Rag Doll Man – Short Version

Fan fiction about Malcolm X

Karen headshot

By Karen Cole

Word Count: 9,000

 

Did you know that in the sixties, the men of X were Malcolm X’s, trying to remake the country for Black America? And did you ever think that the X-Men from Marvel Comics might be a hidden derivative life form from them, probably one inspired by their heroic feats and nobler natures?

The Marvel comic book company’s X-Men, as created by Stan Lee, claim to be super mutants; I think they are almost total derivatives from Malcolm X’s Black Nationalist movement. But some think such a derivative evolution is simply a “sport,” which can go off in any direction it pleases, finding new natural zones in which to perform its adaptations. And some other beings say that man always has an eternal soul, meant to go places, do new things, and become and create wholly new people.

Lastly, some say that if you are alone, heroic and isolated, you are Satanic and meant to die in a particularly horrific way…

…howsoever, I’ve changed the names in this story to protect the innocent – namely, me and everyone else – from libel or slander charges. The last thing I wanted to do was to make light of an amazing man’s political assassination, or to make fun of such a tragic occurrence. The death of Malcolm X was dramatic, however, in its own way; he even ended up dying in his loyal wife’s loving arms. But this story isn’t about his actual assassination – it’s also not an attempt to exploit it, either.

Instead, I wanted to emphasize the heroic nature of Malcolm X’s death, along the lines of what would be the Marvel Comics X-Men and their sometimes overly heroic exploits. I wanted to bring said mostly white and obviously derivative superheroes back to their roots – as the original Men of X, true militants who existed in real life, and from which the X-Men to me seem to be clearly purloined, being they constantly complain about the world “misunderstanding” them and their mutant origins.

This story is an attempt to avenge the original Mr. X, and to keep to a respectful distance from any attempts to discredit, malign or otherwise badmouth him and his policies of Black Nationalism and self defense against racism. In short: it’s fan fiction about Malcolm X.

The story itself proceeds as follows:

In a time of vast opportunities and no splendor but the eternal ongoing murder of one’s family and friends by each other, the authorities, petty circumstances, poverty, guilt and unknown hideous romances, an overburdened tall man once tried to halt the violent spread of social injustice. His way was rife with political questions that were never truly answered. Due to many frustrating circumstances such as these, that young man was stabbed four times in the chest; touching his heart oh so deeply before he went home. His home was a nice, normal house at the time, not far away from the black section of Harlem in New York City. That area is still poverty stricken to this day.

He looked in the mirror, saw a tall, skinny but thick cheated bull looking exactly like Satan, and he reflected. He had turned in some other people to the authorities, and now he had to pay the price for his actions. This largely involved suicide by firing squad. He had wanted not to be killed, and to be murdered meant its own diabolical implications.

“I’m black finally,” he thought to himself, “and they still don’t love me. Gee, why is that?” Mur knew he was only having a hangover for half a split second. “I have spent year after unadulterated year trying to become black for them, after moving around enough to have run away from nearly everyone. I am the utmost coward that I have ever met, and I only want to kill all of you. I don’t even know who you are as yet, strangely enough. It is because we are forever at war with each other. I am standing here with four gaping open wounds slowly closing and unclosing, and I have no desire left to go hit up a hospital anymore for my dough. I have pulled stickups, heists and burglaries.

“What gives with that, Mur? What happened to you? Ah shit, all my old family is dead, every last relative, and I am the man in the middle. I now have a family through Bette and the kids, and they’re waiting for me to give the last speech. I have to go mount that podium, don’t I? And I’m unlikely to make it there before I fall down dead.”

He knew Bette cared about him, as she loved him deeply. She had only had children with him, but he also had a feeling she was always afraid for them. She didn’t look around at other guys, and she seemed to be very proud of him. But he wondered what she really thought.

He felt like such a miserable failure at life, sometimes. Who was going to provide for his family? And what if the people who killed him killed them as well? It wasn’t that unlikely. And so far as he knew, Bette was pregnant again, due to give birth in a few months.

He watched himself ooze, shooting his cuffs. Assuredly, he thought it would be best to change these clothes, but considering the lack of anyone caring about me at all, he decided, it would be better to mount that podium as my own red self. Red, red, nothing but red. I would say a green light would be a better chance for him, the devil in the mirror, he sighed. And altogether, I am a Muslim no longer tonight.

As he gazed upon himself in the mirror, he gasped. He pulled his rag doll self deep inside to him, for he really had to “be a man” now. He had to still be his old, familiar self to his own eyes – but everyone he met had seemed to see a good man in Satan. He was the biggest, tallest, most strapping Lucifer that he had ever seen, as a yellow man. He didn’t feel half as unique as he looked, being surrounded often by other black men. Scots, he dreamed, must lead the most arrogant existence as white males that the world had usually told of. Old Nordic civilizations ruled his universe, but he liked the Islamic ones.

He drew himself up in full pose, reflecting upon how much a mirror can bleed. The pain that tore through his right chest enormously suited this new perspective. He smoothed back his simple haircut, a fifties crew that felt easier to take care of – but pathetic.

