A KIND OF BIRD WITH NO LEGS

“There’s a kind of bird that don’t have any legs, so it’s gotta spend it’s whole life on the wing
in the air, I seen one once.”
–Tennessee Williams
(Orpheus Descending)

Good writers tell wonderful stories, they are also highly intelligent people and they make you see the world through a much better lens. I recall when I was a young actor living out in Hollywood and I was taking a Master Class in film acting taught by the great Beah Richards.
I was working on a scene from a movie called, ‘A FUGITIVE KIND’ by Tennessee Williams a favorite writer.
I was doing my scene for Beah Richards and my fellow workshop actors and when the scene was over there was great applause and I felt I had nailed my performance.
Beah Richards, she played Sidney Poiters’s mother in the movie, ‘GUESS WHO’S COMING TO DINNER’
she asked me about a line in the scene that really sounds like a fantasy.
The line in question:

“YOU KNOW THEY’S A KIND OF BIRD THAT DON’T HAVE NO LEGS.”

Marlon Brando spoke the line in the movie A FUGITIVE KIND.
When Beah asked me about the line, what she wanted to know from me was, is there really
a kind of bird that has no legs?
I was stunned.
I was thinking, “What does that have to do with my fine performance?
Who gives a shit if a bird has legs or not?”

I smiled at Beah lovingly and as sweetly as I could I explained to her I did not know if there was in fact such a bird.

Beah Richards returned me a plastic smile and said:

“Why don’t you find out if there is such a bird, come back and do the scene again for us.”
I was pissed!
I thought: “Come on Beah! Now you know damn well there is no such bird!
How fucking absurd? What a waste of my good time. Damn!”

I remembered how blessed I was to even be in Beah Richards class; when I auditioned to be in her class the first time I was accepted. I did not know until later that most actors would give up a Kidney to be in her class. When all of my actor friends found out I was studying with Beah they were in shock.
I was just 21-years old and I was invited into her Master Class; her class was really for top tier film actors and so there I was with many famous actors and Beah paid much attention to me in front of them.

So I went to the public library and began my search for this damned bird that had no legs.
I pulled 25 books off the library shelf and slowly I turned page after page looking for this
bird Tennessee Williams and Marlon Brando spoke of.
I went past thousands and thousands of bird pictures and i think it was at book number 28 I found the bird. My eyes immediately filled up with water.
It was one of the most beautiful discoveries of my life and in that instant I realized my acting would be taken to another level that I could never imagine.
I understood better why Beah Richards was the salt of all the acting coaches I had studied with and there were many, I studied in Europe, New York and Hollywood and I always sought to study with the very best
“Method Acting” teachers on the planet. Beah Richards was the best!

I went back to the studio in Hollywood and I did the scene again and there was a sense of power that
I did not have before my discovery. The scene plays profoundly more romantic when the actor knows that bird exist. I have spoken to many, many actors and I’ve asked them did they believe there could be such a bird and everyone of them told me no.

Eye saw the bird myself in all it’s beauty in flight no less; this bird is very, very small and it lives it’s whole life in the air, in flight and the only time it lands is when it dies.

The bird is called a wild billed humming bird.

Marlon Brando did the play as well on Broadway and it was called, ORPHESUS DESCENDING.

May I suggest you take a look at the scene which is available @ YOUTUBE.
Simply type in A BIRD THAT SLEEPS ON THE WIND.
It is one of the most beautifully acted scenes ever captured on film.

Charles Micheaux
Atlanta*

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CONFESSION of the PREACHER’S WIFE

“I stand before my highest mountain, and before my longest journey and therefore, must I
descend deeper than I ever descended before.” –Nietzsche


FICTION: By Charles Micheaux

A Catholic Church in Atlanta

Father:
How long since your last confession?

Woman:
I, I’ve never gone to confession before today.

Father:
I see, tell me, what troubles you today?

Woman:
I, I really don’t know where to begin…right now, I feel so alone and caught up in a terrible
nightmare. I feel stupid, to be honest, I’m not of the Catholic faith. I’m African-Methodist.
I always wondered what happens during a confession. Does it really make a difference?
To answer your question, I, I really don’t know where to begin, my thoughts are just a ball of
confusion.

Father:
Is it something you are afraid to speak about in confession?

