His Plan by Shannon Casey

This here’s a bit of a comin’ of age romance that makes no sense, has no growth and just seeks to merely enthrall. Consider this my Huck Finn plagiarization. Consider plagiarization a new word I just coined. Throw away all the rules is what I means to say. I’s a gonna lie to you and you’s a just gonna have to deal with it. They say lies cover up the pain. They say denial is the only way to get by. Get it? Got it? Good?

I grew up with two tongues. Two walks. Two ways of fucking a queen… Like a 21st century Hamlet playin’ stick ball and fallin’ asleep in libraries typing silly research papers – fucking endnotes and bibliographies. I think my reaction of Reign is quite ambivalent or somethin’ real close to indifferent. I dream romance and wake up defeated, confused. What’s the point…you know if pain and confusion are sure to follow. On the metro, I laugh at druggies and junk heads, but feel nervous around workin’ class folk; you know, the type that appear normal. The type that hold shit in as they go to work pissed the fuck off…damaged from secrets, from trauma. Love’s…traumatic, demonic even. Fuckin’ bitch, fuckin’ queen. Oh Reign, what have you done to me.

Her name was Reign, well that wasn’t her real name, but, it’s poetic. Maybe cliché, clichés are poetic, right or wrong? The girl had her way with me. A church go’er. Mean hips, nice sway. ’Em legs would move in rhythm as if accompanied by a song, or drum. She had a soft face, good face and golly gee the good Lord her eyes…

It all changed when she turned her head around that night and gazed into my manhood and challenged, “You man enough?”

Now, Reign lived on a haunted land. Her little white house sat in the middle of a big empty field…just a few miles away from the gothic possession of Yale with their powerful stone buildings and gargoyles statues. Many times I’ve been caught walkin’ around downtown while waitin’ on the M-9 bus. One time I made friendly with one of them street sleepers…he told me he had tough luck that night too, cause he ain’t make it to the soup kitchen, the shelter…nothing. It was a bad day he said. Then he told me many lies, just so he wouldn’t be lonely, but, I reckon some of them lies was the truth. He told me that over the hills just west of the town green was where em runaway slaves hung around. Well, see, this is where Reign’s little house was-ah-located at the bottom of that there hill. That there eerie demonic hill. Street Sleeper told me many a nights when he ain’t make it to the soup kitchen or shelter he’d be dragged over there by something or someone. And he’d sing with em runaway slaves all night, with the devil.

…So her name was Reign and yessir we did a little dance.

See, on that same day I told Reign about what that street sleeper said to me. And then Reign responds to me, “I have visions sometimes Sunshine, demonic ones, like back in ’em slave days. I see ’em things they use to do back in ’em slave days. I see everything.”

I says to her, “What you mean Reign?”

“The devil want me like how he wanted them. And like in Job, God’s a testin’ me.”

Now, I was feenin’ to run away from this girl and never see her again, but, I didn’t know, being that I was only twelve going on thirteen…when the next time I’d be able to dance with another girl was.

So I says to her, “What you mean Reign?”

She says to me against the darkness of the night, face barely illuminated by a far-away street lamp, “My father is the devil and God’s a testin’ me.”

I swear I could feel the presence of those undead slaves chained up by they hands strollin’ down the hills in a single file line. I swears I could feel them, they misery. They pain.

“What you mean your Daddy’s the devil?” I asked. “He heals people. He shouts and stomps every Sunday morning and people weep and raise they arms.”

One of my first memories of Reign was observing how she’d imitate her father and run in between grown folks legs touchin’ and teasin’ ’em as they stood at the altar; they’d fall and shiver like they’d do and Reign’d just stumble down next to them and stare at ’em all empty. I think she believed there was a God, but, I don’t think she liked Him very much.

“What you mean your Daddy’s the devil?”

“Do you think good people do bad things? Or do you think that good people only do good things?”

Now I ain’t ever give this question much thought but, there are some things just stick in your head for years and years. I done answered this question a many times soon there after and never did feel confident in my response.

That night Reign did to me what she said her Daddy did to her every night after his Sunday sermons. She took me by the back of my head and gripped a good bunch of my hair real strong. I ain’t ever know she was that strong. Her eyes changed from curious sweet to angry sour and she ain’t ever stop saying hurtful things. Racial things. Random things. She grabbed my belt and called me things. She called me things that sounded like they came out of someone else’s mouth.

…you queer, you queen, you faggot.

I told her to stop. I told her my nerves were a jumpin.’ She kept scratching away at my face, sometimes gettin’ into my eyes and as I closed them for protection she’d kick and scream. Don’t look at me like that little girl you don’t know what it’s like!…you queer, you queen, you faggot. She took everything I had. She ripped it piece by piece and it burned. It smelled. It crippled… me.

Sometime a past…headlights invaded the street and we just laid there flat as the cars drove by. I didn’t feel the grass or dirt until she got up from on top of me. Butt cheeks was all sweaty and my hands was a bit stiff. She hummed in a deep tone, got real testy. She asked me if I could ever understand it. If I could ever understand why he did what he did to her? And we just sat there in the middle of big field right in front of her small white house…lost at the age of twelve feelin’ like a slave with a ringing in my ears you queer, you queen, you faggot.

There was no doubt that I loved this girl as well as a young man who didn’t understand what love was could’ve loved a girl. And so for months and months I cried and cried, cause I called her and kept on a calling. But, no one would answer. I’d pick up the phone hands shivering with a sweaty grip for months and months non-stop. Finally, her Daddy picked up.

“How you doing Sir? I’d sure like to speak to your daughter if it isn’t too much of a burden.”

He told me that his daughter wanted nothing to do with me and that it’d be best if I’d stop not-understandin’ that. He told me to hand the phone to my father and I told him I didn’t have one. So, I handed the phone to my mother and after she got off the phone with him she done smack me harder then she ever did. Harder then when I had stole money out of her purse to get some candies. Harder than when she caught me cursing at God during grace. And Harder then when I brought Ricky home for the first time.

I was never able to turn to God, cause it seemed like He done planned the whole thing or had some part in the plannin’ or absence. My momma kept on asking Him for forgiveness and telling me to keep quiet about it – that I ain’t know no better. That it wasn’t nothin’. The devil was borrowing my innocent body and that neither me nor Reign nor Ricky nor Bobby nor Larry would go to hell for what we didn’t understand.

After Chucky I was so tired of not-understandin’. And I missed her so…Reign.

So years and years come and a go before I saw her again. She was very still when she talked and her eyes didn’t do much. She said very little except, “Remember when I told you that God was a testin’ me like he did Job?”

“Yeah Reign, I remember.”

With the slightest remorse on her right brow, she kissed my hand and whispered, “I couldn’t carry the pain no more. I just wanted you to hold onto it for me for a little while. That’s all. I didn’t mean for all this to happen.”

They call me queer, they call me queen, they call me faggot.

They tell me to pray and ask for forgiveness, but, after looking back all these years it sure seemed like it was all part of His plan or that he had some part in the plannin’ or absence. Sure enuff seemed that way to me.

Shannon Casey is an emerging screenwriter, novelist and poet. He studied literature and film at Hunter College and New York University. He is represented by Mark Degasperi at Media Development International for his feature length screenplays. He has written pieces for several indie film production companies both domestic and foreign. He is an active member of the New York City literary and film communities. He is currently working on a supernatural thriller entitled God Talks to Me. For more on Shannon Casey please go to his website sites.google.com/site/shannonkowriting.