Rigorous
Volume Four, Issue 4



Lamont in Flight

Maurice Moore

It was hot as hell at de Notsink farm. All de lil children and most farmhands huddled round under de old tree to hear de old man’s story. He only charged folks bout a gallon of water and a couple of bags of corn or tobacco for one of his tales. Was all people could afford at dat time mind you. Hell, he would have been happy if all ya did was let him pick roots ta eat. He even signed for folks wit no extra charge of course. Anyway, our teller pulled a shimmering copper-colored pouch from his left pocket and loaded his cheek wit tobacco to began his tale.

Old man: -Spits in slop cup- Believe it was round bout ten o’clock at night ovah in de Singgiw residents. Where dis newly blended family was all fast asleep. Folks was tired after de long move back to the good ole south.

-Spits in slop cup- All of the night creatures was busy makin a racket as they usually do. Next thang you know silence!

Suddenly, a beautiful fragrance de same color as my sons Raheem’s hair sittin beside me began to fill Lamont’s room.

-low voice- Slowly creeping it did through the cracks. First, as a lite mist then building to a thick fog. Golden swirls going round and round makin shapes till it found his little body.

-Spits in slop cup- Started at dat babies lil toes till it was covering him completely! The fragrance entered every pore, every orifice choking Lamont till he woke up coughing and gagging. Dat chile woke up screamin something terrible I tell ya!

First, Lamont thought it was a fire in his new house. Couldn’t, no fire smelled dat good unless one of his daddies was cooking sweets. But, not dis late, plus hadn’t even had time to do de groceries shoppin.

-Spits in slop cup- Lamont held his breath to stop his gaging and tried to roll on de floor like folks tell ya when fire is near. Didn’t do him any good. That smoke jus followed him swirling round him everywhere he went. He yelled fo his daddies but no one answered. He started to panic wit! Maken de mistake of opening de window. As soon as he did de sweet smoke started to pull him outside. He tried to hold on to de window seal as has hard as he could but screamin fo help!

-Spits in slop cup- Carried miles and miles up into de heavens till most of de air left Lamont’s body. He started to lose consciousness and began falling fast like a meteor back down to the earth. A soft voice filled his head sayin.

Deion: You gotta will yourself to stop boy!

Lamont: What!

Deion: Shit, jus stop ovah thankin for once, and jus stop!

Lamont: And jus like dat Lamont’s body stopped before he crashed into dat fence ovah yonder.

Old man: He flipped onto his back laying oin the cold ground. Opening his eyes noticing all de stars in de sky. Sept de somehow de stars was different now. They seem to call out to him. Telling him to come home. When he started to listen to the stars de golden-colored smoke started to ooze out of him again like dry ice.

Deion: Don’t listen Lamont!

Lamont: -holding onto the grass and wrapping his legs round the fence- What!?

Deion: It’s a trick de Knight Ryders use to kill our kind.

Lamont: Knight who?!

Deion: I’ll explain later boy!

Lamont: Am I dead?!

Deion: Jus repeat after me. -mumbles in de old tongues-

Lamont: What word are you sayin?!

Deion: Do you want to stay on earth wit me and your daddies or fly off into space wit the rest of them!

Lamont: Stay!

Old man: -Spits in slop cup- Lamont mumbled de incantation as instructed. And the smokey fragrance began to slowly reenter his body. His body lowered back down to the grass again. He managed to pull himself up still feeling a lil dizzy. A tall boy with dreads down to his knees bout Lamont’s age approached him from behind. Dis one had green smoke comin from his eyes smellin jus like lavender.

Deion: You ok Lamont?

Lamont: -blushing- Man, why is you naked?!

Deion: -embarrassed- I was washing up when de smoke came.

Lamont: Sorry, man. Here take my pajama bottoms. I have boxers on underneath.

Deion: -grins- Good lookin out Mont.

Old man: -Spits in slop cup- After Deion covered his parts. The two boys jus stood there in silence till Lamont mustered up enough courage to ask what was going on.

Lamont: -stammering over his words- Did you fly too?

Deion: Nah, man. I just sorta passed out, and next thang I know I am in dis field. I saw you hangin onto your window tried to get to ya. But you took off like a rocket!

Lamont: How’d ya know all dat stuff, and why could I hear you in my head?

Deion: My mamma taught me some of her recipes before she went home. Can’t tell you why or how I can be in yo head. But, Mamma usta say dat when de Night Ryders was on us hot; those they trapped would have their tongues cut out so we could not speak spells. Said we had to evolve other magics. Hence, de smoke.

Lamont: -mumbles- So smokey magics?! Ohh and sorry, for your loss.

Deion: It’s ok. Was a long time ago. -holding back tears- Thought she was jus teaching her little boy how to make gumbo, but it turns out she was preparing me for when our powers aren't dormant anymore.

Old man: -Spits in slop cup- Well, dats it fo now. Be here next time children when we come round.



Maurice Moore: "I am currently a doctoral Performance Studies student at the University of California-Davis. I recently completed my Master’s in African American Studies at the University of Wisconsin–Madison in the spring of 2018. From 2011 to 2020, I have exhibited work and performed at the International House Davis (I-House) in Davis California, Christina Ray Gallery in Soho New York, the Lee Hansley Gallery in Raleigh North Carolina, the Greenville Museum of Art in Greenville North Carolina, the Gallery 307 + Orbit Galleries in Georgia Athens, and worked with Rios/Miralda for the Garbage Celebration performance in Madison Wisconsin."




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