Chapter 2 – Extract 8 from The Paradise Induction!
There was no warning; while we discussed WWF wrestlers, it was as simple as the two of them shouting, “Now!” then using me as a practice dummy for all the wrestling moves they’d seen on Cable Television.
“Where are you heading?” said the tall security guy.
“The Pharisee Islands,” I said.
He nodded. “What’s the reason for your travel?”
“I’m heading to work out there.”
“What’s your occupation?”
“I’m going to be a bartender.”
He looked me in the eye, then back at the other security workers. They gripped their mouths and their cheeks puffed in restraint. Likely because they wanted me to know that I was the butt of their joke.
I kept my face blank and unreadable.
At my local church Sunday School, two black boys—twin brothers—branded me with a name I’d heard many times already; a label that I would become further familiar with in my teenage years and early twenties.
“You’re a coconut,” they exclaimed one day with a laughter that conceived unease. This came with no reasoning. It was said as randomly as a Russian Roulette gunshot to the head.
For plenty of Sundays after, it was my title.
What did it mean?
Why was I a coconut?
All I knew was that it was intended to hurt me, because of the laughter that would ensue afterwards.