Woman:
YES. NO! I, I’m so confused…
It’s it’s about my husband mainly, it’s about me too, though.
Oh! I, I, just really don’t know where else I could go.
I came here.
I came here…my husband, he, my husband is…

Father:
Go on my daughter, tell me what’s so heavy on your heart.

Woman:
My husband, he has his own church, he’s a pastor here in Atlanta…

Father:
Don’t be afraid, tell me my daughter why you are so troubled.

Woman:
My husband and I have been married for five years.
This was a second marriage for the both of us.
We dated for over a year and had a very long engagement to be sure.
He was different from any man I’ve ever been with.
He was sensitive, and I’ve seen him cry many times.
Most men won’t let you see them cry, my husband he was different though.
Shortly after we were married I went through his suit case after he had come back
from a church conference in San Francisco and I found these DVD’S, they were all
porn movies. They were movies about gay men having oral and anal sex.
I was aghast.
I confronted my husband about the movies and we argued all that night.
He warned me to never go through his suit case again.

Father:
I see.
Did either of you seek marriage counseling?

Woman:
I suggested the idea but he reasoned if people found out he was seeking counseling what would that say about his ministry.

Father:
Did you seek counseling for your self?

Woman:
No.
I started buying porn films for us to watch together.
I thought, I thought that would help our marriage.

Father:
I see.
A part from the porn movies was there anything else that troubled you about your husband?
Did he ever do anything unbecoming of his position as a minister?

Woman:
Yes.

Father:
And what was that?

Woman:
My husband was a mentor to teenage boys, troubled boys and often he would take these boys on
weekend trips with him. Then the rumors started… people were saying my husband was having sex
with these boys.

Father:
Were these rumors true?

Woman:
Yes. I found out they were true.
My husband was also supplying these boys with drugs, money and jewelry, expensive clothes and
he even bought one of the boys a brand new sports car.

Father:
Did you confront your husband about these very serious failings?

Woman:
Not only me, but the church board members.
There was a meeting held and what I discovered was they were more concerned about
the church coffers than they were about how my husband had violated the trust of all the church members
and so exploit the young teenage boys.
I was so embarrassed to sit there in the middle of so much selfishness and violation to the church.
When we got home I told him I wanted a divorce.

Father:
What happened then?

Woman:
I packed a suit case and I drove to the Sheraton Hotel and I stayed there for a week talking back and forth with my lawyer about a divorce. I had my lawyer type up the papers and soon after that my phone began to ring. Everyone from the church was calling me telling me the whole church would suffer should I
go through with the divorce.
So, they offered me an enormous amount of money to drop the divorce.
Which I did.

Father:
You understand your husband is in dire need of psychiatric help?
You realize this, yes?

Woman:
I do.
But it’s too late now.

Father:
Why would you think that?
Where is your husband now?

Woman:
He’s in Grady Hospital.

Father:
Why is he at Grady Hospital?

Woman:
He’s dying of AIDS.

Father:
I see.
Do you and your husband have any children?

Woman:
No. Thank God.

Father:
I don’t understand…

Woman:
My husband gave me AIDS, and I’m going to die too.

Charles Micheaux
Atlanta*

A soft knock at the door…

“We do not take a trip; a trip takes us.”
–John Steinbeck

FICTION By Charles Micheaux

Vieux Carre’ Hotel
New Orleans, LA

Everyone was celebrating in the streets and on the balconies of hotels and motels in the great city of
New Orleans and it was the night before Madi Gras and Henry found himself all alone; his girl friend, Grace remained home in Chicago to tend to her more who had recently suffered a heart attack.
At the last minute Grace informed Henry he would have to make the trip to New Orleans alone.
There were thirty-seven couples in the hotel Vieux Carre’ Henry occupied room 69.

Henry forced himself to get dressed and hit the streets and see what a remarkable and exotic city of
New Orleans was all about. Once on Bourbon Street he saw a beautiful Gothic sign outside the shop window
and there was a very beautiful girl smoking on a hookah pipe. There was something very sexual about the way the girl sucked on the pipe. Henry was transfixed by the girl.
The pretty girl looked up and caught Henry focused on her, she smiled, then winked at him.
Henry made his way inside the hookah shop and he walked over to the girl and introduced himself.
The cute girl introduced herself as Alice Lewinski and she pulled a flask from her purse and took a swig,
then handed the flask to Henry and he too turned the flask up to his lips.
Soon the pair were outside walking along Bourbon Street.
Alice asked Henry where he was staying at which point Henry invited Alice back to his room.
Alice giggled and thought for a moment.
“So, if I come up to your room what’s gonna happen? What would you like to happen?”
She giggled again.

