Rachel. Trayvon. Michael. Dying. Laughing. A. Fiction.

After Michael Brown: Kiese Laymon

August 11, 2015  By Kiese Laymon
4


“I hear what your cousin Big Mike said,” Rachel tells Trayvon, “and you know I like Big Mike, but I’m saying how come it’s so hard for black boys to love black girls then it’s so easy for y’all to lean all up on us when y’all need love and everything else?”

The yellows and greens and browns and blues still ooze but Rachel Jeantel and Trayvon Martin are getting closer to the edge of that subdivision. Trayvon’s cousin, Big Mike is visiting from St. Louis, and all three of them plan on watching the All-Star game tonight.

Even though Rachel and Trayvon are walking side by side, they’re texting each other.

And dying laughing.

Article continues after advertisement

Trayvon looks like he’s thinking when a creepy ass cracker approaches. The creepy man’s mouth won’t stop moving, but nothing is coming out. He’s making his finger in the shape of a gun and shooting invisible bullets into the children.

“They always killing somebody’s vibe,” Rachel says.

“That’s what Big Mike said,” Trayvon says. “He said that’s just how they do up in St. Louis.”

“What part of St. Louis is Big Mike from?”

“The north part,” Trayvon says. “A place called Ferguson. You been up there?”

“My Mama and them wanted to move there a few years ago. But she said it real racist up there. She said they look at you like you aren’t you up there, too.”

“More than here?”

“Just like here,” Rachel says. “And I was like why move somewhere that’s just the same as where you from?”

They walk closer to the edge of the subdivision. All these eyes of creepy ass crackers are peering out of their windows. From inside their homes, they’re all making their fingers into make believe guns, and shooting them at the children.

“They always looking, too” Rachel says, “but they can’t see us. They can maybe see you, but they don’t see me at all. These folks are the worst see-ers ever.”

Trayvon is dying laughing.

“What you laughing at?”

“What you just said,” Trayvon says. “Big Mike said the same thing about folks up in St. Louis. They so sure we ain’t shit. But look how they look, and how they be acting. Shooting fake guns. How they think that makes us feel? Over some kids walking home? It’s just so funny to me. Big Mike was right. You were right, too. The worst see-ers ever!”

“Yeah,” Rachel says. “Ever.”

Rachel remembers a quote from this Lucille Clifton poem she learned in Ms. Crump’s class the final quarter of last year. She tells herself she’s going to start her essay for Ms. Crump with this quote: “Come celebrate with me that everyday something has tried to kill me and failed.”

She types the sentence in her phone, and texts it to Trayvon.

“I don’t know,” Trayvon finally says.

“You don’t know what?”

“What you said earlier,” he tells her. “I don’t know why it’s so hard for black boys to love black girls but so easy for us to lean up on y’all for love and everything else. I guess it’s hard for us to love each other, if that matters. Big Mike said something is about to happen, and we gonna love each other so much better after that.”

“It’s hard for us to love us, too, though” she says. “That’s not an excuse. Knowing we pretty much can’t count on y’all makes it harder too. Y’all just do shit to us we wouldn’t do to you. But I guess we working. Whatever Big Mike is talking about, I hope it hurry up and happens soon, but I feel sick.”

“Yeah,” Trayvon tells Rachel. “Big Mike said it’s bad, but we working. And whatever he was talking about is bout to happen soon. Do you trust me?”

Rachel feels Trayvon Martin looking at her. She feels him blinking.

She watches him blink.

“I like that quote you just sent,” he finally says. “I wanna celebrate everyday that something tried to kill us and failed, too.”

“Yeah,” Rachel says. “I hear you. I trust you, Trayvon. Do you trust me?”

Nearly out of the range of eyes that despise and fake fingered guns that go pow, they walk home to Michael where Rachel hopes all three of them will be held, felt, and celebrated for unreasonably loving each other enough to hold on and fight.

Together.

Rachel Jeantel is ready to work on her essay. Inside, something is growing though.

And something is dying. Laughing.

 

Request: Permission to Occupy Your Body, Roger Reeves

 

From Within the Dark-Blood Depths, Rachel Eliza Griffiths

 

Other Outrages, Other Deaths, Rion Amilcar Scott

 

A Brief History of the Present, Morgan Parker

 

How Do You Write From a Country That Doesn’t Exist, Danielle Evans

 

To not write another word about who the cops keep killing, Khadijah Queen

 

Am I a Reliable Witness to My Own Life?, Sarah Labrie

 

Keyword Search: “Ferguson” and “Mike Brown”, Angela Flournoy

 

Slow Dance, With Bullet, Hope Wabuke

 

Breath of Fresh Air, Yahdon Israel

 

A Very Brief History of Police Killings in the U.S., Metta Sáma

 

 




Kiese Laymon
Kiese Laymon
Kiese Laymon is the author of the novel Long Division and the essay collection How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America. His memoir, Heavy is forthcoming from Scribner. He is an Associate Professor of English at Vassar College, and the Grisham Writer in Residence at the University of Mississippi.







  • Nondenominational

    Good for you, LitHub, for running these pieces. For decades these things have been happening to people of color and white folks simply haven’t believed them, haven’t cared enough, haven’t listened enough, haven’t recognized our common humanity well enough. No denying — the Police State we live in affects us all. We see that in the increasing militarization and authoritarianism used against everyone. But it is unmistakeably focused on black men.

  • Regina N. Bradley

    Kiese Laymon the DON!

  • Riona JudgeMcCormack

    This is beautiful. And harrowing. And beautiful.

  • Pingback: POV: Young Black Writers: After Michael Brown | Neo-Griot()



More Story
I want to not have to write another word about who the cops keep killing So at first I wanted to make another video and I thought I could do it on the weekend or after work but motherhood and overtime...