Episode 30: Part 3 of “Black Myrtle’s Glory“
Alex continued working on the die he was making.
It was the top half of a forging die destined to
stamp out a one inch combination wrench.
The plane’s chips continued creating
missiles of hot blue smoking snakes.
Another voice rose behind Alex.
He knew it wasn’t Pfeffer.
He also knew it wasn’t
any of the workmen
in the forge.
As he turned around a large black man
towered over him. Alex was perplexed
by the man’s look. The black man’s
eyebrows appeared furrowed
in anger; however, he had
a large white-toothed grin
on his face.
“Hi” said Alex (quite quickly).
The man stood in silence for an
uncomfortably long time.
“Hi you-self” he finally
retorted at Alex.
“What’s going on?” asked Alex.
“Nothin’ goin’ on. I already have eveething on”
answered the black man while using his hands
to make it obvious that he was
speaking of his clothing.
“I mean – – – What’s happening?”
said Alex in his
“Nothin’ happinin’ man”
responded the black man.
“Can I help you with something?”
asked Alex less patiently.
“You not a chalky – – – is you?”
queried the black man.
“Hey!” exclaimed Alex before he thought
about how big the man
facing him was.
Alex tacked on a follow-up with a more pleasant tone.
“You probably wouldn’t be too pleased if I asked
if you were an Oreo – – – – would you?”
The black man asked two questions in a row.
“Man. I look like an Oreo?”
“I talk like an Oreo?”
“Well – – – – no” answered Alex somewhat taken aback.
“But why did you call me a chalky?”
“I didn’ call you a chalky. I said you was’n a chalky”
stated the black man as a fact.
Alex stopped talking and tracked his memory back to
the start of the conversation. He realized that
the black man was correct.
“You not a chalky”
is what the
“You are correct. You did not call me a chalky
and I did not call you an Oreo”
said Alex as he attempted
to put himself back
on level ground.
“You look more like a honkie” answered the black man
(with a big wide grin).
All you could see clearly in the smoky atmosphere
was that big grin. It was not threatening
and it was not mean spirited.
It was simply the grin of
a man pleased with