20/20 - The Book




Peabody squinted, his hand shielding his eyes from the bright sun beating down on them.  He looked up in the direction of the voice he heard.  “Pudge, is that you?  What are you doing up there, hanging around with these spear-chuckers?   Didn’t I tell you to stay away from them and this nigger-lover?”  He nodded in my direction.  

The words hit everyone like a ton of bricks.  

They were met by stunned silence.

“You need to get your fat ass off that thing you are standing on and get home.  Maybe get some religion while you are at it.”

CAPTAIN’S LOG #18(h) (Supplemental)[Circa June, 2020]

Got a call from the producers wanting me to come back from the future to explain why Peabody used such foul language when he confronted us while me and the other boys (plus a few girls) from the other side of the Great Divide (Biscayne Boulevard) were re-building in the old neighborhood just after The Big One hit us real good.  

Seems somebody complained about the racial tone in some of the choice words old Peabody used.  

Can’t say that I think much of the complaint.  The person that wrote it just flat did not understand what was really going on that day when Peabody got all hot and bothered (literally and figuratively) when he saw Larry and the Haitian boys up on the roof.  He was not using his words (that included profanity and racial slurs) to hurt Cousteau’s feelings, or the other Haitian kids from the “other side.”  He was saying these things because they had come over FROM the other side and were commingling with us white folk on OUR side.  

I didn’t know it at the time but these sorts of segregationist ideas were holding all of us back not just here but in places like the island of Hispaniola where they also had a road running right through the middle that divides the folks living there (almost all of them people of color) between the haves and the have-nots.  

You see, back in the 20s, things were not like they are nowadays in the future.  Back then in my neighborhood we were just starting to learn that we needed to HELP EACH OTHER regardless of which side of the tracks you live in. Today we don’t have time for nonsense such as what Peabody was saying.  

It is all hands on deck when a hurricane is heading your way and you don’t have time for tomfoolery wondering why some of those hands are darker than others

As for some of the words Peabody was using I really didn’t know what most of them meant and I can tell you for a fact the boys from across the way didn’t either.  But I do remember Harrison telling me one day about this book called Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.  He said there was a big dust-up when that book first came out in 1885 because of the coarse language used by the author (Samuel Clemons, a/k/a Mark Twain) and the fact the white boy in that book was portrayed as being so ignorant.   Then later, people got upset not so much because of the way people talked back then (during the times we still allowed slavery) but the way the runaway slave Jim was portrayed - and the fact that an old white guy had the nerve to try and tell his story.

It is not like here in the future nobody notices that we all look and act different.  

We just don’t have the time nor the inclination to worry about it too much.


The Great Divide