The Brigade excerpts, chapter XI

by Harold Covington


“Hearing the Screams”


Covington in uniform
“Dad, no need to dance around it. Jan’s decisions were just plain stupid. She was self-destructive, she had no sense of self-esteem and no inner strength. She let the whole adolescent angst thing get on top of her, she just went with the flow, and it killed her. She got involved with drugs, she got involved with a nigger, and she did both at once. If that’s not the classic definition of a self-destructive personality, I don’t know what is.”

Ray looked at her oddly. “The psychobabble I get. You picked that up from your mother and her hundred and one self-help books and fads, not to mention TV. But the racism is a new one on me. Where did that come from?”

“Where racism always comes from, Dad,” said his daughter calmly. “From close and regular contact with blacks.”

“Oh? And how many blacks do you have close and regular contact with at Ashdown Academy?” inquired her father. “Three? Four?”

“One was enough,” she replied coolly. “Look, Dad, can we take all the shocked disclaimers as read? Or to quote one of your own favorite sayings, don’t piss down my back and tell me it’s raining. I know what every white person in this country knows, even if they’re all too terrified to say it out loud. They’re not Africans-Americans, they’re niggers. They aren’t equal to us in any way, they never have been, they can’t tie their own shoelaces without an affirmative action program, and they’re not even very nice. Now, what did you want to say to me?”

Ridgeway looked at her, bemused. “Okay, fine, we’ll leave the deep political and philosophical debate on diversity and multiculturalism for another time. And yes, you’re right, we all know in the privacy of our own thoughts that when all is said and done, they’re nothing but niggers, and they won’t ever be anything else. But the fact is that society doesn’t allow that viewpoint anymore. I always thought of myself as pretty smart, but I’ll admit to you, I have no idea how on earth we have gotten to—well, where we are, but we have. The point is, Annette, and it’s the point I have to make sure you understand completely, is that whether we like it or not, we have to live in the real world. But Annette, I want you to promise me something. Dead serious, I want you to promise me that you won’t do anything stupid along that line.”

His voice was anxious. “I want you to promise me that you’re not going to try to contact this damned gang of racist psychopaths who are running around Portland murdering people and bombing things, and try to get them to kill this Flammus character!”