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  • Elijah J. Graham

"In My Moonlit Mornings, Chapter 24: Winter's Gathering" sample

Updated: Sep 24


OPERATIONAL SUMMARY: MOUNT HARRISON (first of two)


Agents: Boat and Wishbone


The forks amongst the shadily barren suburban trees battle for dominance in the grayed, cold atmosphere above Boat’s speeding American made sports car. To the untrained eye, it may seem as if the branches are stale, complacent with their position in the sky. With the slightest of concentration, the viewer is able to discover the violent, true nature of the earth’s arms— a war of stubbornness. Neither side giving, each side taking.

Similar to the war Wishbone fights with his seatbelt, struggling to rip it down into the buckle’s click. Is he pulling too fast? Why would anyone ever design a restriction from buckling the belt? It snaps back in an instant when unbuckled, but if someone wants to buckle to safety last minute, it’s impossible? ‘Nope. You’re too late. You should’ve buckled it when you got in. Enjoy the crash, asshole.’


While he reaches for the ceiling handle, the trees’ discarded leaves are thrown assiduously into a low current of wind behind the vehicle’s tread. The passing of the sports car is fast enough to create a vacuum, kicking the warm colored leaves up and bringing them a few yards following it, trailing behind pathetically. The dead foliage chases the vehicle in an attempt to catchup that ultimately leads to falling right back down to the asphalt in a new spot; possibly a different side of the leaf left to face the sky above.


The red, orange, and yellow pieces of nature paper land mere yards away from the sharp metal gates of the oversized properties in the neighborhood. The iron spires protrude from the ground vehemently. Separating every few rods are tall columns of thick stone, bolstering the security feature of the acute barriers. It is almost as if the forty-foot-tall columns and football field sized plains in front of the mansions did not scream “affluent” enough.


With his fingers wrapped around the ceiling grip and his other hand bracing against the middle console, Wishbone looks to Boat in genuine concern. His eyebrows are raised in a questioning furrow and his mouth slightly ajar in anticipation to speak, but when he looks to her, she only smiles back. A sort of evil smile, as if her controlled velocity of the car is providing her a type of euphoria. The atmosphere inside of the vehicle is filled with a dissident fervor, cut by only the sharpest of blades. Why does she drive so fast? Does she want to crash? Is THIS how she gets places?


Wishbone ponders the possibility.


She is suppressed. Perhaps her love for undeniable control on the road is a result of her lack thereof in every other aspect of her life. She does not make her own decisions. She loves who John tells her to love. She eats what Oculata allows her to eat. She sleeps where Wishbone tells her to sleep. She watches what Zero wants to watch. Perhaps she only feels as if she is in control of her life when she is jeopardizing it.


Self-destruction is the final act of control in life because it cannot be prevented. If someone wants to die, they will die. Nothing anyone says or does can get in the way of an appointment with thy Maker. It may be an eccentric way to say “fuck you” to everyone they know and love, but ultimately… who’s problem is that? Not the dead person’s.

Wishbone’s mind wanders, wondering still.


He has contemplated it before. He doesn’t have many reasons not to. His father was hunted down and exterminated. His mother was separated from him, kidnapped even. His only love was executed on television. Even before all of these external battles, he was guilty of questioning himself internally. His skin was made darker than most and at more than one occasion in his life, he has seen it as ugly.


He has tried to wash it off, hot water cleans. He scrubbed most of the time, bleach can take on any stain. No matter what, the melanin has prevailed. The Darkness cursing his shell remained complacent. The war on his people disguised as a war on drugs, crime, and/or poverty has carried on— Malik White is unable to switch sides.


The world has shown him every reason as to why he should leave. If he were to make his departure, he could no longer be oppressed. He could not be tortured by memories, teased by his skin color, or tormented by his idleness. He would be safe, free, and in control— so why not? What keeps Wishbone alive is more than the bloodlust he has for John Harrison.


Yes, Wishbone woke up this morning while the ones he has loved most did not. No number of tears, wishing, hope, magic, or bullets can return any of them to him. No, he cannot replace them and trying to do so can only hurt worse.


Wishbone’s heart pumps from memory. Not memory of those people but memory of what it felt like to lose them. The sick feelings of a freezing heart. The helpless feelings of uselessness. The dizzying feelings of irritation with the world’s lack of justice.

This morning, Wishbone woke up in an apartment full of people that want to see him do well in life. They want to see his wildest dreams come true. They want to see him get everything he has ever wanted.


To take himself, as well as all of the ambitions and hope there is for him circulating in the heads and hearts of others, would be the most selfish act he can ever be capable of. Besides, he wants to see all of them do well too.


WISHBONE

(clenching the ceiling handle)

Let me drive.

BOAT

Are you kidding? John will be mad enough seeing his wife with a black fella! You think he wants to see a black DRIVING his wife?!

WISHBONE

He won’t see. I’ll drive to the front gate then we’ll switch.

BOAT

Nope.

(she turns the vehicle, hard)

WISHBONE

(breathing heavily)

The fuck do you mean ‘nope?’

BOAT

Watch your language! You know cussing ain’t for you! You’re too good for all of that.We’re almost there anyways, sweet pea! There’s really no point. Besides, never not ever will a person of color…

WISHBONE

Travel faster than one another.

