aloud, I was hoping all that the preachers say about Jesus in Heaven was true, since Heaven was the only place a girl like me could be with a Negro boy like Stoke and be happy.
When they find me naked and next to him, they’ll know how I felt. Won’t change anything, but they will know. My last thought as I kicked and toppled the crates away was wondering if babies could be made in Heaven. Elizabeth is coming after you, Stoke.