Henry smiled.
“Fun, lots of fun… you smoke weed? I got some back up in my room and a little Coke too.”

Alice giggled again.
“Let me see your hands?”

Henry showed her his hands and she let her hands squeeze his hands.
She giggled again.

“I love a man with strong hands… because , I, really could go for a good back rub.”
Henry quickened his pace back to the hotel and he took hold of her hand and a smile came on him.

Henry fumbled with the hotel room key.
Alice put her fingers to her lips and giggled again.
“I’m horny!”
Once inside the hotel room,
Alice flopped down on the small couch and kicked off her shoes.
Henry went into the bathroom and came out with a plastic bag filled with weed.
He pulled out some rolling paper and began to roll four joints, handing one to Alice.
She pulled on the joint sucking the smoke deep into her lungs and she held it, throwing her head back
she slowly let the smoke back out. Henry grabbed her and the two began to French kiss.
Henry’s hand quickly made it’s way under Alice’s floral dress. He pulled at her panties and his finger
touched the soft hair covering her pussy.

The two joints in the ashe tray burned and the room was filled with smoke, the room had a thick fog.
Henry pulled off Alice’s panties and threw them off to the side arm of the couch.
There was a loud knock at the door.

Alice and Henry raised up alarmed.
Another knock came.
Then a man’s voice shouted:

“OPEN UP THIS DOOR!
ALICE! ALICE! ARE YOU IN THERE?

Henry whispered to Alice:
“Who is that… is that your husband…you, you’re not married are you?”

Another knock to the door.

“ALICE HONEY, PLEASE HONEY WE CAN WORK IT OUT.
GIVE ME ANOTHER CHANCE… ALICE. I NEED TO YOU TO OPEN THIS FUCKING DOOR!
I KNOW YOU ARE IN THERE!!! I’M NOT LEAVING TIL YOU OPEN THIS PHUCKING DOOR!!!

Ten minutes pass and it’s all quiet.
Alice quickly picks up her panties from the floor when there is a soft knock at the door.

“Mr. Henry, excuse me sir, but I’m the night manager and we need to speak with you, I have the
New Orleans Police here with me now and we need you sir to open the door, or I will be forced
to open the door for the police.
Mr. Henry you have ten seconds to respond, then I will have no choice but to open the door.
Mr. Henry.”

Henry quickly runs to the bathroom and flushes the Coke and weed down the toilet.
The hotel manager turns the lock and opens the door and the New Orleans police are
overwhelmed by the dense fog and smoke.

Alice runs into the arms of the police.

“I just came to buy some weed and he started grabbing my ass and stuff, I should have never come here.”

The police remove their hand cuffs and tell Henry to put his hands behind his back.

Henry cries:
“But I didn’t do anything! I swear! She’s lying. Why are you arresting me?”

The police put the cuffs on Henry and walk him out the room.

Alice stands there looking down at the floor and her drunk boyfriend
shakes his head.

They start to walk out the room when her boyfriend says,

“Hey Alice, aren’t you forgetting something… your panties, over there on the arm of the couch.”

Charles Micheaux
Atlanta*

The Crucible: The Actor’s Life

“Nor do not saw the air too much with your hand, but use all gently, for in the torrent, tempest,
and (as I may say) whirlwind of your passion, you must acquire a temperance that may give it smoothness.”
–Hamlet Act 3. Scene 2

Hamlet (William Shakespeare) had it right, never openly display your pain and turmoil to the public.
Be stoic and acquire a temperance that may give your exterior a smoothness.
So, here I am an actor caught up in the torrent, tempest and whirlwind of passion.
The actor’s life is full of lies, truth, insanity, insecurities, beauty, competition and often
excruciating pain. Think of all the actors who have committed suicide.
Out of respect to their families I will not list them; these are stars beloved and had everything to live for yet there was a hidden pain inside so great they took their own lives.
I, Charles Micheaux had my own experience when I to considered taking my own life.