That is right. How could he have forgotten? Boat keeps driving the car, however; it says nothing nowhere about man’s sidekick clenching the ol’ leather ring. She flies down the avenue, nearly crashing into the gate of her own homestead. In the only passenger seat, Wishbone finishes his final prayer and opens his eyes in relief to the sight of safety in his mortal enemy’s home.


It’s possible that on the way home, he may be breaking some laws. Never not ever will a person of color. But he refuses to get back in that passenger seat. Travel faster than one another. He feared the sound of her voice may have been forgotten, but now he is sure he will remember it forever, as he is only able to hear this rhyme in her tone.


GUARD

Your business, miss?

BOAT

Returning home.

GUARD

Are you expected?

BOAT

I doubt it.

GUARD

(grabbing the walkie talkie on his chest)

Alright, I’m gonna need to report inside before I let you through. Your name?

BOAT

My name?

GUARD

The sound you answer to?

BOAT

Yes, I know what a name is, thank you, but don’t you recognize me?

GUARD

No, ma’am. A lot of women come through these gates. It would be a lot easier if you told me your name.

BOAT

(to Wishbone)

I’m going to kill that son of a bitch.

WISHBONE

(gazing out the window)

No, you aren’t.

BOAT

(to the Guard)

I’m Jessica Bush, friend of John’s.

GUARD

(looking at a clipboard)

I believe Mr. Harrison is sleeping right now, return in about an hour.

BOAT

Oh no, trust me, he wants to be woken up by me.

GUARD

Is that so?

BOAT

Yes, it’s why he sleeps midday like this. He knows I’m coming.

GUARD

(leaning down)

In that case, who is the negro sitting beside you?

BOAT

(gesturing with an elongated thumb to her right)

Oh, him? What do you think?

GUARD

What I think is of no importance, ma’am.

BOAT

He’s my assistant.

GUARD

Assistant to that bit of work you’re doing with Mr. Harrison? Like Michael?

BOAT

Like Mic-

(flabbergasted)

Michael Harrison!?

(calming herself with a deep breath)

You’d be surprised what that man can fit inside of him.

GUARD

My lord!

(lowering the gate into the concrete)

Alright, miss, you go right on through. I wouldn’t want to keep the man waiting any longer.

BOAT

(driving forward)

Thank youuuu! Have a good holiday!

GUARD

(shouting behind the car)

And you, a superior one!

BOAT

(to Wishbone)

He was nice.

WISHBONE

You got a mouth on you.

BOAT

Rumor has it, so do you, sweet pea. We’d make a good team.

WISHBONE

We’ll see, Sarah.

BOAT

Aren’t you supposed to call me Boat when we’re out doing stuff like this?

WISHBONE

We’ll see, Boat.

Boat and Wishbone roll down the extensively long driveway in front of the Harrison Estate. On the lawn, there are possibly twenty different people tending the landscape, all a variety of sizes and colors. French men trim the shrubs, Mexican men cut the grass, and Black men haul the soil.


The entrance to the house is massive and flawlessly white, as the property that John Harrison chose over the White House, it should be. Six ivory pillars erect from the ground to the third floor above. The horseman and sword statue in the middle of the circle drive has a golden plaque on the base and its own moat. You can hardly tell the solar panels apart from the granite on the roof. The front door is the size of three. The windows could fit refrigerators through them.


WISHBONE

(surveying the property)

This place is beautiful.

BOAT

No, it’s just big and expensive. Don’t mix beauty with expense.

(grimacing as she scans over the human cattle)

This is the ugliest place I’ve ever seen.

WISHBONE

You should’ve seen Delero’s house.

BOAT

You mean Zero?

WISHBONE

You’re not going to be doing this the whole time, are you?

The driveway ends in a separation of paths: one path leads to the circle lot near the front door with John’s statue in the middle and the other leads to the garage. With a doorman waiting at the circle drive, Boat differs to the garage to park her husband’s favorite vehicle. Today must be the mechanic’s day off, as he is nowhere to be found. Roughly fifty more yards from the main drive, the two arrive at the six car garage.


Once within feet of the doors, the approaching Viper opens the garage automatically from mere proximity. The rising brown doors expose five more cars: a Corvette, a Wrangler, a Hummer, a GT500, and a Grand Caravan.


WISHBONE

The minivan seems out of place.

BOAT

That one’s mine.

WISHBONE

Oh…

(briefly looking at his smeared fingerprints on the dashboard)

…maybe…

(shifting his eyes to the bedraggled floor mats)

…maybe you should’ve taken that car instead…

(looking up to Boat)

…don’t you think?

BOAT

(pulling into the garage)

Not really an ideal escape car.

WISHBONE

Oh…

(turning away, looking up at the mangled ceiling handle above his head)

…just a thought.

Boat parks the Viper into its parking spot (designated by a snake symbol stenciled into the vinyl floors). She parks it resoundingly, then her and Wishbone finally exit the car. Quite long of a ride from New York City to Mount Vernon, Wishbone cracks his back and torques his neck to force the stiffness out of him.


BOAT

(startled)

What was that?

WISHBONE

My cervical vertebrae.

BOAT

Oh…maybe you should get that looked at.

WISHBONE

Maybe you should’ve took the mag sucking minivan so we could have been a little more ping globbing comfortable!

BOAT

Okay! I’m sorry. We can take it on the way back.

WISHBONE

Damage is done.

BOAT

Fine then.

(walking toward the door connected to the kitchen)

Let’s just get this ledger and get out of here.

WISHBONE

Lead the way then.

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Est. 2016