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October 2018, vol 14 no 3

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Rebecca Drouilhet

Ghost Moon Sunday

The afternoon sun was setting as my brother and I finished the last spoonsful of our seafood gumbo. Outside, the blue pool sparkled and bright pink oleanders swayed on a summer breeze so typical of Florida.

"Did I ever tell you what happened at one of my churches in Mississippi?" my brother asked.

"No," I said, remembering a time before his bitter divorce when Keith was still a clergyman.

"A white woman went to the law. Said she'd been raped by a black man. She even showed the officers wounds where her attacker had chewed her breasts. The police arrest a black man and put him in the county jail. Fast forward twenty-five years. I preach a sermon against racism. Four men from my congregation come to me and confess."

I set down my glass and leaned forward. "What did they say?"

"It was a moonless night. A mob had formed outside the jail. Angry voices rose. The mob surged forward. Breaching the jail, they took the accused man, beat him, cut off his genitals and sewed them in his mouth. Then, they killed him, wrapped his body in chains and threw him in the river. My parishioners were part of the mob that night. Eventually, someone fished the body out, and turned the case over to the police for investigation. The final report read, "Isn't it just like a nigger to steal more chains than he can swim with?" This angered some of the officers and the case was turned over to the FBI.

"Did you ever tell?" I asked.

My brother bowed his head and whispered in a coarse voice, "I couldn't. It was a spiritual confession."

cold case. . .
a piece of the darkness
belongs to us