Off in the distance the bell tolls ( Fiction )

“Death will come, always out of season.” –Native American Proverb

Willie Mae Simson had come to the end of her rope in regard to her eldest son, James Earl.
The 38 year old mother of seven living on the tough and unforgiving South Side of Chicago
had seen her share of killings. She vowed her son James Earl would not be Chicago’s next homicide victim. What she did not know however is that her son James Earl was one of the most violent street thugs in the city of Chicago.

Willie Mae Simson reasoned if she could only get her son out of the city, she figured sending him to live with her brother in Dothan, Alabama would be the best she could do for him.
Despite the fact that her seventeen year old son was a sociopath who had already killed three people in Chicago.

James Earl a rugged and very powerfully built teenager had the good fortune of being an outstanding football player; the Dothan High School football team welcomed the Chicago teen with open arms.
On the football field James Earl was unstoppable; he ran over and through the players who tried to stop him. He soon became the top high school running-back in the state of Alabama.

Many top college scouts came to Dothan, Alabama to see him play football; he was even considered the best high school football player in the nation. The two hundred and twenty pound running-back received countless scholarship offers to the schools of his choice.

In late autumn James Earl Simson and two of his cronies decided on the crime for that day.
The three teenage boys stood on the corner of Goldblatt’s Pharmacy and they searched for the right victim to pass them, soon they spotted a middle-aged brown skinned woman, the woman was rather tall and weighed close to one hundred and seventy-five pounds.

It was late November just before Thanksgiving and the woman walked quickly past the trio into the drug store. James Earl winked at Zeke Dennis and then swaggered into the drug store behind the woman in the red wool coat. The young pharmacist behind the counter took notice of James Earl and she was troubled by his presence.

James Earl blurted loudly:
“Give me ten boxes of RUBBERS extra small.”

The young Asian woman shot back quickly.
“I suggest you leave this store NOW! Or, I’l call Sheriff Conklin.”

James Earl walked slowly out the store but not before knocking over boxes of Kotex.

Nurse Thelma Washington signed over her payroll check and raised up from the counter,
“Lord, what is the world coming to? That child almost a man and he acting like he ain’t got no sense at all.”

The pharmacist handed Nurse Washington the cash from the register and wished her a happy
Thanksgiving holiday. James Earl watched from the window outside.
Nurse Washington walked out from the drug store and as she was making her way to her car
James Earl tossed his cigarette to the ground and skipped in front of Nurse Washington.

James Earl’s voice sang out impatiently.
“Excuse me, but I lost my wallet and I’m trying to get some money for the bus.”

Nurse Washington noticed the other two boys step behind her.
Her voice began to quiver as she spoke.

“I, I, I don’t know… I, uh, what, what you BOYS want with me?
I, I ain’t got nothing for ya’ll to take… now, you Boys just git, and leave me ALONE!
What ya’ll should be doing is gettin’ ready for Thanksgiving, but you just want to act like
heathens and devils this evening.
Ya’ll go on, and leave me be.”

James Earl sneered.
“Shut the fuck up!
Ronnie! Take the bitch bag!”

The boy named Ronnie pulled at Nurse Washington’s hand bag.
Ronnie whispered.
“She ain’t lettin’ go!

James Earl shoved Ronnie hard moving him back and then he drew back and punched
Nurse Washington in the face knocking her to the ground.
The boy named Zeke Dennis took off running and Ronnie ran off too.
James Earl looked down at Nurse Washington still clutching her hand bag.

The high pitch sound of screeching brakes caused James Earl to flinch with fear; the green
Ford F-150 jerked violently to a stop. The high school football coach jumped from his truck and shouted
at James Earl.

Nigger. What the hell is the matter with YOU?
I swear… you done burned yo’ ass now, the White folks gonna throw away the key on yo’
black ass!

Get the hell outta my way!
And if you try to run Nigger, I’ll shoot you myself… don’t you fuckin’ move, or
I swear I will KILL YO BLACK ASS!
Don’t you play with me son, I’ll kill ya.”

Coach Carter bent down and he took hold of Nurse Washington’s limp wrist.
He waited for a pulse, there was none, he placed his head over her chest to feel for a heart beat, there was none.

Coach Carter closed his eyes and off in the distance the bell tolls.

Charles Micheaux
Atlanta, Georgia


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