The Scissors Lady and the Green Man.
Something is cracking and popping on the stove in that big brown pot. It smells good like chicken and I try to see if the chicken is brown not black but Dani yanks my arm and I scream at her and cry because she's hurting my arm. Dani yells at me and says the stove is hot and the grease could pop on my head and face and burn me and make me look like a freak. I tell her that the grease won't pop on my head and face and make me look like a freak and I go back to the stove and try to show her but Dani yanks my arm again and I scream and cry some more and tell her the grease won't pop on my head and face because it never does when Mama cooks in that big brown pot on Saturdays so it won't now. Dani yells at me again and says the grease will pop on my head and face and make me look like a freak and it will burn like fire and hurt real bad because she or Mama won't be around to control the fire on the stove and the cracking and the popping. Then Mama comes in and yanks Dani's arm for yanking my arm and making me cry but Dani doesn't scream or cry. Mama has no shoes on but she has on a black dress and a funny-looking little black hat on her head. Dani still doesn't say anything even when Mama tells her she was supposed to make sure the chicken didn't turn black and I didn't go in the kitchen. Mama then tells Dani to go get dressed but she was already dressed to go to school. Mama then tells me to stop crying but I can't hear what she's saying so I stop crying and she says it again and I still can't hear her because she won't talk louder. Then she says the Scissors Lady is here to get me.
I go to get my bookbag for school and I tell Mama she needs to make my lunch but Mama says I don't need my bookbag and the Scissors Lady will make me lunch. I tell Mama my homework is in my bookbag and I want to show my teacher I know how to spell my whole name even my middle name Raashon and I know my address and telephone number without nobody telling me. But Mama says I'm not going to school today and so I ask her if Dani is going to school because she missed her bus already and Mama says no. I ask Mama why she's cooking chicken so early in the morning because I want two pancakes, two round sausages, and one scrumbled egg because my stomach is grumbling but I don't want chicken because it's too early for chicken and it's not Saturday but Tuesday. Mama says the Scissors Lady will give me something to eat and I ask her if the Scissors Lady will fix me two pancakes, two round sausages, and one scrumbled egg and Mama says she doesn't know go ask her. So I go to put on my shoes to go with the Scissors Lady and I tell Mama to put on her shoes too so her feet won't get dirty and she smiles.
The Scissors Lady smiles and gives me a kiss on my cheek and she leaves nasty spit on my face and I wipe it off with my hand and wipe my hand on my pants and she laughs and Mama smiles. Mama tells me to be a good boy because I am a big boy now and all big boys listen to what adults tell them to do. I tell Mama I will be a big boy and I will listen to what the Scissors Lady tells me to do even if she tells me to eat spinach which doesn't make me strong like Popeye but tastes real bad. Mama kisses me and it looks like she is crying and then tears fall down on my face but she isn't making any sound and I ask Mama if she is hurt and she says no. Then the Scissors Lady pulls me out into the hallway and the chicken smell is out there already but it smells like someone peed out here again. The stairs squeak as we go up and I walk slow because I like that sound and I feel the scratches under my hand on the rail and I stop and the squeaking stops and I feel for the big scratch I made last week with that old knife I f ound outside in the alley but the Scissors Lady tells me to come on so I come on and I think I'll make another big scratch later on maybe.
The Scissors Lady fixes me two pancakes and two round sausages and one scrumbled egg and a piece of toast with jelly and milk and orange juice and a doughnut but I tell her I don't like milk but she tells me all big boys like milk and aren't I a big boy now? I say yeah I'm a big boy now because now I go to school and I can write my whole name even my middle name Raashon and I know my address and phone number without nobody telling me and I can cut along the dotted lines sometimes but not all the times. The Scissors Lady tells me all big boys drink milk to be even bigger and stronger boys but I tell her milk doesn't make me strong like spinach doesn't make me strong. I ask the Scissors Lady if I can put sugar in my milk to make it taste good and she says yes but only this one time and don't you dare tell your mother either and I say I won't. She puts a spoon of sugar in my milk and I drink it and it tastes good and I eat my two pancakes and two round sausages and my scrumbled egg and my toast and my doughnut but I don't drink my orange juice because I am full and sleepy now. Mama woke me up early this morning even before Dani got up to go to school but she didn't go to school. The Scissors Lady says I can sleep on the small blue couch so I can watch tv and that's why I like her. I ask the Scissors Lady why Dani didn't go to school today and she tells me to ask Mama. Then I ask her if she is going to take me to school later and she says no. I ask her why not and she says ask Mama. I ask the Scissors Lady if she's going to take me to school tomorrow and she says yes. I ask her if Dani is going to school tomorrow and she tells me to watch cartoons and go to sleep.