“At last, at last. Well, I’ve told Bette off for the final time. Bad cat.” He smoothed down the walls of his contained within a roughly six foot four body thick chest. It throbbed. It was interesting to feel such a noise coming from deep within him. “Help me, Allah. No, don’t. Actually,” he chuckled, “As you must kill me at the theatre, I suppose you would not like to be me any further, would you? I think I should make a cutting fellow for a few bullet wounds that could insist on. Dad, would you mind if I f—-d up your speech?”

No, the chap in the mirror reflected as he frowned in supple manners. Black people, we don’t seem to go away, even when we’re ninety percent white. It is the heat of an African sun that lends us any such thing as mere superiority. A strong man who was laid in front of a moving street car with a bashed head should never have woken up. How could he – but if the streetcar had jarred as it cut into him, he could’ve felt it. Murdock was tired and getting dried out now. His Dad should’ve had his human rights somehow, and not simply been a human gravesite for good ideas.

I should be a Scot, as named “Sir Murdock,” he shyly whispered, smoothing down his newly bleeding white lapels. Africa suits me better, though, and I’m handling this death of mine well enough. He thought they would wince as inwardly as he did, chuckling. It felt good to be dying oh so slowly. Still, if he kept them waiting at the better theatre for his choice appearance…he raised his hand up to his mouth, lightly licking blood off his steak like fingers. They tasted awfully good. He drew his long tongue over each one in turn, relishing the taste of it.

Huh, he thought. I shall never impress my lady, but at least I already have her set up with her new husband. It shall not be more than a pain than (wince) to die slowly on stage, but my heart is stabbed through. As it opened, Murdock knew momentarily that he must die right now. The pain was telling him so, although the ache in his actual heart of a black and lonely selfless but fatherly soul began to override it. It pulled through him as it ripped wider within him. Needing to be saved from himself, he grabbed at his dresser drawer, staring above it at the vanity’s surface, which was slick and nut brown like him.

In the mirror of his handsome features lurked a witless presence, peering through centuries of time and insane persecution. “Wander down to that Catholic Church on the street corner, and see what you saw before in the sidewalk, written in the anti Semitic letters of sand. Yourself, super stud, wanting to save the whole entire world through Satan. That is not the way, the truth or the guiding light. Who is an individual must reap the benefits of all human misery, and as a Black Scot, don’t you think? Would you rather be torn apart with knives – or with more bullets? What is the best performance?”

“Myself,” he freaked casually at the mirror, lips curling into a fair snarl. “Too much to take into infinity, and yet I have seen you before, whoever you are, and here I am as you. I am not your white, am I? I have never been allowed to be white under this set of circumstances which I think now I freely chose. Chuckle.” He decided he’d better set to straightening out his clothes and going, so he laid out a pair of shoes on his bed and began to shine them well. As he worked, which took all of five minutes, he thought about the audacity of a man who had been mostly shining shoes for white men. But having children in poverty meant to better their circumstances.

And he seemed to have a reflective crowd of black statues who pulled a fine spooky figure – for cowards. Actually, so many of them had helped him out so often, and had died bravely to serve the Cause. But were they his real friends? Or did they have nothing further to give him, now?

Completing the act of fixing his personal appearance, he combed his scrubby hair as his newly dying body throbbed. “How long I have is beyond me. Falling down on the way to the theater suits, but I must walk there now without panting. Hold on, bud, I really have to do this. It’s the last mile. I have murdered so many people through proxy, I must be akin to Hitler and surest will meet him where we all must go. I suppose I shall end up shining his shoes by making him eat them. Well, let’s be off.”

As his bloody hand pulled at the doorknob of his small bedroom, he looked back through time at the wall. He remembered when a chunk of it had flown over to him and landed at his feet, which were clad in bedroom slippers at the time. The noise of guns had been deafening, and he had reached for his, but once more, it had been spectacularly missing. “A cracker, a cracker, a kingdom for such sustenance from you, shadow weirdoes. I know I am hallucinating all this. Still, Bette’s safe, and so are the kids, so far. It must be the new family. I shall buy them tonight as my own personal future. It is best that way.”

A “cracker” was once an alliterative slur about white people in America. It has to do with them being shot full of little holes. However, such a being is improper sustenance.

Meanwhile, as he was dying, Mur began to wonder about the audacity of guns that were always placed conveniently out of his handsome reach. He also thought that Allah must be kind on one hand, as all his life he had never really wanted to shoot one. Too many people had been shooting at him personally for him to really want to kill them. On the other hand, he would have deeply relished the chance to slaughter them all back.

As a shadow slipped over the horizon, Murdock little peered around Harlem. Others waved at him, then flinched slowly as they moved away. Oh, I smell of iron, thought Mur to himself. Red blood is so full of lovely dark protein. Sustenance I suppose, but as the evening shades enveloped the wan smells of stores and people milling throughout the grey streets, he casually strolled towards his reckoning premise. On the way, he passed the filthy doors of that same Catholic Church, the small one for blacks that had inhabited Harlem since some time immemorial. It was never the same regal church twice, being frequently updated by its invisible black hierarchy. He turned right to brutally sigh, letting all the air out his huge chest, as the four wounds gainfully poured forth their fullest measure. How touching. It promised peace in heaven for the spiritual, such as his wife and children. They somehow seemed whiter than white to him.

