Don't act like y'all don't know where we be neither.

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Friday, October 26, 2012



This was my view yesterday as I waited on the fella I was workin' with. We'd already been at one account for an hour. After the third or fourth false departure...I had to make it official. I'm professional sitter...a hall-of-famer but, we weren't sittin'.  We kept gettin' up to leave...only to end up in a different part of the restaurant. A call would come email. It just kept draggin' on. So, I told the rep I'd meet him at the next stop and said my goodbyes to the owner.

The next stop was a curb store...a block over from Church St. Curb stores in places like Indianola aren't just convenience stores. They are designated loitering spots. The dealer stands in front of the store. In this case, a big framed, solid brother, sauntering in front of the ice chests...casually swingin' his arms around his around his belly...hitting a fist against an open palm. Occasionally he'd step off the curb into the parking to meet a walk in customer...or lean into the passenger window of a car. Dirty drive through.

There's always a couple of old fellas holdin' up the wall...drinking from paper bags, lookin' for a dolla to hold. They hungry. A car swerves into the parking so the driver can holler at a friend...maybe one of the people that just seem to appear from nowhere, with no discernible purpose, other than to make a racket before disappearing. Just a lot of browsin'.

I'd sat there for thirty minutes. The dealer eye balled me a couple of times and then moved to the other side of the parking lot. He didn't offer...and nobody had bugged me for a dolla. I was beginning to think something was wrong when this kid came down the alley on a bicycle. He was barely pushin' the peddles fast enough to stay upright. It was comical. He was wearin' shorts, ashy legs, black socks and shower shoes...topped off with a sweatshirt. The hood pulled up over a big flat billed all came to a point about two feet above his eyes. This kid was teetering like he had a road cone on his head.

Then he saw the cigarette hangin' out of my window, pushed a little harder, straightened up and made a bee line for the truck.

"You gotta another cigarette got one for me?"

"Sure thing"

" gotta light."

" ain't got nothin' but a habit do you?" I handed him a lighter.

He was obviously high...his speech was slow and deliberate but, his body was fightin' the control. there was a subtle jerk to his movements. He stared down the cigarette at the lighter...he was focused but, it took a couple of tries to get the square into the fire.

"A habit...oh yeah...people say I gotta gotta watch people around here. They try to lace you. They got me one time...put some crack in my cigarette."

"Tryin' to get you hooked huh?"

" gotta watch these folks. They'll lace you. They all know me 'round...I be hangin' around he-uh all the time. need some weed or some crack."

" I'm here to work. I'm just waitin' on my partner to show up."

"You cool cool."..he thrust his fist through the window for a bump. "Not like these people 'round he-uh...they lace you man."

"Have another one man"...I handed him another cigarette and the fist came back through the window.

He straightened up best he could and went wobblin' back down the alley.

I was still gigglin' when my buddy showed up.  We went in and got down to business. The stores run by and Indian fella that always seems a little frazzled and worn out with it...but, the cook, who must do more than just cook around there, is a real sharp brother who really gets engaged with the business of food. Then there was Forealla. I don't know exactly what this dood's role is in the store but, he got all up in our business...when he was inside.

"You gotta Guy-roo? Oh damn...God is good. We wus juss talkin' bout this last night. Forealla. We was talkin' about the Guy-Roo...We need the Guy-Roo...and here you is. Damn...God is good."

This cat buzzed like a bumble bee on somethin'...he was enthused. He was wearin' a flat billed cap too..shoved over a bale of tight dreads. Ear buds hangin around his neck. He kept goin' smoke. Then he'd jump right back in it...

"The Guy-Roo...we gotta get this foreallla. DAMN!"...and back out he went.

That's when it occurred to me that I'd forgotten something in the truck...before I could get to the door Forealla comes bustin' back in. I kinda shot on out to the sidewalk. There, filling the passenger window of a car, was the caramel coloured face of a maaaaaaaaad black woman.

"Wha' you need to do Motha ***** is Shut the **** Up!" She yells almost right into my face.

I have no idea what transpired between Forealla and this woman but, she was pissed.

Forealla couldn't let that he comes back out and starts hollerin' at her...all the while the cars movin' through the parking lot until it gets parallel to my truck...where I'm laughing so hard I can't remember what I came out for.

Then the car stopped. I didn't here but, evidently Forealla had called this woman a Bitch.

This woman has been shouting the whole time and her voice is starting to strain a little bit but, it's not cracking. She wasn't gettin' hysterical...there was no fear of Forealla. No fear at all when she through the door open and let him know...

"I'mma show you who the Bitch is."

She went back to the trunk of the car. Her friend, who had been cackling through it all, calmly stood by the trunk bobbin' her head...eatin' pork rinds...while the lady flung it open and started diggin' around. The possibility of her comin' out of that trunk with a shotgun...was feasible. Still, me and one those people that just appear in these parking lots, were bent over laughing...what are you gonna do?

It wa'n't a was stick. A head crackin' stick

She was bent on dentin' that boy's skull. He knew it...and disappeared back into the store.

I love The Delta...the most Southern place on Earth.

Those buildings you see there are on Church St....that's where B.B. King (and whole host of others) first plied his trade.

It's forealla...that's all.

Further Reading


  1. Whew. I feel like I've just been watching an episode of 'My Name Is Earl'...

    1. Why'd you think I come here, they cancelled the series and I gotta get my fix somehow.

      I gotta hand it to you Randy, this was a good story, I did laugh a couple of times, but probably not where I was supposed to!

    2. I laughed the whole time.

      One of these days, C I'll tell you about my cousin Patience. One thing y'all should know about that show...Joy is the real item. There are several stock characters in The South and Joy's just one of them but, Ms. Presley has it down stone cold.

  2. I read this on a chilly, grey Autumn afternoon in West London, and immediately found myself transported four thousand miles (or whatever the distance is - probably more) to the heart of the Delta. High quality reportage which would make a great opening sequence to a movie, or the start of a really atmospheric short story. I'm sort of waiting for gunshots to sound nearby and for you tumble out of the car with a gun in your hand... but are you a cop or a member of the gang?

    Anyway - really enjoyed it.

    BB King's "Indianola Mississippi Seeds" has always been one of my favourite albums, and now I've finally looked the place up on a map.

    1. Glad you enjoyed...if the BBC needs a Delta correspondent I trust you'll put in a good word for me :).

      There's another post here that invovles Indianola...I'll edit the link in.

      One of Hound Dog Taylor's esoteric "jokes" was about him and B.B. King Drivin tractors in Indianola.