I jump ahead of myself, let me pause here to say, this essay is not about suicide, but rather about the crucible of being a professional actor. I always wanted to be an actor since I was four-years old.
My father had a movie camera and we even had a movie screen in our living room of our home.
My father loved making movies about me and I enjoyed enormously being the family film star.
I went to the high school of performing arts and there I went to a big time Acting conservatory which I shall keep nameless. During summer break from the conservatory I decided I would go to Hollywood for summer vacation. I got there and the city loved me at first, and soon I found myself working.
Yes, I was a working actor after just 28 days in Hollywood. There was a party every single night in Hollywood and soon I met and became friends with an actor, who would soon rise to movie star.
This cat was cool, sexy to the eyes of all women who saw him and yes, he was a very smooth operator.
I remember he and I went grocery shopping and the girl at the register flipped with excitement as
my movie star friend delivered his killer smile. Her hands were trembling as she handed him back the receipt.

My movie star friend was like a big brother to me; and he is a very beloved man in Hollywood and he has the power to open doors for young actors. Yet he never wanted to talk about the business with me and he let me know any success I got would be from my sweat and toil and not his.

One day my movie star friend called me and asked me to ride out to see a good friend of his.
So we ride out to Beverly Hill and we drive up to this beautiful estate and are soon greeted
by a very large man dressed in silk pajamas and a very colorful silk robe.
This man was very gay and flamboyant. He hugs my friend and they kiss each other.

“Aw shit!”

My friend pulls me inside and our host pulls me into his fat belly and he hugs me like I am a little boy.
This man’s home was amazingly beautiful, I took in the magnificent art work that graced the walls.
We arrive in the living room and as I sat down on the lush couch I was swallowed by comfort that I had never experienced to my backside. My friend and this man quickly turned into two gossiping bitches.
There was the constant of snapping of fingers and great laughter followed by, “GIRRRRL!”

The man was staring at me and licking his lips.

My movie star friend quickly came to my defense.

“Oh, girrrl, stop it! Charles, he’s not in the life; he’s just an innocent boy still trying to navigate his way through Hollywood.”

The big queen looked me up and down and his eyes rested at my crouch.
The queen took a long sip of wine never taking his eyes off where my cock was hidden under my pants.
He spoke teasingly:

“I see…. hmmmmmm… so, Charlie, excuse me darling, May I, May I call you Charlie, you are so dark and handsome, like my favorite Chocolate bar. Tell me suga, you live living in Hollywood. I can see you gonna be a really big star; just don’t be shady and everything will take care of itself.”

Soon we were heading out the door again, as we stood out under a glorious California sun I took in a deep breathe. My first lesson on “The Life” in Hollywood.
Shortly after this experience my eyes were open and this whole gay-life thing was ubigquitous.
I kept running into the big powerful gay wall and I realized my progress as a movie actor was going to be determined not by my talent as an actor, but who were my gay friends.
I soon left Hollywood and I decided to concentrate on the stages of New York and Europe.
After I came back from Europe I decided I wanted to settle down, get married and have a family.
I met a beautiful black woman, she was a school teacher; not glamorous at all.
She was beautiful and her beauty was way undervalued because she did not wear make up, she was all natural, but incredibly beautiful. When she did wear make up and got dressed she was a stunning creature.
We got married and were happy for about five years.

I landed a role in the August Wilson play FENCES and I was very happy the only down side was the play was
in Vero Beach, Florida. I signed the contract to do the play and soon I was on a plane.
Five weeks into my stay I get a phone calls from New York regarding my wife and another man.
My contract called for me to stay in Vero Beach for another two months.
When the show finally ended I flew back to New York and my wife picked me up from the airport.
I confronted my wife and she knew not to lie to me.
She confessed to the affair and my world was broke beyond repair.
I became very depressed and I called my manager and my agent and I told them not to consider me for any
show, outside of New York City.

My depression became so bad that one day I decided I would take my own life.
I tried and failed.
I sought help from a psychiatrist and did counseling.
A good friend recommended I start running; you know like in themovie Forrest Gump?
I started running 14 miles everyday and I did 600 push-ups too.
I devoted myself to having a body like a Greek god.
I wore tight jeans and fitted t-shirts and I completely stopped having sex with my wife.
I entered the New York City Marathon (26 mile race) I did it, from there I traveled to

Raleigh, North Carolina and I ran in the Umstead 100 Mile Endurance Run.
Each mile I ran I was purging myself of my wife, I wanted her out of my being.
Strangely, I was not looking to get into a sexual relationship with another woman,
I felt so betrayed, I took my wedding band and threw it in the pond at Central Park in New York.

