The Tale of the White Demons
by James Harting
AT AGE 37, Ubungu Rodriquez Goldstein Johnson was the oldest man in his village. He did not know that he was 37, for record keeping and numbers were not part of his people’s culture. The villagers only knew that he was old past all reckoning and they called him “Grandpa Ubi.” In truth, he probably was a grandfather several times over, but no one really knew who their grandfathers were. Few of the villagers could say for certain who their own father was, much less their grandfathers. But they called him “Grandpa,” anyway, as an honorific.
Leadership in the village was determined by physical strength and brutality, and Grandpa Ubi was ancient and frail, so he was no longer a headman. But his immense age brought prestige with it and he was allowed to live in one of the most magnificent huts. The south and west walls were made of crumbling brick masonry and the roof consisted of corrugated tin sheets. The holes in the sheets were covered over with tree branches, so the hut almost kept him dry in the rainy season.
Grandpa Ubi’s body was wracked with illnesses and parasites. His prestige allowed him access to the most powerful witch doctors and medicine men — but even their mightiest spells and rituals failed to cure him.
He shuffled out of his hut and sat on a log in front of it to warm himself in the sun. A short distance away a group of children were at play. The young’uns had a number of games of which they were fond, such as “Rape Gang” and “Pimps and Ho’s,” but today they were just throwing rocks at each other.
This reminded Grandpa Ubi of a game that they played when he was a child, called “Kill the Cracker.” Once or twice a year, the village elders would line up all of the children and select the one with the lightest skin tone and hair color to be the “Cracker.” He (or she) would be given a five-second head start, and then the other children would run after him throwing stones and beating him with sticks. Usually the Cracker died. But now there were no more children with light coloration and the game had been discontinued.
Grandpa Ubi felt a tightness in his chest and began to cough violently. Finally, with a mighty effort, he gave one great cough, and spit out a quantity of phlegm from his lungs onto the ground. It was mixed with blood, and contained two small white worms. “This is not good,” he thought to himself vaguely.
The sound of his coughing had attracted the attention of the children. They left off their game and ran over to him.
“Grandpa Ubi, are you all right?” one of them asked.
“Oh, yes, childrens,” he replied, “it’s just a cough.”
They stood there looking at him for a few seconds, until one of them asked, “Grandpa Ubi, tell us a story.”
“Well, my little niggers, what story would you like to hear?” he said.
“Tell us the tale of the White Demons,” the boy answered.
Grandpa Ubi gave a broad smile. This story was always one of their favorites.
“Well, childrens,” he began, “many years ago the Earth was ruled by a race of White Demons. They were a people of cruel warriors and geniuses. They had wagons made of metal with great weapons on them. They had boats of metal that could sail beneath the water, and other boats that flew through the air and dropped fire on their enemies. They had shamans that could cure any disease. Their men were fierce in combat and their women were the most beautiful in the world, with eyes the color of the summer sky and hair the color of a ripened pear.”
When he had first heard the story in his youth, the phrase used was “hair the color of ripened wheat.” Since then, however, his people has lost the ability to grow crops, and he knew that his young listeners would not know what “wheat” was. They would know what a pear looked like, however, because there were still a few pear trees left. The fruit was a delicacy only allowed to the richest of the villagers, and none of the pickaninnies would have ever tasted it, but they would have known what it looked like.
“People thought that the White Demons would rule the Earth forever,” he continued, “but something unexpected happened: they all went crazy.
“Their leader was a demon called ‘Hitler,’” he said, and spat on the ground. That was the custom among the villagers: whenever the name “Hitler” was mentioned everyone present would spit on the ground in disgust. The children followed Grandpa Ubi’s example.
“He was the bravest and wisest of the White Demons, but the demons went crazy and the other tribes of demons waged a mighty war against Hitler and his tribe” — he spit again — “and destroyed them. Then, in their madness, the White Demons lost their will to rule the world. Their numbers dwindled, and soon they stopped having children. And today they are gone.”
The children stood in silence for a few moments, trying to grasp Grandpa Ubi’s incredible tale. Finally, one of them spoke up.
“What if the White Demons come back? Will they rule the world again?” he asked.
Grandpa Ubi quickly searched his memory for a phrase that he had heard associated with this story, “extinction is forever.” He could not quite recall it, however, and settled for answering, “No, childrens, once a people dies out, it never comes back.”
A young girl who had been napping emerged from her hut and wandered towards the crowd that had gathered around Grandpa Ubi. One of the older boys noticed her and exclaimed, “I know, let’s play Rape Gang!”
With a whoop of delight the pickaninnies ran towards the girl. She opened her eyes wide in horror and sprinted towards the woods. She had almost made it to the tree line when they caught her.
Grandpa Ubi leaned back against the wall of his hut and closed his eyes. He felt the warmth of the sun bathe over him as he drifted off to sleep.
* * *
Source: New Order