“Well, this is as good a time for it as any, I would guess?” he stated aloud. The filthy door taunted him with its message of green paint peeling back the layers of the necessity of the thing called Death, which had been chasing him forever his short life, as he had noticed from when he was in crib and his mom had spilled talcum powder right into his mouth. The sound of multiple guns firing had come right through the door. This had over time put his mind into a useful state of grace, which he used to get around in traffic.

If I could quite recollect, I need to go down Cherry, take a right on oh here we go there’s the stoplight. Right, stay right there. Oh heart that is not made out of candy – be good. It is good. Yes, there’s the light. Murdock the Red walked against the light and then saw the theater and realized it was not where it ought to be. It had definitely been located between Alder and Bourbon with a little white people flower shop situated across from it. I believe that if I ever sliced into those white people I would see red blood, but I have never seen them at all in that form. My mother was whiter than I, and she ended up in many mental asylums over my dad. Meanwhile, I have never really killed anyone, he supposed.

For one second, he clutched his failing heart, feeling it thud…once.

He briefly harrumphed, pulling at his collar, which was quite wet with perspiration. As the finality of the thing called Death began to travel through his entire body, he jerked himself awake. He had a fantasy about having killed a hooker and also being a gay prostitute who pimped. It promised him a summer sun, deep in the heart of equatorial Africa. He loved this strange continent, which was merely a giant world in his mind. But it was full of communist countries. Mecca had been fun to contemplate, as long as he didn’t really want to go to heaven. As he frowned, he realized he was being told that a total fix of heroin like before was on the horizon, and all he had to do was not walk into the theater. If he simply went over to the Busted Denizens coffee shop across the street, he could avoid falling down. It was a sweet little coffee shop, one where he’d almost had a good time. It beckoned to him like a way out of dying now.

A voice in his head said if he called it off, life would be normal again. He had been busted so many times, it was a wonder his military crew cut was yet in place. To be busted means to be under arrest for impersonating a large, scary animal, he reflected. He coughed into his reddened hand, gazing upon it with undying affection for himself. He was martial and military without feeling it. Having a tiny military of his own was entirely out of the question now, and he had to keep aware that many people didn’t like him or his new family anymore. These people would be gunning for them in mysterious ways, all of which promoted supernatural feelings. He wanted to kill the supernatural and stop.

The voice in his head, so very like his own, told him it is easy to kill it. All you need to do is face it down fearlessly, and then you can tell it what to do. But if you do that, you will have to suffer the immediate consequences of your dire and violent actions.

He looked over at the theater door. There was the usual bright red neon glowing sign, reading Apollo Theater. It winked on and off up high in the air, floating above the stacks of the chimney factory area down the block away from the street. Murdock sighed. This was going to be tricky, because he suddenly felt like his wife and children were not there in a theatre he was about to enter. As pain wrenched his body, he mumbled, “Enough. I am a radio program but not a television one. I don’t carry this forward anymore.”

The theater had been the one thing he could count on to be normal. It was not. As he searched out the front of it, he knew it was not at all the same theater he knew.

As the undying pains of possibilities racked that young amateur lawyer who had determined that merely attempting to save his people was enough for his soul, he pulled himself into place. His whole body coldly told him to fall down and die. As his knees buckled, he pulled a buck and wing and stood sharply erect into place. It had been a good idea, to wage war with the United States, and then die fighting. It had been appropriate.

There. That was enough. Feeling cold all through him, he realized the wounds had quit oozing momentarily, perhaps for the next twenty-five seconds or so. Ah yeah, I can reach for that door – push – and there we go, now it’s time to enter the theater and meet Death or not. Say, the thought occurs that I am already Death myself. It is like being made half of hot summer air, like usual. Right now though, I wish I could rend another wound most deeply into my lonely immortal soul. My last female cousin whom I can remember fell to a house burglary recently, but at least I still have one or two relatives left alive. There is something wrong with leaving my entire older, almost dead family completely behind. Yet I have now to save a father headed family – of mine.

I read somewhere that I am only two percent solid matter, and the rest must be winging its way around in there like crazy. If I push through this door, what could happen? Bette and the kids – and those murderous assholes – might be waiting in there for me, but come to think of it, I’m going to have to follow my elaborate plan. I have a speech prepared, but I have no idea when the bullets are going to begin through the air at me. Or us. And she and the kids are right there in the audience. “Whoops, there goes my heart again,” he told himself, nearly falling down on his knees. He finally tried, and got back up again.

As he went through the open door and gently let it slide shut behind him, he walked down the steps. Each concrete bar shot through him, but he was trying to guide it back behind him. Ouch, he thought, now I have to do something other than stepping forward, I think. So he bounded down the last five steps and landed, going: now I do feel I’m a nightmare marine. Odds bodkins, I’m definitely service personnel here, aren’t I? I’m going to have to lure them away from Bette and her kids. I wonder how. They are not out to kill only me – so far as I am aware, although I have done my best to attract them like a dust magnet. If I am truly Satan here, the racially mixed Jewish black man, they should be out to kill only me, under Islamic rules. However, they view Bette and the kids as pagans and are equally out to kill them. If they want to get at me. Satan should be enough to get their attention, but is it? Am I real enough a performer to pull this off?

