Monday, January 10, 2011

Scip and Big Lulu of Shantytown (a short story from the novel: "Colored and White")

Scip and Big Lulu of Shantytown
((And Little Josh) (1870-1929—part of “Colored and White”))

In the late spring of 1870, a boy was born at the Hightower Plantation, it was Emma Hightower’s child, it was a mulatto, she had had an affair with Hark Jackson, whom was killed by a stranger at Turkey Creek, the child was taken by Dr. Edmonds, who dropped the child off at Big Lula and Tom Mason’s shanty, in shantytown. They never could have children, and big Lula was happy to take Little Josh in, not knowing who the parents was, just assuming, someone in Shantytown left the child in some trash, as Dr. Edmonds said, and that was that. But it was not to the liking of her husband, who did more drinking and carousing, than anything else. He wasn’t the size of Lulu of course, but he was no creampuff either, and this was simply another mouth to feed.

When Tom Mason heard his wife took on a child and there would be one more mouth to feed, and she named it, Scip Josh Mason, the story she told the sheriff was the following:

“He run in de house an’ tored it up for a while, an’ den he look for the child, Scip Josh Mason, and he say ‘Youall gives me the child, or Youall can keep it but you got to be going,’ it be a good thing, too, kaze Tom look like he was jes gitten right to make my meanin’ known to him. I runs de house, not him. Then I took Tom’s cloths and put it in de yard, took he mattress and rip it open and put his cloths in with the straw. And I gave him a cat. An’ dat ain’t all. You oughter see Tom’ goat. And he ain’t never married me proper anyhow. And he done went to Amos’ barnyard bellowin’ like a cat with its tale curled up.”
“Lord woman, get onto the killing, it aren’t worth my time to stand here and listen all morning about this and that.”
“I is talkin’ ‘bout Tom or de baby, Tom sho’ did raise a rookus ‘bout the little fella! “He done tried to kill Scip, he got poorly judgment, cuz I do look like he gits ideas ‘bout this and I saw him trying to smother dey baby in the night, and I have a belly full er drunken men. He don’t care fur de poor little motherless chillun.”
“Well,” said the sheriff, “what happened next?”
“It ain’t make no diff’ence, wuh I is I is, I sat on him,” and the sheriff laughed, she was a big woman of six foot four, three hundred pounds, and Tom was less than half that.
“I ain’t care,” said Lulu, “ef you wants to, grin. I ain’t to fault, an’ I ain’t care.”
“Well it looks like a case of self defense,” said the sheriff, near to laughing.
“Don’t laugh at dat ole man, more better we weep!” said Lulu, but the sheriff was already up on his horse and on his way out of shantytown.

No: 697 (1-9-2011))