Mr. D came home every Saturday to visit his family. And every Monday he would return to the one he loved. He wasn’t the only man of his kind. Plenty men made sure their wife’s quarters were taken care of. They paid the bills, mowed the lawn, and waved to their passing neighbors in the daylight. Then, soon as the dark of night revealed herself, they hurried along after their true hunger. Their wives could never compete with an appetite so insatiable. They had to have more of what was out there, across the track, across the creek, sometimes even across the street.
Mr. D was a noble man, as far as the eyes of the Negro community could see. College had learned him the trade and tradition of dentistry. He took all the classes, studied hard, but official Akron College records would reveal, that Mr. D had never enrolled. He had followed the coattails of a close friend into the classroom. This close friend came from a proud family of five generations of Colored folk. Mr. D, however, was the offspring of a lowly Negro cook and a White daddy who couldn’t keep his hands out the brown sugar. Yes, of course, Mr. D’s daddy was married. And yes, of course, he wasn’t married to Mr. D’s momma. So besides inheriting his daddy’s green eyes, he also became heir to his enthusiasm for things found outside the home.
Mr. D’s intelligence came down from his mother’s side. She all but slaved in the kitchens of average White folks, but spent what little free time there was reading. Her son would pick up what she left behind. When she caught wind of his eagerness to learn, she bought him books of his own. He fell in love with Langston Hughes in particular. Although, one cannot say with certainty that the love was literal, hot breath on Langston’s back flap portrait could be admitted as evidence.
Langston was the lightest man that Mr. D was ever fond of. As time passed, his taste grew darker and darker until he found himself with a jet-black cutie exactly one-half his age. But before the dark berry spilled its juice on Mr. D’s lips, he had already, fifteen years earlier, declared his love for a young and astonishing fair lady whom he married.
His wife had come from a long line of pretty women. She and her three sisters were the talk of town. From Collinwood to Kinsman, word spread of their beauty. And because they kept their chins up and their skirts down, they became a highly sought after quartet. The all American Jim Towne had even courted the baby sister. The second eldest had become the prize of a prominent preacher. While the third in line, found a civil rights attorney in her living room litigating with her strong father for her delicate hand in marriage.
Mr. D’s wife, the eldest of the four, was the last to marry. And it wasn’t because she was less desirable. Some would say her strikingly square features and unconventional looks made her the most exotic catch of the clan. Everybody wanted a piece of Miss Sue. But Miss Sue only had eyes for Mr. D. Had her vision been premonitory, she would have chosen another beau, but the illusive, soon to be Dr. D had her in a rapture. Another man would never do for Miss Sue. For Mr. D, on the other hand, one other man was just not enough.
Their courtship was long and sporadic. Mr. Soon-To-Be-Dr. D’s primary excuse were his studies. School was indeed intense, but never quite as all consuming as he had made it out to be. The college pickings were slim, but he was quite a charming man. Not in his sway or swagger, but in the quiet heat that lie beneath the outward shell of his demeanor. Come close enough and you could feel the fire. Mr. D was passionate. He attacked learning with this passion and became a favorite of the professors even though he never made the attendance list. Among the experimental community, he was one to be seized. And he all but wore his peers out, pouring out his fervent spirit with each spill of cum that coursed through their anal tracks, then withdrawing and abandoning his purported loves while he wrestled to square his natural desires with the expectations he had lain out for himself and his future.
He would not live in the niggerly way. He knew proud Colored families, but he did not grow up around them. He was birthed amongst those pressed lowest to the ground. He did not despise them, but purely despised the poverty that entrapped them. He would set out on his own course, off the beaten path laid out for the poor. He would live a regular life among regular folk – not too poor and not in the practice of unbecoming habits.
So when Miss Sue pressed him for the last time, on this occasion threatening to elope with some other suitor, the realization of his having to go through the tiresome motions of wooing yet another girl, convinced him that it was time to take a wife.
Mr. D was a very private man. His wedding was nonetheless a highly public affair. They came in droves from down south and up north to see the uncommon beauty wed the long evasive bachelor. A few uninvited guests had managed to creep into the crowd. Former friends who had the distinct pleasure of knowing Mr. D intimately took their place in the back row. Amid the joyous congregation these men were mourners.