One day my wife came to me and she expressed a desire to go out to Las vegas.
I told her to go.
She was taken aback, for she asked me, “Don’t you want to go with me? Aren’t you afraid some man will try and hit on me?”

I chuckled.
“You did that already remember. You go, fuck whom ever you like, I don’t give a fuck what you do anymore.” Then I put on my running shorts and ran 22 miles.

She did take the trip out to Las Vegas, and on her return I handed her divorce papers.
What my wife did to me was earth shattering, even to this very day the pain I feel
from her betrayal will never subside.

Charles Micheaux
Atlanta*

The Gothic Chamber

“I spy the Gothic knocker, I lift the ring through the gargoyles nose.”
–BABYLON
(irunbabylon@twitter.com)

Sensual Fiction By Charles Micheaux

Teatro dell Opera di Roma
Rome Italy
Present day

I met her at the intermission during Puccini’s masterpiece opera, La Boheme.
She had come to the opera alone and so had I. She had an aura about her that took hold of me and when
I looked into her eyes I felt a sense of energy I never felt before. She was a stunningly beautiful woman
and she looked to be at least ten years older than me; I just turned 29 this past June. I guessed her age to be about 40, maybe 43 tops. Yes, by all measure she was one of the most beautiful women I’ve ever laid
eyes on. I was compelled to make contact with her and so I approached her carefully and gracefully during the intermission. I introduced myself, and she gracefully engaged me during the full intermission time.
We exchanged contact information and went back to our respective seats; I watched her during the whole opera and I knew she knew I was watching her.
Some days later I called her and asked if I could meet her again.
She laughed.

“Don’t you think you should find out if I’m married?
Do you always pursue women older and who are married?”
She laughed again.
I cleared my throat stalling for time and trying to think of something to say in reply.
I shot back at her after a few moments of silence:

“You have a husband?”

There was a long pause.
I spoke again:

“Hello, are you still there?”

She came back.
“Yes, I’m still here… I was married… my husband died six months ago.

There was another long pause…
I felt awkward after learning she had recently lost her husband and my ambition at the off was purely
seduction and romance. My mind was racing on what to say next, but I drew a blank.
Then she, Appolonia, she asked me where I was from.
I told her I was born in Harlem, New York and I had originally come to Rome to shoot a movie.
I told her I was a movie actor and once the film was over I decided to stay in Rome and it is now where
I call home. I asked her what business she was in and she told me she was an Architect.
She also revealed she loved Gothic works of any kind.
Then she asked me If I was free to come have lunch with her this afternoon.
I accepted her invitation and she sent a car for me and to my great surprise her driver was a black man,
I think he was from North Africa, perhaps Egypt. I stepped out of the black Mercedes onto a sprawling
property and the first thing that caught my eye was the magnificent Gargoyles statues in front of her property.

She came out to meet me her dazzling navy blue eyes were hidden behind Kate Spade shades.
She put her arm around my neck and quipped:
“I hope you like Shrimp, for lunch we will have, Capellini Elena–sauteed shrimp and spinach tossed with angel hair pasta in a light cream sauce.”

After lunch we went into the garden where their were white marble statues of lovers male and female.
We sipped white wine in the cool shade of the garden and she slowly removed her sunglasses and her blue eyes sparkled as she began to speak to me again.

“Let me ask you, if you were stranded on an Island and you could have only one book to read, which book would you want?”
I thought a long while:

Hmmmmmmmmmmm… let’s see now, hmmmmmmmm… I guess, I guess, it depends if I were stuck on the Island with you. If I were stranded on the Island with you, I would want to have Ovid’s, THE ART of LOVE for sure.”
She laughed.

“You are witty, and I can see you are a romantic, you’re a Gemini, right?”
I smiled.

She took a sip of wine never taking her eyes away from mine.
“You know, Dorian Gray the movie actor, I feel as though we were destined to meet.
In fact, when you called me on the phone, I knew it was you.
It’s strange, no?”

I set my glass down.
“Yes it is strange… when I called on you I was fearful, but at the same time I felt compelled to make the call and I’m glad I did.”

