Dark Days in Port-au-Prince (Part 6, Roxane Gay)
To celebrate the release of Haiti Noir 2: The Classics, edited by Edwidge Danticat, we asked contributors from both of our Haiti Noir volumes to participate in an exquisite corpse style story—a serial story in which each participant builds off of what the previous participants have written—to create an original piece of fiction with a decidedly dark tone. This week, Roxane Gay—who penned part 1 of this story—returns with the piece’s final section.
She was nearly enjoying herself now, watching this little domestic drama unfold, but she needed to get down to business. She needed Locito, and Gilbert was going to bring the coward to her. Sirop Miel walked over to Elsa, in the henchman’s clutches. Elsa glared, her mouth set in a hard line. She did not lower her chin and Sirop Miel admired that. There were two kinds of women, she always thought—the ones who looked up and the ones who looked down. Sirop Miel extended a long finger and began tracing Elsa’s face with a single, painted fingernail. Elsa spat in Sirop Miel’s face and the woman’s eyes narrowed.
“You will regret that,” she said, delicately wiping the thin stream of saliva from her cheek with a linen handkerchief. She sat on a nearby chair and crossed her legs. She lit a cigarette. Gilbert instantly worried about the baby and then wondered why he was worried when it probably wasn’t his baby. He looked in Elsa’s eyes, tried to find some truth there. She stared at him, her expression inscrutable, her chin still high, and with that, his decision was made.
When he was a boy, Gilbert remembered reading the Bible—Cain and Abel, brothers who did not know how to be brothers. He thought of Locito, the son who lived in the open, the son who had their father’s heart. He thought of how their father, a tall, handsome men with a too-sweet tongue, who only came to visit Gilbert and his mother late at night and never saw the rise of a new day from their small home.
He reached into his pocket for his cell phone and quickly dialed the eight numbers. “I’m with my girl. What do you want?” Locito asked.
“You need to come over, right away. I came into a big money, brother, and tonight, we are going to celebrate. We are going to make plans.”
“Yeah?” Locito grunted.
Gilbert nodded even though his brother couldn’t see him. “Yeah,” he said softly, surprised that he felt nothing, not regret, not sadness.
“I’m there in fifteen,” Locito said.
After he ended the call, Gilbert stared at his phone in the palm of his hand. When he looked at Sirop Miel, he shrugged. “It is done.”
She smiled, coldly once more, and he understood she was the kind of woman who never spared warmth. “I underestimated you,” she said. “You will not know harm from me, though I cannot say the same for Locito. He should know better than to try and sting a bee.” She held her gun in both hands, pointed the barrel at the front door.
“You are nothing like your brother,” Elsa said sharply, still struggling in the henchman’s arms. She began screaming and Sirop Miel nodded sharply to the side. The henchman covered Elsa’s mouth with his fleshy hand, and soon, the only sound in the room was Elsa’s muffled anger.
Gilbert still felt nothing. Or he did feel something. He felt closer to free. He waited. Fifteen minutes was not a long time, not when it was only that stretch of time between being hidden and stepping into the light. There was a knock at the door, and Sirop Miel raised her gun, released the safety.
“Come in,” Gilbert said, loudly.
As the door opened, Sirop Miel pulled the trigger over and over. She didn’t stop.
ROXANE GAY’s writing has appeared in Best American Short Stories 2012, Oxford American, American Short Fiction, Virginia Quarterly Review, the New York Times Book Review, and more. Her novel An Untamed State, which grew out of the story that appears in Haiti Noir 2: The Classics, will be published by Grove/Atlantic in 2014. That same year, her essay collection, Bad Feminist, will be published by Harper Perennial.
Posted: Mar 7, 2014
Category: Akashic Insider | Tags: Noir Series, Haiti Noir, M.J. Fievre, Haiti Noir 2: The Classics, Noir, fiction, Exquisite Corpse, Serial story, Roxane Gay, Ibi Zoboi, Ibi Annu Zoboi, Dark Days in Port-au-Prince, Katia D. Ulysse, Josaphat-Robert Large
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