Roger. I’m a big strapping Black American. So patriotic. If I needed to be patriotic to get out of this one, that ended a long time ago. I can’t stand the attitudes of the country which I am born into, as it is full of shit. Still, I am good at blaming our and their womankind for my problems. Yeah, blame mom, which will get me out of this one. She’s long gone in my mind, he thought smiling to himself – as he approached the stage door back. He peered silently around it, whipping off his narrow black glasses to quickly wipe and put them back on. They were now obscure, relatively difficult to see through. Shrug. I’ve handled that before, he thought. But no, there was something wrong this time. Still, I have about five minutes to get on stage. Umm, no, these go off. So Mur took off the glasses, carefully placing them in a side pocket. Then he shook with laughter at himself. Why keep the glasses, when he was not going to go on living?

He took his prescription frames, which he had worn since a boy, back out of the pocket, saying, “L’chaim.” Now I’m summarily Jewish, he smiled to himself, crushing them under his left shoe succinctly. This will make a stronger Satan for them, but I do not like this. I fear much for my true family. Stomping them once, they were a clear mess in the shadows under the floor, seeming to disappear as they so blended in. At least it will be a life without glasses for five minutes, he wheezed, patting his chest down again. Something was strange, for it seemed to be rising and falling in an unusual rhythm for a change. Well, he figured, this is not it. The floor is weird and flesh colored. I had a deep cut on my hand after a knife fight that I let to go, and it healed all right. These cuts can never heal again under any circumstances, and I would relish their claiming me.

Why, this is not it, again. Walk through door. There they are. Walk forward, stand in front of – no – behind podium. There is the white podium, off in the near distance. It is a few meager steps away to my simple death. The lighting is great tonight here at the Apollo. I see a huge crowd of the vultures, gathering to feed on the upper sky lighting. Not on me, I suppose, but on Negroes. None of them seem to know there are Negroes – and I believe they have now all become demons, white or black.

They seem to be gabbling away at each other, a hubbub. I wonder what a hubbub is going to turn out to be in the next realm. Surely, something pitiful, circling the skies over my head as I pitch up my lunch. Nah, I’m walking toward this. There is the gravesite podium, two steps away.

So Brother Murdock Shabazz leapt up the final steps to the podium and grabbed it with one fine thin brown paw. He was standing on a wooden platform behind it, one of those short stepstool ones, and needed to get rid of it. So he jumped back, kicking it away to the right side with one foot. He had done this solely because it had seemed “right.”

Something again clicked in his head. As he did so, the upper lights all flew on. He was looking over the podium, the top of which hit about chest level under his stomach, and he felt a little too tall and moist for the podium. So he grabbed it bodily, shaking it back and forth as it swayed, letting it settle down, and began his final speech.

It had been supposed to be about the Marcus Garvey return to Africa movement, but in fact Murdock had finally decided that movement was the one the white men had kidded his father into believing was possible. It might be, he thought, in an actual world. This is however not the real world so far as I can tell, he reasoned out, and I am leaving it. So he had to begin his “speech” now, while unable to read off the paperwork.

“Ladies and gentleman, welcome. I am now the Wizard of Oz. Oh, and I have no such announcements to make. As the Mafia is now situated in the audience, can I see a show of hands? What, no hands? Hey, looka here. Hi there, how ya doing? Wait a minute, this podium is getting a little juicier than me.” Mur tipped his head to one side, thinking this was surely the Jesus Christ moment of reckoning. It could slip away there, but as he had to protect Bette and only Bette surely, the best way to do it was to crash the podium. So he grabbed it and pulled it away to the right, where it neatly bounced off the side wall of the entry area he had come through, landing within a curtain and pulling if off stage to one side. It nestled there, after having made a lot of loud noise, crashing resoundingly.

The distant echoes of this shut up the entire audience momentarily. As he grabbed the mike, he looked down and noticed the speech someone had prepared for him was held within his left hand. He frowned at it summarily, and ripped it into several bunches of white pieces of paper, the lofty ripping of which filled the entire anteroom. These then dribbled down, as he pitched forward a little. Then the strangest feeling enveloped him. Bette and the kids were over on the right wing side of the auditorium, and she was giving his oldest girl a sandwich, but she wasn’t looking at him. Checks, that’s Bette. She remains calm in these difficult situations, but tonight I have to show her something, he decided, involving what she should do to leave immediately. She’s the best…

My wife, he brutally cried to himself inside, spent a lot of time in her life noticing me, my accomplishments, and many of the things we did together; she helped me all along. She isn’t selfish; she’s oppressed, and that is what I always wanted to believe, thought Murdock X. But I have this all set up for her if I can ever survive this theater, which I cannot do. Meanwhile, I have to keep the audience as distracted as humanly possible. She has got to handle the kids in a few moments.

