EMANCIPATION PROCLAMATION


 

21 august 2011  >  15/6  >  Devil/Lovers

 

What moves you to Love?

What chains you to something you don’t believe in?

HOw will you be a better partner/friend?

 

I’m consumed with this Flash Fiction Contest.  It’s all I can do to  to sit here and Blog.  I have no internet access unless I drive 10miles into town.   So.. today, when I finally make my way to the little coffee shop with WI-Fi, I will blast this out to ya’ll with what I have written in the last couple of hours.  Here again are my criteria that I must include in under a 1,000 words…

Genre…Historical fiction, place…Ice cream shop, and the object.. a fax machine.   Really.. I have no frickin’ idea how to do this and this is what my first draft is  so far, OH… and I already wrote something different yesterday that I trashed. No poetry today..

 

Momma King’s Ice Cream and Notions.

 “I don’t know why you’re not the fattest human in the world, what with you eating ice cream everyday.  I’d look like a beached whale if I did that.  It’s bad enough that I’ve scooped the stuff nearly every day of my life for the last six years.  I get chubby by visual assimilation.”

Maria King sipped her ice tea while Nolan polished off his Banana Split.  He grinned his big toothy smile at her and said,

 “Fast metabolism.  Here babe, you want the cherry?  It might remind you of days gone by.”

 He gave her a wink and a nod.  She punched his shoulder, and pulled the cherry from his fingers with her lips.  She tied the stem of it with her tongue and slid it back out to him between her teeth.

 “You have a magic tongue Maria, you do.  I don’t know how in the hell you do that.”

 “Talent my darling, Shear unadulterated talent.”

 Maria gave Nolan a kiss on his cheek and stood up.

 “You hear that?  That’s the sound of my new Fax machine.  I’m expecting some information about my little gold mine here.  Momma King’s Ice Cream n’ Notions has some curious history I want to find out about.  A hundred and fifty years is a long time to be an ice cream shop that never changed its name. Though I’m nobody’s momma, not for lack of trying, it is a King family business and I’m a King.

 “That is interesting Momma King, though I consider you my queen.  Ok, I’ll clean up the rest of the mess here while you get your fax straight.”

 “Aren’t you the clever punster? Thanks babe.”

 Maria gathered the several page of type from the machine and sat down at her desk.  She began to read what Maurice Stout had researched for her.

 “Maria, here’s what I have chronicled about Momma King, aka, Vera King when she opened the shop, in 1861.  She was from a rich white family from Selma, Alabama that was heavily into the slave trade.  When she got pregnant at seventeen back in 1858, she refused to declare the name of the father. Her daddy sent her north to her cousins in Cincinnati to have the baby and hopefully leave the child with them and return home. 

Vera had fallen in love with Henry, the son of her father’s favorite slave;  a classic tale of a desperate love gone wrong.  She kept the baby girl that look more like a white child with hazel eyes and soft black curly hair like her mother.  She called her Vivian, and was determined not to let Vivian’s blackness ever be known, nor who fathered her to protect her. 

 Much to her parents dismay, she stayed in Cincinnati to make a life for herself.  Her Daddy adored her and was devastated by her pregnancy.  When he saw the baby girl, a spitting image of his wife, he fell in love with her.  He secured their financial future with his great wealth.

 Why Vera choose to open an Ice Cream shop was never quite clear, woman didn’t do that back then. It was decades later that beneath what is now your shop, Momma King’s, were tunnels and rooms that connected the south of the city with the north.  Vera King was protecting, and housing slaves; the very slaves that her daddy had bought and sold to feed his coffers. She was able to do this via the father of her child, whom she stayed in touch with through secret letters.  Apparently, Vera’s mother and Henry’s father always knew of the situation between their children, and made sure the letters were sent.   Vera had no idea that her mother knew her secret or that her mother was helping to free the slaves herself.

Vera’s momma was in love with the boy’s father, her husband’s favorite slave; yet another hideous secret to be kept from Papa King.  Henry became a conduit for slave liberation, directing them north to Vera for safe keeping, never escaping himself.

There is a labyrinth down there Maria.  They likely haven’t been seen in decades.  Be careful when you go down there, because I know your curiosity will be burning a hole in you if you don’t.  Your namesake sheltered and saved many Negro’s back then, never able to protect the man she loved. He was beaten and hung for standing up to a white man trying to rape his cousin on the very day of the Emancipation Proclamation, January 1st 1863.

 Maria sat with this information in her lap for a few minutes.  She could hear Nolan washing the dishes.  She, got up and walked to the basement stairs, flipping a switch to light the darkness. The smell of damp and dirt swept away the sweet of ice cream.   A flashlight sat at the base of the stairs.  The dim light of it wove her from one room to the next.  She began tapping on the walls listening for a hollow that told her a room or a tunnel was there.  Her tapping was reward and she gave a push to a wall.  It gave way with a grind and some effort.  She stood in a small room with two ancient mattresses on wood slabs, a table, a kerosene lamp and a small wooden chair.  Dust and cobwebs were everywhere.  On the table sat a black enameled box, with inlaid mother of pearl.  Maria wiped nearly a hundred and fifty years off the beautiful box.  Inside were the letters from Henry to Vera, neatly stacked in order.  Maria choose the last one, dated November 29th 1962.

 “My beloved, soon we will be free….”

1 Comment

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One response to “EMANCIPATION PROCLAMATION

  1. Linda C

    What amazing stories tumble from your prolific imagination! Wonderful!

    ps. I have some family history to share with you, that this story has shuffled to the surface.

    Like

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