The honeymoon was raw and tempestuous. Mr. D was surprisingly generous with his pretty wife. For her, he unveiled his neatly wrapped, ravenous nature. His tongue played with her peach nipples, making her already full breasts swell in delight. One sniff of her curly brown ringlets fully extended his erection. Sheer pleasure danced between embroidered sheets. As she squealed in impatience, he used the tip of his penis to play with the wetness threatening to burst from beneath her. He entered his wife long enough to moisten himself, then he turned her over and made a deposit on the inside of her ass.
Despite their unconventional relations, Miss Sue, now Mrs. Sue became pregnant with a baby girl. He bought his family a modest two-story home on 119th Street. This was a neighborhood of working men and stationary wives. Not that the women didn’t keep busy, because there was plenty work to be done at home. But these Negro women could brag that the only work they were responsible for happened in their own homes. They didn’t do any cooking for Miss Anne, nor any sleeping with Mister Charlie. Mr. D wanted this status for his own wife. So when she brought up the idea of putting her college degree to work, he would have nothing to do with the notion. Mrs. Sue would stay home and keep house like the others - and that was that.
Just like her mother before her, Mrs. Sue had three more girls, all beauties just like their mother. After the last girl was born and Mr. D saw that he had put forth a pretty good presentation, he resurrected his former self and started taking the long road home from work.
Mrs. Sue had also succumb to old habits. The kind passed down from parent to child. Her mother had spent her days in the carefree profession of wine sipping. For Mrs. Sue as well, alcohol had become her companion. In the absence of the warmth from Mr. D, liquor was a mighty cozy comforter.
The years passed and Mr. D’s baby girls were now teenagers. He had long ago kept up an apartment outside of their home. The girls, whom he did love deeply, had spent every minute of every weekend under daddy’s care and attention. But Monday through Friday, daddy handled his business elsewhere.
It was one such weekend that brought their father to their porch on 119th. Mrs. Sue sat in a sturdy felt chair, highly decorated and custom built by her husband. The royal mauve throne allowed her to appear regal even with the sloppy drinking glass upheld in her hand. She did manage to maintain her outer beauty even as the liquid consumption decimated her insides. Mr. D was not the type to sit around. He stood on the porch peering into their screened front door impatiently waiting for his daughters to ready themselves. On the other side of the street two lips formed, creating a whistling instrument, like that of a pied piper, luring Mr. D’s attention away from the screen.
They were a portrait of loveliness. Two free blackbirds strutting down the pavement, whistling a tune and enjoying their parade. Mrs. Sue was not drunk enough not to notice her husbands trance. Had he been gone that long, he thought to himself, not to have realized the evolution that had taken place on 119th Street? Mr. D’s fascination with the two men did not betray his private nature. For every porch sitting witness was enthralled. The two gay boys had struck again. The neighborhood's first bold sissies could not help but magnetize the stares of their wide-mouthed neighbors. They were in their own right superstars – gay, ghetto superstars, and with the exception of the weekly fistfights that come with the territory, they enjoyed their status.
Mr. D knew one of the boys, the one named Dizzy. For Dizzy had been born and raised not many houses down from his own. This Dizzy, from the start, was an effeminate firecracker, whose destiny led him to be kicked out of the house at age 13. But who was this other creature sashaying beside him? Why had he never seen him before?
Dizzy, whose front incisors had been missing for quite a while, knocked out no doubt in a fight over his flamboyant attempts at self expression, had inquired of Mr. D long ago about the possibility of purchasing a pair of suitable dentures. Mr. D had repeatedly brushed Dizzy off, not wanting the association, but now he felt the time had come for making teeth.
This, after all, is what he did for a living. He was not a dentist, per se, because he had never earned enough money on the side to pay for the dental courses he mastered, which is the reason why he never made the class roster in the first place. But what he was was a master craftsman of dentures. His community would see him first before any licensed practitioner. It was obvious to them that the man possessed a gift. And he was paid according to his talent.
When Mr. D surprised Dizzy with the perfect fit for his mouth, Dizzy inquired, “How can I repay you?” A meeting was soon arranged between Mr. D and the boy called Brandon. The two hit it off instantaneously. The strangers became lovers and before anyone could blink an eye, Brandon had moved into Mr. D’s St. Clair apartment.