When I wake up the yellow plastic of the blue couch sticks to my arms and sticks to my face and it's hard to roll over. I sit up and cartoons aren't on anymore but now the Scissors Lady is watching her soaps on the other side of the room on the big blue couch with yellow plastic on it and her scissors are cutting red cloth this time not blue cloth like yesterday afternoon and she puts the cloth in the sewing machine and steps on the pedal. The sewing machine makes a fast duh duh duh duh duh sound and her scissors cut the cloth again. Her scissors are big and rusty and one black plastic handle is broken but it still cuts and she says she won't buy new scissors because she likes these scissors and new scissors won't cut like these scissors will. I don't want to watch the Scissors Lady's soaps but I can't go outside and play because it's cold so I sit and watch the soaps anyway but I don't like them.
So I get up and go to the window and I see the Green Man.
The Green Man is looking in the big garbage can in the alley and I bet he's going to climb in and close the top and get warm because it's real cold, real real cold and I can see smoke come out his mouth and he has his hands in his pockets. He shouldn't climb in that big garbage can because it's dirty and nasty and smelly like Mama says but his green coat is already dirty so he probably was in there before so he can go in there again and he'll be okay. The Green Man gets a pop can from the garbage but it's crushed and all the pop looks like it spilled out but he puts it in his plastic bag anyway and goes back in the big garbage can again. The Green Man stunk that day when he asked me and Dani to come here and he was probably in the big garbage can that day too. Dani told me to ignore him and to keep walking and not look at him but I looked at him anyway and I laughed when he pulled down his pants and showed us his butt and then he said to Dani come over here and get some of this girl and turned around and gra bbed his penis and Dani yanked my arm but I didn't cry and she said run and we ran home and she told Mama and Daddy and Daddy said he was going to kill his ass. But Daddy couldn't find the Green Man and he couldn't find him the next day either but Daddy told me if I see the Green Man again just run home real fast and tell him so he can kill his ass. I didn't see the Green Man after that until now and I want to tell Daddy he's here and he's downstairs in the alley in the big garbage can but Mama told me yesterday Daddy is gone away for awhile and I won't see him till later but I don't know when later is and Mama won't tell me when later is and said don't ever ask me that again either. I asked Dani if she knew when Daddy was coming back and where he was at but Dani told me to ask Mama and I told her Mama said don't ever ask me that again either. I want Dani to tell me but she said I don't know and pushed me out of her room and I fell and cried and she slammed the door. I couldn't tell Mama Dani pushed me down b ecause she was at work so I went in my room and colored.
The Scissors Lady is still watching soaps and cutting a blue cloth this time and I ask her when my Daddy is coming back and where he is because the Green Man is in the alley in the big garbage can putting pop cans in his bag and Daddy can kill his ass for showing me his butt and making Dani scared and run home and the sewing machine does that fast duh duh duh duh duh sound. The Scissors Lady says be quiet I'm watching my soaps. But I ask her again because I don't want the Green Man to leave before I can tell my Daddy he's downstairs and she says Daddy isn't coming back and I say why and she says because he's dead. He's not dead I tell the Scissors Lady because my Mama says he's gone away and he'll be back later and when he comes back he's going to kill the Green Man because I saw him in the alley like Dani and I did this summer and Daddy told me to make sure I tell him the next time I see him. But the Scissors Lady says Daddy is dead but I say he can't be dead because I found the Green Man for him. So I go b ack to the window and look at the Green Man and wait for Daddy to come home and kill his ass.
Malon Edwards is a recent graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and has served as an Americorps VISTA volunteer in Missoula, Montana.
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|Publication:||African American Review|
|Article Type:||Short Story|
|Date:||Dec 22, 1999|
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