“Dorian, my darling do you believe in destiny?
Better still, tell me of your ambition?
What is it that drives you?
What would you like to do with the rest of your life?”

“You really are a fascinating woman.
To be honest, I just want to be happy and live in grace with dignity and a certain nobility.”

“You are a very, very handsome black man, but I’m sure you have heard this your whole life.
You move with a certain grace and ease, do they teach you that in acting school and such?
Let me ask you, do you have plans for tonight?
It’s so strange in the last six months since my husband;s death I have just wanted to be alone,
but when you came over to speak with me it was like magic, you are so beautiful a man.

I almost felt I was dreaming as you spoke to me, I guess what I’m trying to say is,
I have not enjoyed the company of a man in a while and never have I been interested in a black man until
I met you at Teatro dell Opera.”

I asked sheepishly:

“You have any children?”
She seemed taken aback by the question.

“But why would you ask me such a thing? Do I have any children?
Do you have any children?” She asked me.

I told her no, she smiled and said, “Neither do I. So, are you going to go with me tonight?
Please stay, we will have so much fun.”

I walked up close to her and I removed the wine glass from her hand and I pulled her close to me our lips touched and I pushed my tongue into her mouth. Somehow we knew each others pain, for I was lonely too and it had been awhile since I was so aroused and felt so vulnerable too.
After a long French kiss I pulled away looking down into her glorious blue eyes.

“I would love to be with you tonight but I need to go back to my apartment to change.”

Apolloini asked if she could go with me back to my apartment and when we arrived
and the door was closed behind us I knew we would never make it to the social event.
I knew that the insatiable desire brewing inside me would do everything to seduce her, make
passionate love to her under a moon lit sky.
I opened a fresh bottle of wine and handed her a glass.
She smiled wide then asked me why I approached her in the first place, out of all the women
why her.

“Well, first off, you are a stunningly beautiful woman and you were wearing a very interesting piece
of Gothic jewelry that caught my eye. I love Gothic jewelry. You were wearing this beautiful Gothic necklace and a matching Gothic ring. There was something very different about you, and you were alone.
I was curious. And so, that’s why I came to you. You compelled me, your vibe is love.
I felt you.”

We began to French kiss again and then I picked her up in my arms and carried her into my bedroom and as
I shut the door with my foot. Apollonia looked at the gargoyle statue and as she removed her panties
she smiled as she stuck her finger through the gargoyles nose.

Charles Micheaux
Atlanta*

******************************
For the best in Gothic Jewelry online visit:
Gothic Nights Jewelry.Com
or gothicjewelry1@twitter.com

Suicide the greater Blasphemy

“There is but one truly philosophical problem and that is suicide.”
–Albert Camus

Recently we were shocked again to learn that suicide the act which is always out of season has claimed yet two more victims of the national spotlight. The beloved Kate Spade and the well respected world traveling chef, Anthony Bourdain.
The question always asked, but why?
Does mental illness give birth to the idea and very act of suicide?
In the case of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain we are talking about to very successful people who have
fame, wealth and access to all the fine luxury of life on earth.
So what drives one to hang one’s self?
Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain were both found hung to death; to me, this is a very painful and horrible way to take one’s own life. Even more perplexing to me is these are people who are high up on the food chain. They do not suffer from poverty, crime, homelessness and all the other vile ills of an unjust society. These people are millionaires who can pick up a phone and have Lobster flown in from Maine for supper tonight.
I am of the belief that suicide is blasphemy, but the greater blasphemy is when you have untold vast resources at the ready to combat this issue of mental illness.
Here in America on average there are 124 suicides everyday.
When do we as a society sound the alarm?
Must we wait until the number of suicides reaches 554 per day?
I just read a report which said last year 44,000 Americans committed suicide last year.

Ernest Hemingway, the great American novelist and winner of the 1954 Noble Prize in Literature,
he too struggled with depression and at the very top of the literary world, one morning (1961) he placed a double barreled shot gun under his chin, stuck his toe through the trigger and blew off his head.

On August 5th, 1962 actress, Marilyn Monroe was found dead in her home, her death caused by
a self-administered overdose of sedative drugs. The Los Angeles Police said in their report her death
was a probable suicide.
Suicide is always out of season but even more significant is, it is the greater blasphemy.