Frowning summarily, while clenching his teeth against the pain, he decided to make his final announcement anyway. He had been listened to before in the early days of his movement, but now he was apparently getting old and slow. “Okay, I always have been completely one with “Stan” – the Devil White Man. I sold my immortal soul to all of your white Christian enemies millennia ago. I am Satan, and it is time for my public execution, which should be in keeping within the heavy rules of Koran order. I hereby commit the unforgivable sin of evil pride and renounce all ties to Islam whatsoever. I am obviously supposed to go straight to Hell itself for you. Wonderful, because that’s exactly what I’m going to do here tonight for all of you wonderful…Godly folks.”

In the original version of this, the event was supposed to hit the newspapers and cause political changes to happen, several of which may or may not occur in anyone’s real lifetime. Some people think they may, and some people think it may never happen. But in this instance, something had to go in an entirely other direction.

“Unfortunately, the entire Jewish race is not dead in a major forest fire yet. That is what the Hell in the Koran is about, up in the frozen north. That’s what is in the book in the portion preceding my death. That is supposed to happen before the Devil here can hit such a town as Hell. I have an associate who has slipped me this impertinent information. Would one of you guys in the audience like to tell me who it is?” He crossed his mostly African feeling business suited arms across his massive chest, which was heaving inwardly with the sighs of a lost paradise that he’d never truly obtained. Everyone in the audience seemed to be having a lot of a good time at his expense – as true universal cold enveloped his entire body. It felt excruciatingly good. Still, as he looked the thing over, he could not see anything out there that looked ripe for a kill. He needed about ten men with guns, he figured, to show up. Ten, twenty, four, whatever was there.

“Hey, friends, where are you? Please show up, now. I’ve come to give you milk and honey and all the images and all that. You know, guys with the guns. You must have about ten of you ready now, like a Roman numeral ‘X,’ c’mon, lemma see those major firearms. I’ve been waiting for rifles all of my life – and you’ve all been keeping them out of reach. Please, pretty please, I beg you on the mercy of being a Negro, come show me your guns so I can see how pretty they are. There you go!”

As the paced out group of men in the middle section pulled out their handguns one at a time, they pointed summarily at his closed off chest, telling him to open up so they could begin the firing squad action they were set to do. He had already turned himself in for the petty crimes he had committed, and now it was time to be blasted away. He had fought with something like meager thousands of these before, and had suffered through some skirmishes, but as the coalescing group began to murmur about how long it was taking, the solution materialized in his own mind like an Egyptian pyramid.

Maybe it was time to unleash brute force upon you people, but you can’t dive into an audience like they’re a swimming pool. How do I keep these guys busy, when my family is not going to leave the theater without me? Bette is the least realistic person I have ever met in my life, though she guides me to paradise in her own lost fashion. Still, this must be done. Perhaps keeping these children of mine distracted enough to ascertain their own political purposes and not bring in the other beings with weapons would help. I can keep both groups at bay until something right comes of this situation – or something wrong.

“You know,” said Murdock as he unbuttoned his shirt collar, “It is getting so bloody hot in here, muggier than the deep south, and oh pardon me is that my ugly Mommy in the audience? Say, I am going now to open up my chest and front and get some air. It’s stuffy here at this Asshole Theater. You know, how about if I rip myself wide open, to make it easier for you? Maybe I can show you the right methodology of dying.”

He daydreamed about an earlier obscene group of white men, easier to keep track of, called the Ku Klux Klan, which had faded away into obscurity and become several black groups, all of which wanted the honor of disposing of his body in improper fashion. The Klan had been big on killing blacks, and so were all his present groups of people.

Brother Murdock then slowly pulled apart the sticky remains of his reddened shirt and undershirt, ripping it all open as he went, baring his black and hairy muscular chest ever so carefully until he pulled it all away as far as he could get it open. He exposed himself as much as possible to the wall of guns that were steadily pointed at around his chest walls and stomach, peeling himself like he was a kind of overripe tomato. As he peeled, a mysterious change started to overcome him. He had to pick off parts of his brown skin and white shirt, tearing a goodly shred of it over one of the stab wounds. Then he finally grabbed everything he could scratch at with large hands, and pulled it all away. Now he felt his reddened and raw chest expand appreciably. It felt so lousy to take in lots of stale cigarette smoke laden air, so he wrenched his dying chest outwards, inwardly cursing out loud. Heaving back a single sob, he thrust out what he could feel moving.

“Here am I, crowd of strange African wonders. I love you all with my entire being, with all of my heart and soul. Here – I am a strange voodoo object of merriment and good times remembered, in the last fifteen seconds anyway.” He bent his head back and said, “I wish you could all be here instead of me. It’s such an enjoyable experience.” Wilting inwardly, he began to realize he could croak before any of his persecutors bothered to fire. He thought: I must tell them exactly where to end this altogether, for it looks like the weather outside could tend to rain shortly, and there are those on foot who must leave this our major theater and walk home in the pounding rain. Therefore, I am going to have to sacrifice my family and friends. There is no other way out of the theater and into this movie. I honestly don’t know who is making a major production number out of this, but it’s for the media so far as I can tell. Perhaps the Mafia is here also. The cameras are steadily rolling over there, and every flash bulb is ready to be popped.

