Books of Short Stories-Colored
Smart, handsome, rich and young Gabriel thinks that the earth was made just for him. Physical exertions are limited to emptying the waste paper basket and shooting a basketball. An elite private school has educated him in the finer things of life and he expects to go right to the top in everything that he does. He dreams of the N.B.A. or if worse comes to worse he will get a M.B.A. and work for his wealthy Grandfather and settle for being merely rich instead of filthy rich and famous. For no good reason that he can see his mother announces that she has obtained a degree in education and has secured a job teaching in a rural high school on the edge of the earth. He thinks he has died and gone to hell but he learns that there are several levels of hell below what he thought was the lowest of the low. His mother gets him a job working on a ranch where he is reduced to sitting in the weeds and dirt to eat his lunch, after all, how low can a person sink? He shouldn't have asked.
Uprooted and forcefully planted in alien soil the poor plant withers under the heat of the day. Nutrients of the soil are there but the roots struggle to assimilate them. The plant withers and dies back but a prudent gardener prunes severely so the weak and struggling roots are not overwhelmed by the needs of the old growth. Finally the plant begins to flourish, but the harsh cold of the winter freezes the leaves and they go dormant. But in the spring the plant springs up healthier and more vigorous than ever.
This is not a story about horticulture but a story about a boy, a rich boy, a handsome boy, a smart boy, a highly educated boy, in some ways. He is not moved to a foreign country but only to a foreign, alien side of his own country. He is the only black kid in the county! Life isn't fair, life is no longer easy, life is hell! Transplanted would have been a good title to this story also. Playing the race card doesn't work! In this deck it is a three, nothing, it doesn't capture a queen (girl friend), it doesn't get you a ten, on a scale of one to ten it is a ….. its not on the scale. It gets you nothing, in fact it gets persecution and exclusion which is less than nothing. He starts a diary as evidence of child abuse for his mother gets him a job on the ranch... ranch work is child abuse. He is going to sue somebody! This story is his diary.
The first day he is introduced to the "hay bale" a eighty pound bundle of cow fodder tightly packed and held together with plastic baler twine. A little slip of a girl can throw one on the truck, he can't. A man smaller than himself can throw one above his head; he can't get it up to his knees. A short time later he is introduced to the fine art of pitching manure, and to blisters, on the hands, that is. Of course the day comes that he is required to pick up dead animals, fly-blown, putrid, green, maggoty, puke inspiring carcasses.
On top of all this he discovers that his employers are Mormons who think of nothing else but church and work! Church and Work, how disgusting! The little slip of a girl grows more beautiful with each passing day but she can't date until she is sixteen... stupid church rule! With an attitude a mile wide and prospects narrow enough to go through the eye of the needle our hero is headed for a drastic, prolonged period of adjustment. Come and join the fun!
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