Don’t That Beat All

A cool breeze blew through the kitchen window; smell of scrambled eggs and biscuits made it’s way ’round the house; permeating every room; it was time to get up. Time to start the day.

It wasn’t too soon that they were all gathered at the table, Jesse, Ann, and their son Jack, that the phone started ringing. Ringing at seven in the morning. Like a rooster crowing. It was the sheriff wanting to know what time Jack got home last night? Said there was a bunch of mail boxes knocked off their stands out on Route 9, south of town, where all the coloreds lived. Ann’s face turned red. What time you get home last night boy?, she asked in a harsh voice. The boy continued eating his eggs, chewing on a biscuit. I asked what time you got home?, her voice got meaner.

Who wants to know?

Sheriff boy.

Sheriff?, Jesse put his fork down.

I got home ’round ten I guess.

You can tell him yourself, she stretched the cord all the way cross the kitchen.

Yes sir. Yes sir, Jack responded. I will sir. Yes sir, he lifted the wire over Ann’s head and hung up the phone. Says he wants me to come down when I’ve finished breakfast.

You’re done boy, Ann said as she lifted his plate. You done it this time ain’t you?

Done what?, Jesse asked.

Was out on the black side of town knocking over mail boxes.

It’s not like they get mail anyway ma. ‘Cept maybe a welfare check.

So you were out there knocking over boxes.

I’m not saying that ma. I’m not saying that. Just saying if I did do it there was no great loss. ‘Sides, their breaking into stores right now. Looting and rioting.

Go get your coat. I’ll drive you down there. You’ve lost your privileges

What is this? Guilty ‘fore proven so.

Go get in the car.

Jesse stayed and finished his breakfast. Took a sip of coffee and let out a chuckle. Don’t that beat all.

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