Deal Me In 2021 – Week 39
I stepped in the river at Jordan.
Out of the darkness of the room, out of nowhere, the line came flying up at him, with the melody and beat. He turned wordlessly toward his sleeping wife. I stepped in the river at Jordan. Where had he heard that song?
A second week in a row with a James Baldwin story. This one is the title story from his collection Going to Meet the Man: Stories.
Gruesome. Horrifying. Just two words that could describe this story. Jesse, a white deputy sheriff in the south comes home to his wife ready for a night of romance but unable to perform. A white man’s impotence gives an unusual power to this story. As Jesse recounts in his mind the beating he gave a black man in his jail, his mind goes back to his childhood recalling his parents taking him to a lynching.
This lynching is described in as terrifying a manner as anything I’ve read.
The relationship between Jesse and his father brings together the idea of what can be passed down from generation to generation. While the white man struggles with what he’s done as an adult, his memories as a child brings back his prowess.
Again – terrifying.
This story is not for the faint of heart.