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Save For My Children and Grandchildren

"Sensuous, swift, full of sparkling twists, Daugharty's is a voice so rich that a single page can be thrilling." The New York Times Book Review

Song of the Mockingbird

Short Story

by Janice Daugharty

Southern Fictions, Inc.

Copyright 2010 Janice Daugharty

Fannie, who knew everything and never stinted on sharing what she knew, turned her dusty green Suburban left off the rutted dirt road and up the lane behind her sister Baby Ruth’s new gold Maxima. The lane was two paths worn through thickets of cat-claw briars, bamboo and vines, and volunteer scrub trees dooming the old two-acre home place as wasteland in the prime timber country of Southeast Georgia. It was as if the very taint of Negro ownership had rendered the land valueless, in spite of the background view of tall hardy pines whose tops stood in tiers against the fading blue sky along the bottomland of the Alapaha River.

Yellowflies darted at the mirror and window on the side where Fannie’s baby, twenty-one year old Zeke, was sitting, and now and then he could hear the shriek of rank chinkypin branches like somebody keying a new paintjob on an enemy’s car. Zeke had done that before so he would know.

Already Fannie’s sisters, twelve all told, had parked or were parking before the never-painted cracker house of their mother whose funeral they had attended that afternoon. Middle of the week funeral, and the old lady really belonged to a place and time when the family waited a decent week and held the service on the following Sunday, complete with purple-prosy obit, fancy white limos and showy fake flowers resulting from a lifetime of premiums paid on “the insurance.” But this was today and that was back-when and most of her daughters worked at jobs as far away as they could get from the fields and woods of Mayday, Georgia, where they had been born dragging on a tit and raised eating grits.

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