Mabel, the Slave
By Kelvin C. James
By Kelvin C. James
Women with admiration, the men with nostalgia, older slaves who watched her grow up would say, “Mabel aged like a goat; once past being a kid, you just couldn’t guess.” She wasn’t particularly pretty, though not at all plain because of how her face carried its mouth, and the way she looked at you. Skin like black satin, she was average height, her body broad-hipped shapely, and she enjoyed doing the crab dance on her back. This talent was well appreciated in the slaves’ compound. And any buck who got the privilege would never forget her indulgent pleasure, and wanton eagerness.
Mabel was not a breeder, though. Since no profit-hungry slave-owner favors infertility, she was one of the few females who did not return to the brood-house. After a four-month spell there, the Missus in charge of breeding gave up trying, said maybe next year and let her be. Not so the male slaves. After pulling weight in the sugarcane fields, once back in the slaves’ compound, there were always strong bucks ready to take a turn with her. They’d be on their knees in front her shanty, promising. Then, when given a chance, they’d too soon gush their baby batter. All because of this knack she had when sharing her nectar.
Afterwards, the bucks would make excuses, and be eager to try again; at which Mabel laughed and urged them on.
Then, to everyone’s surprise she and brown-skinned Boysie, the Drummer, got together. Boysie was a lean man; more graceful than brawny. So, talk in the slave-yard was that she fell for his drum, since it couldn’t be his raw muscle.
But anyone who heard his drumming realized at once what altered Mabel’s disposition.
At drumming Boysie was sky-high above awesome. What no drum should be able to do, he made it do. A drum between his legs, his hands made its music go far beyond the normal reach. He made its music clap and sing, jump up, and climb, invade a listener’s mind, body, and oft times, soul. It captured fears and jeered at them to let a being go. Chased or shoved away, it made a soul’s concerns depart in haste.
Yeah! Boysie set his listeners free at making most of that hardest life they lived. Under his stroking, a drum possessed this sort of magic.
Same as how spiced-honey Mabel calmed her ways. After toil in the sugarcane fields, she stayed in Boysie’s mud-and-wattle shanty and cooked for him, loved and lived only for him.
The slave-yard remarked in wonder as there she remained, content, and never lonesome.
Even the brood-house Missus would like her now; she is expecting.
Maybe this has to do with how frogs must croak, dogs are bound to bark, and cat cannot resist the mouse; or might be alike the mystery of moonbeams!