Reverend Alf Williams had done it all prior to becoming what some reporters called, “a megaphone for the oppressed, a guiding light in a world consumed with hatred and violence.” As with most folk, Reverend Alf found salvation at his lowest moment.
Prior to his ascent to the heights of religious fervor, he found himself in prison for robbery, assault, attempted murder, and peddling drugs. After less than a month in general population Reverend Alf realized his need for salvation, not to mention the cash he could rake in as a minister, and the megaphone of the oppressed was born.
Unlike Lilly, Konan didn’t put stock in anything the media reported. “There’s been too many instances where they lied and had to apologize for taking liberties with the truth.” As little respect Konan had for the media, he had even less for Reverend Alf.
Tensions had risen in the murder room, and Konan decided to go back to the murder scene. The rain has slowed from a deluge to a sprinkle. Konan used an unmarked sedan and drove back. Twilight had fallen, streetlamps lit the area cordoned off with yellow ticker tape.
The crime scene techs and news crews were long gone. Konan walked over to where the children had found the body. The warehouse section of town had long been abandoned to the homeless and the impoverished. Out of his peripheral vision, Konan saw movement.
“You here about that man they killed?”
“Yeah,” Konan said turning to face the greyed old man.
“They shouldn’t have done that. Black men shouldn’t be doing nothing with them white cops. They bad news.”
“Can you give me some details about what they looked like? Start from the beginning and tell me what you saw.”
“They beat him with their fists, and then one of them-the little one- got a tire iron and beat him in the ribs. The tall one told the little one to drag him over yonder and he ran over him. Um…”
“How many people beat the victim, sir?”
“There were three of them. One of them, she didn’t want to beat on him. The tall one hollered at her and said, “you wanted someone to pay, didn’t you? Beat him.”
“Did she hit him?”
“Yeah. The two men were white, the girl I don’t know. She might have been mixed or one of them immigrated folk. It ain’t right what they did.”
“Can you describe these folks to me?”
“The tall one, he looked mean. Had a scar on his jaw and had brown hair, I think. A beard, he had a beard.”
“The little one he might have stood 5’5, but he was stout looking. Had a flat top, and he was mean. Like he had something to prove, you know? I didn’t get a good look at his eyes.”
“She wasn’t pretty, kind of homely looking. Black hair like a wet raven. She wasn’t tall, but she was bigger than the little one. Her hair had curls in it, and she wasn’t fat, but she wasn’t skinny either.”
“Okay. What’s your name?”
“Why you need to know my name for?”
“In case I need to speak to you again. I’m Konan.”
“Like the barbarian?”
“Um, no. “
“Everybody around here calls me Pappy.”
“That’ll do. Thanks for the information, Pappy. Do you have any food? Some place to get out of the rain?”
“I got a place, but food is scarce.”
Konan pulled a twenty from his wallet and handed it to the old black man. Weariness showed in the old man’s eyes. The kind of weariness that testified a person had seen too much or done too many things they weren’t proud of. A kind of weariness that you can’t shake with plenty of sleep or a full belly, the kind that you take to the grave with you.
Konan knew it well, for he carried that burden even now.