Appropriation (30 Stories — 30)

“I’m a token, is what I am. I’m the only person of color she knows, and I’m tired of validating her belief that she isn’t racist.” She readjusted her seat, took a sip of her latte them looked up, surprised by the silence that followed her comment. “What?”

Delia shrugged. “Do you actually think of yourself that way? As a person of color?”

Morgan frowned. “What’s that supposed to mean?”

Delia shrugged again. “I’ve never heard you say that before.”

“Is it a problem? I mean, you know about my great grandmother.”

Delia nodded. Yes, who in the known world hadn’t heard the story? After skimming through One Drop, Morgan had decided to get her own DNA tested.

“It’ll probably come to nothing,” she’d said at the time. “We’re pretty sure we know all the lines going back practically to the dawn of time or something. But maybe, you know? Maybe there’s a secret no one’s told.”

She had sent off her sample and talked about it non-stop: “I could find out I’m a Romanov, she said at one point. “Some direct link to the lost Czarina. That would rock.”

Then she’d gotten the results and found, as she said, “not Anastasia but Aunt Jemima.” The results had shown that she was 4.6% African. Even closer than Broyard to the “one drop” idea that inspired the book title.

It ran her aground briefly, that 4.6%, so hard for her to imagine where it had come from, or how. But not for long, only until she remembered the stories about her great grandmother, Minnie.  Minnie’s branch of the family tree as full as everyone else’s, but there was a moment of question, a scandal averted. She’d been a singer for a dance band before marrying into Morgan’s illustrious line, and the story was that she’d given up her career when she married, but not her band-leader lover, that the affair had continued until her first pregnancy … and the child of that pregnancy — Morgan’s grandfather — was the band leader’s baby.

And, if the melodrama of the affair, of passing her lover’s baby off as her husband’s wasn’t enough, there was also the mystery of the band leader himself: light-skinned as any white man, but rumored to be … something else.

“It is not my job to teach her why this is wrong,” Delia though, sipping her coffee in silence. “I am too tired to have to take on this mess.”  She was Morgan’s only black friend and was beyond disgusted by the whole situation. Never mind that the math was surely off, if Morgan was going to start thinking of herself as a woman of color, if she was going to casually say that — out loud — to people, it would have to spell the end of their shaky friendship.  She was tired.  But if she didn’t try to steer Morgan to a better course, who else was going to do it?  She took a deep breath.


At last! I know I’m not the only one that never thought we’d get here. So glad to prove us all wrong!  Seriously, though, I had to get through with these stories because NaNoWriMo starts on Thursday and I couldn’t bear the thought of having them hanging over my head while I try to crazy-write my way through the month of November! It’s been an interesting experiment, trying to write so many stories so quickly.  Ok, clearly I didn’t come anywhere near 30 days, but I did manage 22 stories in September.  My favorites from the set?  Hmm …

Day 3

In dreams — 8

Harvest — 9

April, Come She Will — 11

Ballad of the Half-Masochist — 18

Now a Son — 24

Variation on a Theme — 27

Heart and Soul — 29


I hope everyone who’s had to deal, even in a small way, with Hurricane Sandy is fine tonight.  New York City took quite a beating.  I’ll post some of my post-storm pictures tomorrow.   For now, you can visit Ruth and Stacey’s and see what the other slicers are up to.

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