The Baptist Junkie excerpt from Ch. 9
Maureen nearly dropped the dish she was washing when she heard her father’s loud voice yell from his bedroom. Kadie tried to calm him, but it was obvious that he was extremely angry.
Maureen dashed up the stairs and stormed in the bedroom.
“What in the world did you do?” she asked. Her face was flushed. Brenda ignored her. “Answer me! I heard Daddy yelling your name. What did you do to make him so mad?”
“Brenda, get down here!” Deacon Wilson shouted.
“Oh, God,” Brenda whined. Tensed, she clenched her fists and walked slowly toward the staircase. Maureen followed behind her, anxious to know what was going on.
“Speed it up, girl, before my shoes scrape the skin right off your ankles,” Maureen said. Brenda continued to ignore her and kept walking slowly, hesitantly anticipating the showdown she knew she would encounter once she was face-to-face with Deacon.
“Have a seat, Brenda,” Deacon Wilson said in a stern tone. He sat at the head of the dining room table. Kadie stood catty-corner in the doorway while Maureen stood guard with her back against the wall, her hands resting on her hips, eager to find out what Brenda had done.
Shaking, with her head down, Brenda pulled the chair back and sat down. Her eyes focused on the green linen placemat that sat neatly on the table in front of her. She placed her sweaty palms flat down on the placemat, hoping the linen would help absorb the sweat that seemed to pour from all over her body. Deacon Wilson shook his head a moment before he spoke. The silence drew a lump in his throat.
“Em, em, em,” he said, his disappointment obvious. The anger and hurt were visible in his eyes and in his wordless expression. He stuttered, trying to find the right words to say. “W-why, how could you let this happen?” he asked. “How could you do this to us? You know what the Bible says about fornication and you done got yourself pregnant!”
Brenda cringed. Maureen gasped, and her mouth drew wide open as she covered her lips with both hands.
“Well, she didn’t get that way by herself,” Kadie interjected.
“Em, em, em,” Deacon repeated, shaking his head again.
“Maureen, you can excuse yourself while we deal with Brenda,” Deacon Wilson said. In silence Maureen stepped out of the room, to where she was out of sight, but nearby so she could still hear the conversation. She stood with her ear near the door.
“You’re just sixteen. You know what they call babies of unmarried women? Bastards, that’s what they call ‘em!”
Brenda cried, breaking her silence. “Daddy, I’m…I’m sorry. I could go to one of those places to have an a … abor…”
“Abortion?” he yelled, cutting into her words. Kadie hung her head.
“Lord knows I am very disappointed in you. You are ruined. You will never have what your mother and I wanted for you. You’re not about to get any lower by having an abortion. Abortion is murder, and one sin can’t cover another,” Deacon responded. Deacon’s words penetrated deep in Brenda’s stomach, she felt the need to rush to the toilet to vomit, but she held it in. “The Bible says thou shall not kill, and that we won’t do. You also won’t have a bastard child.” He pounded his fist on the table, startling Kadie and Maureen who stood outside the door.
“We gone have to let God deal with you, and I’m gone deal with … what’s the boy’s name, Brenda?”
Brenda was crying so hard she couldn’t speak.
“Karl, Daddy,” Maureen answered from the other room. She rushed back into the room. “His name is Karl, right?” she added, turning to ask Brenda. Brenda nodded her head and rolled her eyes at Maureen. Maureen heard Brenda and Cheryl on the telephone talk often about Karl, and she saw them walking together at school. “Karl Hamilton,” Maureen added, handing Brenda a few tissues from the box that sat at the other end of the table. Brenda let the tissues drop on the table. Her hatred for her sister’s meddlesome ways was apparent.
“Maureen?” Kadie said, eyeing her daughter.
“You have five seconds to leave this room and not return. Stop being so nosy. This does not concern you.”
The room remained quiet as Maureen shuffled her feet and left the room.
“I’m going to see this Karl and his daddy,” Deacon said. “I want to know what they gonna do about this.” Brenda’s eyes widened as she lifted her head with concern. “Where about does this Karl live?” he asked, curling his lips and gritting his teeth.
Brenda was too stunned to speak. Finally, she muttered, “Down on Jackson Street near Bonbright.”
“Don’t you go down there starting no ruckus, John,” Kadie said.
“What do you mean? That little …” Deacon caught his words. “Done got my baby girl pregnant. It’s only gone be ruckus if he don’t do something about it.”
“Well, what you suppose he’s gone do now?” Kadie asked.
“Marry her! That’s the only way,” Deacon spoke firmly.
Brenda collapsed her upper body right down on the table and let loose a whirl of tears and moans.
“Oh Lawd,” Kadie exclaimed, throwing her hands in the air. She slipped on her shoes and grabbed her purse. “I’m going with you. You’re gone get yourself in a world of trouble going to folks’ house like this.”
Deacon snatched opened the second drawer of the China cabinet and pulled out his shotgun shells then disappeared to the basement. Kadie rushed behind him.
“John, we’re not down south. There’s a better way to handle this. Don’t you go getting that shotgun.”
“You just hope I don’t have to use it,” he said, making his way back to the dining room carrying his double barrel shotgun. Shooting an angry glare at Brenda, he said, “Come on. You’re showing me where this boy lives.”
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