“Hey Rubes, would you believe I have a speech all prepared in your shaggy heads? It’s about how you need to shoot me right here, and aim at it really well. See the chest? It’s deep brown – for no apparent reason. It doesn’t light up that well, I guess. Please, lighting, go ahead and train the spotlights on it. Whoomph! There, that’s good. Now you can all see exactly where to aim. Wouldn’t want anyone in the audience to get hurt.”

Heaving harder, Mur stuck his manly breast out much further. The lights at the Apollo seemed to flicker momentarily, as though they would go out as he pushed himself open. “I’m crowing, world, I’ve done this before – and it is finally the time. Hey guys, how come none of you are human beings yet? I woke up and didn’t become one either. Here’s the blood, the meat and the wine and all that, here’s this strapping black animal and all, here’s what you have been coming to this theater to collect on an artificial altar and pray over and feast upon for hours. Where are the billions of gunshots? I’ve been waiting for this moment all of my life. Shoot Bette!” He had said this last thing to indicate to her she had better get her act in gear and soon. But he also truly meant it, down to the bottom of his black hearted soul. He shouted, “If you shoot my wife first, shoot me next!” 

As the hubbub died down, one large portly lady in the audience said, “What, boy?” There was a loud crashing sound in the back of the auditorium. No one however was coming through the doors in back. It seemed to be a distraction of some kind. As Mur overlooked the crowd, he could finally see the faces of some of the unusual beings with the guns as they began looking over to their right at his wife, who seemed to be putting her hand over her face. No, this is not the right way to have done this. I should have simply read my prepared speech, been shot in the middle of it and my chest, and died.

“No, actually,” he cried, “I didn’t mean that. Say, look over here, why don’t you? I am here already. I just wanted to let you know that Satan makes a great shoot. Look, I’m ready to take down and all, meat on the table for you and everything. The cameras are sitting all around this beautiful goddamn auditorium training on my gorgeous existence and you all are here for the ride. Look, suckers, calm down. I’m ready for Hell here.”

Every move a serious politico makes is always questioned in great detail by the authorities, the petty ones or otherwise. Would this one work better for the cameras? Every cut hurts, every trait any man has is magnified if one is a bull well boy or something like that, every drop of blood screams for high pressure, every taunt is a welt, and every time someone must come up with something new, the question occurs.

He raised one eyebrow as the men with guns pulled away their attention from Bette, slowly spreading the guns out in a wave at the entire audience, as though they would begin to fire if there was so much as even another mild crashing sound. Then there were several little streaks of light filtering in from outside, cluttering up the windows. Murdock X knew there was an odd chance of other groups occurring on the premises, ones which also wanted to kill him. Still, it felt as though something was controlling the premises. Maybe the sixteen other groups with rifles, machine guns and bombs were busy.

Still, Murdock reflected, the “people” in this audience don’t seem to be getting any of my outer space messages. That’s pretty normal for them. I’m the leader of “us all” and that must be an influence on life, I guess. “So it would,” he roared at the top of his bull stomach, “be most kind of all you shits in the audience,” he smoothly squelched through his dying outthrust lungs, “to continue to point all them guns in my general direction, no, put them together a bit more, there you go. Are you almost there?” The fetching group of silver automatics, each with one or more potential rounds, waved like tentacles from the octopus like group of faces behind them. “Do you think you can tell us what to do, when you’ve condemned us?” said one of them, not materializing from the crowd at all. “We were hired to blast traitors who don’t believe in the Nation of Islam – to death.”

“Yes, I told them all about Black Nationalist Supremacy, but the problem is that I am now a Black Nationalist. So I decided to die at them, so sue me. No, don’t. Put the guns back in place and point them straight at me, here’s the target and everything, right here. I love you. I love you all. I am a huge undying wall of blue meat here, I am going to die incredibly slowly – and I am waiting to be slaughtered, fools! Seriously, fire right into these major holes, or I’ll kill you. I’m Satan, I’m burnt ready, and here I am. C’mon, what took you so long?” Murdock looked down at the unmoving guns and flinched inwardly. Now was the time of reckoning. All of this could go any way, or another.

If they would shoot him, he would not be there to make sure his family got safe home. Meanwhile, the theater ushers were starting to open the back doors as if to give him some air. This alone caused a great unutterable disappointment to rack his very being. He had tried, he figured, and now that he was about to faint dead on the floor he oh pardon Satan that’s it he decided – summarily pitched forward and pointed at the open doors.

“Those who stay in their seats get an expensive prize for inadequacy if they move at all. I have six open guns trained on all of you behind the stage doors on either side of this auditorium. If you so much as move, I will have them all fire at you. Say, bunnies with the guns, is you ready? I am determined to not be the only cuss to die in this theater tonight. When I give the signal, all of those guns are going to open fire.”

