A prologue to ‘The Mediocre White Man’
Miss Johnson married in her own time, what some would say late in life–she was in her sixties. In any event, that shit was short-lived.
Walter Edwin Johnson–not to be confused with the benevolent Walter Edward Johnson–was a bastard. Miss Johnson married Edwin for appearance’s sake. She never would’ve admitted it, but Miss Johnson had a thing for lady folk, which–strange as it sounds–folks frowned upon and mostly kept to themselves in her day. In service to the façade of heteronormativity, some women married men who couldn’t get ’em wet with a bucket of water and a hose amidst a heavy downpour. Miss Johnson was one of ’em. She ain’t much mind spreading her legs for Edwin so he could heave ’til he seized, spilt his seed, and passed the fuck out on top of her–she was accommodating that way. What she did mind was him putting his hands on her in a way unbecoming of a gentleman, which he did one too many times, and, according to Miss Johnson, was just the once.
It was a particularly fiery summer night when Edwin had one of his famous fuckin’ fits. They had been married for more or less a month. Edwin ain’t appreciate pork chops for dinner a third night in the row and let Miss Johnson know it. In tradition with the call and response, Miss Johnson told his ungrateful ass “you more than welcome to make yo’ own damn groceries and cook whatever the fuck you want, if you gon’ bitch about it.”
Now, this was no new song and dance. Miss Johnson had more or less expressed the sentiment before, but I was made to believe this was the first time she used that particular choice of words.
So says the song, “the sullen suffered no sudden insanity; Satan sowed the seeds of his own savagery,” it ain’t take no more than a rattlesnake’s consideration for Edwin to put his fist to his wife’s face. It took her a minute to collect herself–Edwin wasn’t no itty bitty muthafukka–but once she did, Miss Johnson just as calmly sauntered over into the bedroom, to her bedside, retrieved her family Bible, and returned with it to the kitchen, where she sat across from Edwin, glaring.
He’d since developed an appetite for pork chops and had a mouthful as he mocked “you fittin’na to lecture me from your good book, guhl?”
Miss Johnson said nothing. She just sat staring at him, much the way she sat staring at me when I brought her the wrong brand of cigarettes.
“What? You ain’t got nothing to say now?” Edwin said, before shoveling more swine into his mouth.
Miss Johnson maintained her silence, so, Edwin got up and walked over to her. Her glare didn’t follow; she kept looking straight ahead as if in a daze. She didn’t so much as blink when he snatched that Bible off the table.
“What your sweet lord got to say about me in this ol’ rag?” he said.
Edwin ain’t believe in the Bible or nothing in it. He was a heathen through and through. Sure, he went to church when it suited him, and he talked the talk in front of good Catholic folk. It was all hollow gesture. He didn’t know two fucks about the awesome power the pages of the book he so irreverently mocked and snatched from the kitchen table contained. And not a moment sooner than he cracked open that Bible did he realize he held the evidence Miss Johnson was too a heathen, for within its pages was a gun-shaped void devoid of gun. As Edwin lowered the butchered scriptures, he clearly saw he where he stood: on the business end of six-shooter. Behind the mechanism of death was the stoic stare of his God’s indifference plastered upon the unforgiving face of Miss Evelyn Johnson.
“I calls this here the Holy Ghost, nigga,” Miss Johnson said.
Miss Johnson squeezed the trigger causing the cylinder to rotate a chamber, like an hour hand on a clock. The hammer to came down on the aligned cartridge with explosive judgment, propelling hot lead towards the light at the end of the tunnel, which upon exiting caused the flash before his eyes as Miss Johnson blankly fired six rounds into his muthafukkin’ chest.
Stumbling out the front door of their shotgun–taking with him the screen door–Edwin fell face first onto their porch. The first six shots had drawn the attention of neighbor’s, who’d gathered on the street to see what all the fuss was about. As Edwin lay bleeding, eyes wide, gasping for air, Miss Johnson came behind him, casual as stepping out on her front porch, reloading her revolver a bullet at a time. She slapped the cylinder back into place, cocked the hammer, and emptied six more into his back in front of a standing-room-only crowd. After which, she went back inside and finished dinner, having transformed their shotgun back into her shotgun.
It was her neighbors who talked the police out of using excessive force to remove Miss Johnson from her home–truly a miraculous feat on both parties’ parts. By the time the police arrived on scene, you better believe Miss Johnson had already reloaded her revolver and fetched her shotgun (the firearm) from the washroom. The death of Mister Johnson wasn’t the first time she put that iron on a nigga and she was anxious to do it again if “even one of them pigs step foot in my fuckin’ house!”
Miss Johnson knew all too well, long before Mister Johnson so briefly took liberties with her, that a black woman’s body was public domain, that the burden of protecting hers was hers alone. She didn’t give two fucks about no warrant-waiving pig. If you stepped in Miss Johnson’s house without her consent, you consented to that lead shower.
Her neighbor’s spoke on her behalf, having nothing sinister to say of Miss Johnson. It was Walter Edward Johnson, the carpenter, who mediated the dialogue between Miss Johnson and the police. She agreed to speak with “the pigs” but they couldn’t come no further than the porch and Miss Johnson wouldn’t come outside. Seeing as how she ain’t have no criminal record, and everybody said it was self-defense, and that Miss Johnson ain’t never do nothing like that before–lie–the police left it alone.
But it wasn’t the last time she had to make a nigga feel the steel. As a black lesbian in America–though she didn’t know the words to admit as much–Miss Johnson reckoned she had suffered plenty and wasn’t gonna feel bad for treating herself to a little self preservation. She knew the predators wouldn’t stop coming just ‘cause her black ass got some spider veins and wrinkles. So, she never married again. And she never left the house again further than the porch… except for some real mischief.
It could’ve been worse. Miss Johnson could’ve been a time-displaced, black, transgender lesbian stuck in the Antebellum era South. But that’s another story.
Needless to say, Miss Johnson was tougher than well done dollar store steak. Cancer couldn’t kill this woman… literally.
To Be Concluded…