Charles Micheaux
Atlanta*
*************************
NATIONAL SUICIDE PREVENTION LIFELINE
1-800-273-8255

My Father’s Suicide?

“There was the door I found no key, there was the veil through which I might not see.”
–Omar Khayyam

FICTION By Charles Micheaux
****************************

Suicide is always out of season and often executed for a very poor reason, my father’s suicide may in fact be the exception to the rule. Three weeks ago my mom died from complications due to breast cancer.
My dad took her death very hard and to be honest it crushed him emotionally, spiritually and psychologically. I feared once we put mom in the ground dad would sink even lower in depression.
Never in my wildest imagination would I think my father would end his life by suicide.

It was early September, September the 11th to be exact because my 8th grade class was assigned to write
an essay on the 911 attacks for a history lesson. My phone rang, it was Mrs. Sally Rushmore who lived next door to father; she was calling me to tell me father had been shot and killed by the police,
the Birmingham police.
I, I could not speak, I lost my voice.
My mind was numb and I, I could not process what was being said to me.
I dropped the phone to the floor and I just collapsed on the floor.
When I awoke I found myself in Grady Hospital in Atlanta.
After I was released from Grady Hospital I flew immediately to Birmingham to get the full
story of what happened to my father. Why did the Birmingham police kill him?
When the plane landed I didn’t even check into my hotel room, instead I went straight to the
police station and when I got there I demanded to see the Chief of police.
I was told to have a seat and so I waited exactly 58 minutes and then a female police officer escorted
me in to see the Chief.

He was a portly black man with a very large head and neck, he extended his arm to shake my hand.

“Good afternoon Miss Parks, I’m Chief Willie Jackson and I’m terribly sorry what happened to
your father. Now, how can I be of any help to you today?”

I removed my glasses and laid them down on the Chief’s desk.

“Chief Jackson, I’ve come all the way from Atlanta, Georgia to find out why,
why my father was shot eight times by two of your officers?
What had my father done so bad that he should be shot down so viciously?”

The Chief wiggled in his chair, then shook his head and cleared his throat.

“So, you have no idea what actually happened then?”
Said the Chief.

I folded my arms to display my annoyance to the question.

“No Chief. I do not. That is why I am HERE!
Please. You tell me, why, why, why they killed daddy.
My God! What could he have done so awful they should take his life?”

The Chief poured two cups of Coffee and handed one to me.

“Your father pointed a loaded .357 magnum pistol at my officers.
Your father called 911 and reported a man with a gun sitting on his porch
Now when my officers arrived on the scene it was your father holding the gun sitting on the porch.
The officers told your father to lay the gun down on the ground.
Your father did not obey there order.
I’m sorry… your father then raised his gun and pointed it at my men and they had no choice but to discharge their weapons.
Yes he was shot eight times and he died on the scene.
Beyond that I just do not have any answers for you.
I’m sorry for your loss.”

I sat there for a minute unable to move.
My mind was racing and my father’s suicide was now an enigma.

I made arrangements with the local funeral home to have my father cremated, I just could not bare looking at him in a casket dead because two men shot him. No I did not want to remember my father that way.
A month later I was contacted by my father’s insurance company and I learned my father had an insurance policy for $500,000 dollars left to me.
I was in total shock!
Daddy he committed suicide…right?

Now, if you kill your self the insurance company is not going to pay off on that policy.
I was really confused there for a minute.
However, the reality is my father died at the hands of the police and therefore his death was
not ruled a suicide.

I later found a letter from my father:

“Dear Faye:
I can’t bear to live another day without Alice, I can’t bear being without your mother one more day.
Faye, I love you very much; I have an insurance policy for $500,000 which I’m leaving to you.
Understand–if I kill myself, my insurance company won’t pay you one thin dime.
Don’t be mad with the police.
Be upset with me.
I’m sorry, I just don’t want to live any more without Alice.
I have tried to be a good father, the best I know how.
Love You,
Daddy.”

I took my fathers ashes and buried them at my mother’s grave.
That gave me peace.

Charles Micheaux
Atlanta*

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Suicide is the act of intentionally causing one’s own death.
Each year 44,000 Americans die by suicide.
On average in America there are 124 suicides each day.
American men die by suicide four times more often than American women.

NATIONAL SUICIDE PREVENTION LIFELINE
1-800-273-8255