As the entire audience froze motionless, and the ushers alone rushed to shut the back doors, Murdock sagged down. This was getting to be a dismal meeting for a night at the good old Apollo, one where he had summarily enjoyed nights out with friends on rare occasions. He’d even circulated a depraved underground flyer claiming he needed someone to kill someone else for him, for once, maybe a blond kid. Circumstances had forbid it ever being anyone else but him. What was with Black America?

“Well, can you get back here with the guns? There you go.” Murdock now had a clear field to see them get ready. He asked them inwardly if they were really subhuman enough to fire at nearly the one exact spot that was hurting the most. Then he asked them repeatedly if they were really subhuman. The guns bobbed up and down with a kind of silent laughter, then pointed steadily at various parts of his anatomy.

“That’s more like it, blind fools. Can you listen to the sound of my voice? It’s a mighty timorous majesty now, one which you’ve seldom encountered. Listen, you need to take aim right all over my body, or even my head. It’s there, just don’t be nervous. I see you’re not nervous. There you go. All over myself. You’re my children at last.” Murdock waved over at Bette, trusting she was looking, and smiled. “Please plug this sucking crow right now, as soon as I give you the order to fire. We’re not going back to Africa except on vacation from now on, and for the entire consecutive future.” I wonder how these folks will afford such vacations, he had to realize. We could, or at least Bette could, as her family has some money.

Murdock heaved a sigh, knowing he was only himself and not Satan. He never had much thought as that stereotype, but it came together in a blinding flash that he would have to be one of the most Satanic caricatures for whites ever if he kept this up. He tightened himself, breathing slightly, and realized he was far, far away from his own dying process.

Coldly, he stood erect and eased back on the execution stage. He briefly recalled himself as a young man, but knew that everywhere he’d been, he had seen something unfamiliar at every turn. The supernatural could kick butt, he figured, but only if it was under my own particular command. I don’t want to do this, he suddenly decided.

He froze in a summary surprised gape. The guns were still trained on him, as though the beings behind him did not exist. And the beings in front of him began to pull him back to his human status. “I know I’ve been a bad daddy for all of you pukes who have been following me for so many years, for to have to live with this haunting imagery is the most pathetic attempt at a buck god of raw meat the world has usually seen. We have them on the run at last, I believe, those frozen stones of the north. Do we not? And now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country. There. All of your guns are now aimed right at the center of my immortal soul.” He appreciated the fact. Here we go.

Ahhh, they are indeed. The strangely marine-like head of Murdock X, which had come up with one number as the digit signifying his death and the deaths of many others, centered over his manly body in a nearly perfect diametrical line. He froze up, thrusting his meaty white chest out, making sure to pull back the last of his shredded black clothes, which were oozing in porous layers every drop of life and banal men’s soul left in him. He looked over the huge audience, thinking he would have liked it if any of them had ever chanced to be real or human in any form. In a way, they were almost like his Bette.

They still weren’t doing anything in his direction. Not just yet. Somebody switched on the music from “Carmen” and it began playing sweetly and softly in the background.

“Red is for blood, black is for death, white is for all right, and pure yellow is for me. Meanwhile, are you ready? I doubt it. But you must take aim and fire. Point the guns now. Straight at me in perfect little lines. There. You are now ready.”

I mutter as I mumble, methinks himself ah yes I am surely this at last. I would rather go to the permanent hell as a boy than see Bette and my children ever get shot, leave their home again, or go anywhere else but the shopping mall and to all the wonderful places I have seen in a distant dream as we packed going from house to house to evade their awesomely boring enemy. They had come through the walls too many times. Yes, this is surely scientific reality, and I will not get my death – as I am an utmost raw fearless coward. I am made out of shit, excrement and pee, and that is where I must go.

Looking at the stage lights in their myriad crystalline colors, he begged God to let Allah there go to the best possible place where a girl could make up for a strange difficulty. To the pages of a book serene, or perhaps a small field and a polluted stream. He smiled, smirking to himself as one silver point crossed his mind. None of this was fun. It seemed like the setup for children that his life had streaked through, in a wonderful way.

He looked, feeling weirdly like himself one last time over at Bette and his children. She seemed to be staring at him with something like hatred but akin to respect lighting her features, as if at long last. He swung his head back to the beings awaiting his purple command in the audience. They still awaited it. I am a good little tin soldier, I am, he thought with the greatest swell of black pride he had ever felt in his life. It filled his whole being, overflowing into his soul as it finally dawned on him what was doing. He had figured the enemy was somewhat right about something, and this must be what it was. They had been evolving the form of the thing that opposes the sun, and he was still its primary victim, merely a man. His children were now on the proper path. Or were they? He fretted for them momentarily. Then he gazed up at the lighting, which was not the same way it had been before. Oh, my oath for a better Apollo. Take me, do not take my wife and kids, do what you will with me, but make it a better theater.