No man had accompanied him there for any longer than a night or two. But Brandon and Mr. D were inseparable. Mr. D was enticed by Brandon’s free spirit and Brandon was in awe of Mr. D’s quiet maturity and reserved intensity. They had to have one another. Day in and day out that’s exactly what they did, seldom leaving the apartment, and seldom failing to enjoin themselves intimately.
Time passed and so stilled their voracity. Their heated nights had cooled into a very bare friendship, the kind where one spoke his heart openly to the other. It was in this spirit of camaraderie that Brandon approached Mr. D with this request, “I want you to let me go.”
Mr. D understood instinctively what Brandon wanted. He knew Brandon would want it one day, before the idea had even entered Brandon’s own mind. But the blow hit him hard just the same. Being a man who employs words sparingly, both Brandon and Mr. D were surprised by his cruel and heavily verbal response. “You were just poor, black trash with no where to go except to march your faggot ass up and down the street pretending like you had a destination. I picked you up. I cleaned you up. And I gave you life. Your own mammy would testify to that fact.”
“Be nice now,” Brandon retorted. “You don’t look so old when you’re nice.”
The remark had obviously cut deep.
“You want to leave me? I have whispered my whole self into your ears.”
“I’m sorry.” Brandon said it and meant it. He came closer and ran his fingers through Mr. D’s silvering hair. “I ain’t never known nobody but you. It’s time for me to know other things. You can’t take that away from me.”
Mr. D turned, but not far enough to allow Brandon’s fingers to slip from his mane. He wanted to hold on to that touch. He wanted the tingle to linger. Barely able to look at Brandon, Mr. D spoke. “The teacher has one more thing to show you ‘fore you go.” Having considerable size and strength over Brandon, despite his age, Mr. D took the younger man violently and with insurgent blows, thrust the totality of his anger and resentment up Brandon’s insides. He had always been tender, commanding, yet controlled up to this point. When Brandon asked why he had done this, his reply was frank. “That’s what will meet you outside the nest.” Brandon quickly gathered what little was originally his and left.
If Mr. D had before experienced what was in store for Brandon, he had never revealed this fact until the day of Brandon’s departure. The young boy had been forewarned, but his curiosity was greater than his fear. He soon met up with a man closer to his own age. One both hardened and opened by the penitentiary. This one was not as settled in his taste for other blokes as the older Mr. D. This man fought the object of his desire. He seemed determined to beat the living gayness out of himself by beating the extremely petite Brandon. Black eyes, bloodied noses, and bruised lips became the recurring accoutrements of Brandon’s appearance. His spunky darkness turned into an ugly black mess. Unlike Mrs. Sue, Mr. D’s neglected wife, who wore her pain on the inside, Brandon, who had abandoned Mr. D for this brute, wore his pain outwardly.
Mr. D had taken up the custom of shopping for himself. He came face to face with Brandon at Market Square. The frightful expression on Mr. D’s face demonstrated his every thought. Brandon had seen himself, what he truly looked like, in Mr. D’s eyes. No words had passed between the two men until later that evening. He received a phone call from his Brandon. The message was blunt. “I just want you to know that nigger is dead.”
Brandon had taken one too many blows. He heard the footsteps of the sadist pounding the stairwell just outside their apartment door. Brandon sat there watching the lock turn and the doorknob spin. With a revolver as petite as his own frame, he lifted the gun and fired four shots. The callous man smiled, seemingly happy to have finally been put out of his misery. But as he hit the floor, it was evident that the bullets were not a suitable enough infliction. The beast still breathed.
Brandon paced the floor. By this time the telephone had started with an urgent, insistent ring. Mr. D was on the line. Brandon didn’t pick up. He just knew. It was then that he felt it, the cool window breeze caressing his bruised skin, attempting to calm his flared nerves. The breeze did that and more. It gave him an idea.
Had he left his abuser to die in his blood, self-defense could have made an acceptable plea. But Brandon went a little overboard by dragging the man toward the window and hurling him five stories to his death. Brandon would spend his remaining years trapped in a state prison.
Mr. D could not bring himself to ever visit Brandon. He wished to hold onto the memory of his free, little blackbird, just as he had witnessed him for the first time, whistling a nameless tune, enjoying being exactly who he was.