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Saturday, November 04, 2006

40,000 Slaves - Adam Jeffries Smith

40,000 Slaves

When my mother died I inherited: a piano no one had played in forty years (my grandfather—in the 60`s), half a house I couldn`t afford (don`t ask, I`d been rebellious) and some ugly dishes from the 70`s (we`re talking really ugly here--there are doves involved, there are rainbows).

Worst of all I inherited the 40,000 slaves. What to do with 40,000 slaves?
Where do you put them all?

I want to say right now—up front—I think slavery is wrong—very wrong. I`m against it --on principle. I`ve signed petitions and felt good about myself for several blocks. But, like so many things I put it all behind me.

My great-grandfather bought a few slaves when he came to the country, then he bought a few more; soon the multiplied. I`d grown up with thes slaves—they were family; they were just like family.

``You should get down on your knees and thank God you have so many slaves—not everyone is that lucky``. That`s my mother speaking from the great beyond.

`You got to pick a point on the horizon,and start walking`" That`s Lola-- my other mother—speaking. Unfortunately I didn`t listen to her either.

Now I`m 33 years old and broke-- except for the 40,000 slaves—who are family—they're just like family? How could I just sell them? Someone else would buy them—god knows who?
So I keep the slaves and promise (myself) to be good: kind, ethical. What else could I do?

Adam Jeffries Schwartz--a two time nominee for the 2005 Pushcart Prize-- is a writer and a traveller. He has stories, essays & poems in: Descant, Grimm, Szirine, Jacaranda & Bleach Magazines. Online he pops up at many sites, including: Mosaic Minds, Melange, Ghoti (Fish), Litbits, Kaliedowhirl, The Big Ugly Review & Caprice.