Burning out the worry circuit
Fiction: Mob Rule - Part 44
After hightailing it out of the South in a moonshine-mobile, Jack and Vanessa head back to Yankee town pondering a pile of worst-case scenarios
By John Armstrong
It was beautiful day in early fall, and since no one had told the Sun or bees or the birds or the flowers and trees, they carried on as if it were still late August and the air came through the open windows like perfume. It was warm enough for shirtsleeves but I kept my cotton work jacket on over a sleeveless undershirt, what we call in New York a ‘guinea tee.” I would have shucked the jacket but it covered up my shoulder holsters. Just before we left, Cooter advised me that if we were planning on sleeping in the car, it was best to be ready: “There’s people out on the road that will kill you just for practice, and you’re travelling with a good-looking young woman.” He gave me knowing look. “If I was you, I’d shoot first and apologize later.” It was hard to imagine on a day ...
Look away, look away, Dixieland
Mob Rule: Part 36
Jack lands in the heart of Klan land where the air smells of smoke and cordite, and the Civil War apparently never ended
By John Armstrong
It had been a long, hot muggy ride from Baton Rouge to Montgomery and by the time we arrived I felt like I might as well have swum. I could have wrung my shirt out like a bathing suit. Redcaps at the station loaded us into cabs and I climbed into one with Otis and Vanessa. When I gave the driver the name of our hotel he looked at me with saucer-sized eyes in the rearview mirror and said, “All y’all staying at the Hampton?” “That’s right. Why?” “’Cause your friend going to be the first colored to spend the night there.” “Shit,” Otis said. “I wondered when Jim Crow was going to show up.” He said to the driver, “Thanks for telling us. Where would you suggest as an alternative?” The driver pulled us out into traffic and said, “I favor the Hotel Sapphire. My sister works the desk and ...