Home > Stories > Flash Fiction Month #2, Episode 5: The One Drop Society

Flash Fiction Month #2, Episode 5: The One Drop Society

The final installment of Flash Fiction Month #2 is a story idea I’ve had banging around the inside of my cranium for some time. Extracting stories from your head and putting them to paper (or pixels) is a good way to stave off madness. Read the last installment here, and read the installments from the first Flash Fiction Month here.

NOTE: This story contains sensitive content that may be offensive to various demographics. You’d think they wouldn’t be able to collaborate to deadly effect, but Destruction released a song called “United By Hatred” on their 2nd album, Eternal Devastation (which I have, in fact, reviewed). Any resemblance to actual political positions, real or imagined, historical or contemporary, left or right, purple or pink with yellow polka dots, etc. is entirely coincidental.


It’s 1842. For whatever reason, the town of Aschaffenburg in South Carolina recently passed a law stating that a person with even so much as one African ancestor would be considered black for legal purposes. One of our undercover agents blew their cover by calling the proposed bill a “one drop rule” in a fit of spluttering rage. When we were done reprimanding him, we admitted he’d given us an idea.

Gerald Constance Forthtable is the mayor of Aschaffenburg. He lives in a large, stately mansion on the edge of town, at the beginning of cotton plantation country. Needless to say, he owns a great many slaves and takes great pride in the small shreds of cotton he manages to eke out for export to the spinning mills of Massachusetts. Without his guidance, the town would never have passed the one drop rule. Especially after this, Forthtable was well liked amongst the white gentry of the community, and therefore his mansion’s security was lax at best. We sent in three agents to teach Gerald a lesson about the power of such a law. First, there was Frederick, a recently freed slave looking to assist his enslaved countrymen, and a master burglar due to our training. Accompanying him were Hans, who would provide brutish muscle and firearm expertise if necessary, and Hattie, who had scouted the town and knew everything one could learn about how to create a ruckus in Aschaffenburg.

Hattie decided the best way to distract anyone who could assist the mayor was to derail a passing train on the other side of town. Surprisingly, nobody was killed or even hurt, but several cars of bagged rice and other agricultural goods spilled out across the countryside. The conductor demanded assistance reloading the produce, Forthtable sent his entire household (slaves included) to participate, and everything fell into place – he was now alone, with only the feeblest of locks standing between our emancipation team and their target. Frederick skillfully removed this lock even faster than Hans could have ripped it from the door. For the moment, Hans’ talents would’ve only served to create noise and alert the mayor, but he was patient enough to know that his time would come.

By now, though, Hattie was on her way to Columbia to inform the state governance that something blasphemous had happened in Aschaffenburg. For now, it’s enough that you know she wasn’t referring to the derailment. This did mean that Hans and Frederick had to finish up quickly. Apparently, they soon found Forthtable in his bedroom, writing a longwinded, blathering soliloquy in his personal diary.

“What is the meaning of this? Have you cretins no sense of morality?” he shouted at the interlopers. Hans and Frederick knew better than to rapport with this fellow. They nodded at each other; Hans quickly tackled the mayor and then restrained him with his enormous, powerful hands. Frederick then opened up his tool pouch, and pulled out a small dagger and a cup with the phrase “All Men Are Created Equal” embossed on it in a fancy script. We had spent a lot of time making it for him, and it was by far one of his most prized possessions. Frederick then proceeded to make a small incision in his right wrist, allowing several drops of his blood to flow into the cup.

“What is your filthy negro companion doing?” asked Forthtable, slightly muffled by Hans’ powerful restraint.

“Answer this truthfully – how much of a role did you play in the passing of this town’s one drop rule?” Frederick asked, in the calmest voice he could muster, as if this sort of incident happened all the time.

“It was my idea in the first place! The law is necessary to protect the dignity of the South.” Neither Frederick or Hans particularly liked this response beyond that it justifies our actions on that day. Frederick walked over to the side of the mayor and instructed Hans to hold the man’s mouth open. A braver man would’ve screamed until his lungs blew out, but as mayor Forthtable began to realize what we had in mind, he fell utterly silent.

“I have read the text of this law and memorized it to the letter. It seems that nobody bothered to insert a clause describing what means by which a person could acquire black blood suitable for the purposes of the law,” Frederick said, slowly, gently beginning to tip the cup over Forthtable’s open mouth.

“This sounds like a severe oversight to me. Do you agree, Hans?” he continued. Hans simply nodded.

Drip. Drip. Drip.

“You can’t do this to me! It’ll never stand in a court! You’ll hang for this!” shouted Forthtable, once he’d involuntarily swallowed.

“Maybe we will,” Hans finally responded in a slow drawl, “But what will the townsfolk think when they learn that their mayor has been concealing the curse of Ham?”

 

And that’s why Gerald Constance Forthtable has a dilemma on his hands. Even now, a detachment of constables from Columbia are proceeding with all haste to investigate what happened in Aschaffenburg. Can he afford to cooperate with him after his revisions to the town’s laws? We aim to see this argument burn in the pits of hell, and are willing to do everything in our power to discredit its supporters.

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