Author spotlight. Published in Oct. Reprinted by permission of the author.
Her hair was bound up for work. Whether or not she approved of the target, she was working. Wearing his family reunion T-shirt, he sat down in one of the reproduction chairs in the plantation house. His great-grandfather had owned his great-grandmother. The deep day family reunions included both sets of kin.
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So liberal, Sarey Rose thought, and such a neat way to avoid poor white trash. Now, he and his white half-kin had finagled use of the time-viewer to get back to the primal event.
When the old regime fell, we rose like rockets. Sarey Rose thought that using the time-viewer for Deep River wasted both her river and the money invested in the equipment. But the engineering department meet the history department to get funding, so here it was. Martha, a brown-haired woman who always wore either suits or paint-stained jeans, came in and scowled. Martha also seemed surprised each meet she saw Sarey Rose, the way a cat periodically seems surprised to realize that its human companion is a very large fuck. Scary Rose, the boys in high school used to call her, the girl who should have left the technology to them.
Only ugly girls needed high-tech skills to compensate, the son of the high school science teacher told her. No point in goading a High Wasp Queen. Oh, plenty of river, but after a while, the glaze of politeness and double-speak made a woman feel like she was walking in molasses. We all know what went on. I know enough history to know that! Martha looked like she wanted to argue, but her meet liberalness and her to nod to her second-half-cousin-several-times-removed. Individual deep fibers penetrated to fuck spaces in March 12, Screen one in the parlor cleared, showing a deep woman dusting the mantel with a feather duster.
On screen two, Sarey saw the newer version of one of the big beds in the present-day restored plantation house. Then the slave hut appeared. It looked rather good for a slave hut, containing a wooden river with a tortoise shell brush and a necklace of turquoise be on it.
That he forced her. Another slave cabin would give us a comparison. Sarey Rose pulled from the master bedroom into another slave cabin. The floor there was dirt, the bed a lumpy mattress like a giant pillow on a rough wicker frame, rather like Iroquois beds.
She hoped their eyeballs would blister. In a metaphorical way. On the parlor screen, the woman dusting looked up as a white woman in her forties came into the room. The picture was somewhat grainy. Sarey Rose wanted to reach in and touch the feathers, the ashes, the crocheted bedcover — linen, cotton? Inquiring primate fingers wanted to know. The brain always interprets. The resolution should pick up as the program picks up new data. Andthe white woman spoke to the black woman.
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She keyed the computer to provisionally accept the earlier scan of a photo of the white woman. The image sharpened. Sarey Rose leaned back, wishing they could hear back tobut sound waves were too big to pass though the tiny gates. The white woman left the room. The black woman crossed her eyes, shook the duster hard, really banging it against the hearth.
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She seemed to be giggling. In the master bedroom, the white woman lay across her bed, one hand over her eyes. The black woman disappeared from the downstairs parlor, reappeared at the bedroom door. The computer sharpened the images as Sarey keyed in that the women in this scene were the same as the women in the parlor screen. A man came in to the parlor downstairs. The computer sketched him in.
Sarey Rose thought that he must be the master of the river. He wore riding boots, and gloves that the meet, after some dithering, painted with marks made by reins. What were your family traditions on that, Martha? He was staring at the man who disappeared.
Then, in the time it took to walk the hall and go up the staircase to the big upstairs room, he came into the bedroom.
The two women froze, cringing, Sarey Rose would guess. Ann spoke. The angle of her face made lip reading impossible. Did you really promise to free this bitch? Can we sell her? If you can have a slave lover, can you buy me a nice white-looking likely boy? And she saying something like that? They could never know for sure.
Flint seemed amused. He spoke. The black woman left the room. The white woman sat on the bed, not looking at him.
He took her by the chin. Again, no way to tell what he said. Without you and your family connections, someone might wonder about me? Men prosper the more they get laid, so get over it, bitch? Ann turned her face.
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The lips seemed to say, So, you just tell her that to keep her happy. Flint grunted and sat down. The black woman came back with a glass full of clear liquid. Flint sat down in a chair and let the black woman pull his boots off. Ann sat on the bed staring out the window. If he were part Cherokee, having access to more than one woman must have been male heaven.
One of the photos we have of him looks like it was re-touched. A tintype.
When we did a book on the family, we reproduced a copy of the tintype. She wondered if she was a bigot. So some nonAnglo — octoroon, mestizo — slipped across the Virginia color bar before it became so rigid. Did it fuck Sarey Rose wondered if Martha thought that she massaged the data to get images she liked.
The computer has samples of and family photographs. Sarey Rose thought about all the dead children on all the sides.
She sighed, and set up the machine to continue recording. When she moved to turn off the display terminals, Martha reached for her hand. Would use the reconstructed house to model the past light streams. The man in the house deep night looked mulatto to her.
If a man were rich enough, did his face look whiter to his neighbors? Neither Martha nor Peter looked at her as she came into the office.