AFRO-SURREAL: Fragments from the files of Dr. Snakeskin
"Ticket to Heaven," the last of the series of Our Gang comedies, was produced by Oscar Micheaux in 1944, with music provided by Babs Gonzales and his band, Three Bips and a Bop, on a makeshift sound stage constructed inside of a Harlem tenement building. The plot summary is as follows: With the help of Farina, Pineapple, and Stymie, Buckwee runs amok after reading an early Nation of Islam pamphlet that promises a place in heaven to any Black Muslim who killed a white person for Allah. The throats of the entire gang are slashed with unsheathed straight razors. Alfalfa is forced to sing "Ole Man Ribber" before his throat is slit by a young Robert Blake in blackface. Directed by Spencer Williams, the script was written by Flournoy Miller, who dedicated this final episode to the memory of his late partner, Aubrey Lyles. Miller then moved on to penning scripts for Gosden and Correl's. Amos 'n' Andy television show. The controversial episode aired last Nov. 22, 1963, much to the glee of the N.A.A.C.P.
You can't eat with everybody. You got to have the right vibrations.
Vera Grosvenor, dancer-vocalist, Sun Ra Arkestra
Menstrual blood, in both the Hoodoo folk traditions of the American South and the Straga traditions of southern Italy, is used to bind one's affection to another. In Sicily, for example, a few drops of blood pricked from a woman's finger is stirred into a man's coffee. In the southern states, a man might get Hoodoo'd with a few drops of menstrual blood mixed into his red beans and rice. This spell is also quite effective when worked in the reverse by men substituting menstrual blood for the obvious. The following is an excellent recipe a lady might serve a gentleman caller for lunch.
Tomato with Basil Dressing
1 bunch basil
4 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
5 Tbs. olive oil
2 cloves garlic
3 tsp. of menstrual blood
Salt and pepper
Let stand for 30 minutes. Serve with Toscanini bread, Parma ham, salami, and a carafe of red wine. Bon appetit!
"What fool coon nonsense is this?" the Devil asked. "You call this a sacrificial offerin'? These ain't nothin' but some greasy, chewed-up chicken bones! What happened to my sammich?"
"Ah' done et' it" R.J. replied. "Ah gots hongry on de way ober 'cheer!"
"Well how in the hell do you expect to play the greatest blues guitar in the history of the world if all you got to show for it is some splintered chicken bones all spit up with some nasty ol' nigger slobber? What's wrong with your head, boy? I'm the devil! You gots to give me somethin' ... !"
In the moonlight, R.J. turned his empty lint-lined pockets inside out. He gave the Devil a helplessly pathetic half-smile. "You is 'bout the most pitiful colored boy I done ever laid these infernal eyes on," the Devil said. "But I'll tell you what I'm gonna do .... "
A report released late last night from the Crab Corner sheriff's department confirmed recent rumors concerning retired physical education instructor, D.T. Ward, 68, who alleged over the weekend that a spectral, feral-eyed black man passed through the walls of his newly-paneled basement Saturday morning, and greeted him with a strange but cheery salutation.
"At first, I thought he was askin' for a plate of 'green eggs 'n' ham,'" D.T. told a disbelieving deputy. "Like in them Dr. Seuss books. But now that I think on it, what he said sounded somethin' more like what them magician fellas say 'fore they pull a rabbit outta their hats Wham! Bam! Alley Ka Zam! only this nigra fella was more dicty an' foreign soundin', like he was addressin' royalty or somethin', lookin' at me with them flint-fire eyes. Gave me the Willies!"
According to Ward, whom long-time neighbors suspect is rapidly degenerating into senility, the red-haired apparition floated into the upstairs kitchen, where he took a box of Cap'n Crunch from a kitchen cupboard and prepared a large bowl of the sugar-coated cereal, using close to a full quart of milk. The sepia-tinted spectre then returned to the basement, sat on the sofa, nestling the bowl on his lap, and watched cartoons on the family's new big-screen television with the Wards' three visiting grandchildren Ralph, Edwina, and Skip. The children chirped that he enjoyed early-vintage Popeye cartoons best.
"Right neighborly fella," D.T. said. "Real nice to the kids. Didn't drink, smoke, or cuss. Helped around the yard. Wore a bowtie".
The wretched inherited the earth. And the Man spurt a glorious rain. His underwear was left sticky with seed.
Witches taught naming was power. To name was to know and exert influence over the world of things. The ability to name determined the fuction of a thing. To name was to tame. But we learned otherwise. Real power lay in un-naming.
We refused names, numbers, and codes. We refused stamps, marks. We acted anonymously and moved beyond the Man's mechanisms of global economic and social control. If the Man could not name us, he could not know or tame us. Once he declared us one thing, we become another. We were an invisible and ever changing alphabet. The Man found our meaning more difficult to grasp than a bead of mercury.
He lamented. The cornerstone of the corporate nation-state, the family, had crumbled.
"Errant fathers! Sluttish mothers! Bastard births! Negro music! What is the world to do?" he mourned. "Return to the power of prayer!" So when the robots rolled into the cities, chirping "Automaton Christian Solidiers," we became the robots. The Man did not and could not know. We was them.
Even at the end, in the euphoria of his avarious wet dreams, he thought the tumors raging within were of his own making. But how could he know?
We shifted gender, race, and class. And hopped from one species to the next. We were flora and fauna. We were never what we seemed to be. We were never what he expected. We were random, illogical, varied. He could not predict us.
Then he turned on himself. "To restore order," he said, "we must restore the family. We must attempt to rebuild our moral foundation with the assistance of God."
In his megalomania, the Man resurrected the biblical Abraham from the dust. The ancient patriarch stood before the people and lifted his simple robes. He turned and bent over and exposed the halves of his pimpled ass. His asshole puckered and spoke in gaseous bleats. Throngs of people shuddered in awe. The Savior had come at long last in the mask of Abraham's encrusted asshole.
"The father is the spirtual leader of the househould," it said, "the model of God's love. And he must wash his wife in the waters of that love. He must also instruct his children on matters God's word with diligence. It is his moral obligation, a duty bestowed on him by heaven. It is the responsiblity of men to teach and reaffirm God's word."
A rancid pungency wafted through the crowd in fog-like densities. The people swooned and were overtaken by uncontrollable nausea and diarrhea. Soon, the streets were flooded with the waters of God's love. And the waters clogged the circuitry of the robots under the Man's control.
It was then the Man expired, jacking off in pools of his own shit.
Darius James is the author of the novel Negrophobia and the film survey That's Blaxploitation!: Roots of the Baadasssss 'Tude (Rated X by an All-Whyte Jury).