Stuff it up my rear later soon as can be for a better reality for all the below, he thought to himself. “Oh and you suckers in the crowd, now is the time. Here are the simple commands for you to never follow again, ever again, in the future.” You don’t know that I am genuinely thinking that for you, and you don’t even care. You don’t know how ready I was to flay my soul itself completely to Hell for you, to serve all mankind. For I am only a father now, Allah and Moses incarnate, and I am also the supper. I am the only level God incarnate in this entire room. It is all that I ever wanted out of life, save death, but you still know that I am only a bugger. That means I want to only bug you into shooting me as painfully as possible. Please take your time and fire each bullet slowly.”

“What?” smirked one of the white Mure denizens with the guns. Each of the ten or more guns was pointed straight to the center of his chest, which was throbbing with a kind of sexual ecstasy. He couldn’t get past an enormous feeling of infinite endless love for all human and otherwise mankind, and the mostly sexual part of it was dribbling away rapidly. As he spread his bleeding, growing and bursting arms wide, and as each brutal shot rang out summarily spaced apart by exactly one century or more of time, or as each shot spaced itself farther and farther out into space, the slowly dancing rag doll prayed the event would matter somehow – and also that the crowd would not descend and feed upon him later, or that they surely finally would. I must now keep this up, he figured out, to the last me. He also prayed that Bette and all of his real children would shortly vacate the theater, as they were getting nervous. He heard the doors of Hell open and close, and knew his wife was perhaps locked in there with him, but waited. Suddenly, the voice said they left summarily and were gone home. He breathed a sigh of relief – for awhile.

Still, the rag doll witlessly danced on the stage, absorbing each bullet and pushing it out his burst open back.

He spread his demonic white boned winged shoulders back as if he was one plunging black crow, a hunk of exploding feathers that were opening up to the center of his virile but exploding chest. A deep blue and black fissure was swiftly forming, exploding ever outward into an enormous blossom, the only flower of truest Scottish manhood. How erotic, smiled the once incredibly handsome black man – to only himself.

As he fell over backwards, on his knees forever at last, all the scarlet sap of a true Harlem sucker was oozing out of his sunken in chest – and it felt so weirdly cool. A round of applause came cascading over the rafters.

Could be the best draw for tickets the Apollo will never get again. And this one time, I got to tell off the crowd the right way, although I cannot do it ever again…I’m slipping away. Funny; this doesn’t feel like death. It seems like my body’s whisking through time and space, to somewhere else, a place that I was somehow always destined to be.

But why is it raining on me? I thought that was blood at first; but there’s a lashing wind and rain falling all around. I’m on a slippery, sloping hill, in the middle of a rainstorm. I’ll look around, but this is not pretty. In fact, I’m out of doors, in the middle of a hundred men racing around me.

As someone who’d always looked like a U.S. Marine, with a square head shape and a liberal’s outlook on life, Murdock had to take a quick appraisal of his new surroundings as he cocked his handsome head to one side. He had shown too good of form to live. He stood up. Everything was wavy, nauseating, and increasingly painful, only set to go further along. He also had to tell them where to shoot him. Or for a change, he had to tell them where to shoot them, as he had to tell them that every time.

They were on a jaggedly, verdantly green hill. It was in Scotland, where they had to defend the overhanging mountain pass while the enemy was coming. As several of them charged up the hill, most of the clan had to hold positions downwards. Using swords, bows and arrows, and shillelaghs, they swarmed fiercely. Guns weren’t involved and shields were too heavy to carry, except for the lighter cowskin ones.

T’was the Battle of Dunkeld in 1689. It involved the Jacobite army. Dunkeld was the last battle in Scotland in the 17th century to restore the Stewarts to the throne. The men were all cowards, so slow and stupid – no, they were but worn out from battle, which had raged many days.

Murdoch’s army was made of a tattered, almost wretched horde of men in both animal skins and Roman cloth and garb; but they were of no one skin color, some being quite dark and some very pale and white. They staunchly wielded their bloody weapons and archery equipment slung over their broad shoulders, which pumped up and down with the rage of battle. And as Murdoch wheeled around, he saw the enemy’s fatal charge.

Out of nowhere, an impenetrable wall of sticks began arcing through the clear sky like straight skinny dark birds. For one long moment, they eclipsed the sun itself. Mur heard them whistling as they raced down, sinking deeply into his side’s exposed chests, limbs and faces. But many of them raised their cowhide shields, determined to survive, as Murdoch’s side whipped out their own bows and arrows – to bravely fight back.

They wouldn’t go down without trying, and it could easily go either way. But Murdoch’s men would all surely die, if he didn’t move. Shocked into the utmost living horror, he gave them his screamingly loud eternal orders:

“Ready…aim…fire!”

 

THE END

 

The finit of this story was based on how after the death of James Graham, Viscount Dundee at Killiecrankie, the Jacobite army was said to have “no leader of quality.” So I gave them one, though how the battle went largely depends upon your point of view.

 

Executive Director of Ghost Writer, Inc., Karen Cole writes. GWI at www.rainbowriting.com is a renowned affordable online professional copy writers, book authors, ghost writers, copy editors, proof readers, coauthors, rewriters, book cover creation, graphics and CAD, digital and other photography, publishing assistance and book and screenplay writers, editors, developers and paid analysts service. We also do presentation and pitch services for your book and/or screenplay ideas to major TV and film industry representatives.

 

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