Excerpt from Red Now and Laters by Marcus J. Guillory, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Red Now and Laters

by Marcus J. Guillory

Red Now and Laters
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Mar 2014, 352 pages
    Mar 2015, 352 pages

  • Rate this book

Book Reviewed by:
Morgan Macgregor

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

Some were ex-cons like Father's friend Butterfield, who was a known rapist and car thief. Others were educators like Dr. Poindexter, the veterinarian who taught at Prairie View A&M. He'd give discounted horse vaccinations to these cowboys, most of whom were cowboying on a budget. The Fifth Ward golden boy Mickey Leland kissed babies and provided photo ops for his next bid for Congress. Ntozake Shange sat sidesaddle on a Tennessee walker conjuring verses about a crowd that really didn't know who the hell she was. Father seemed pleased with all of this as he nursed the beer with a familiar grin. Then he handed me five dollars and told me to be careful. That was it. Off I'd go into this den of thieves, playwrights, politicians, rapists, and veterinarians.

I took off for the refreshment area for a Frito pie and a strawberry soda. A few older kids had commandeered the pool table and were betting on shots, imitating the adults with wagers. Stevie Wonder professed from the jukebox—"that girl thinks that she's so fine." And I just tried to stay out of anybody's way, but my presence wouldn't go unnoticed. Girls my age were milling about, giggling, writing letters and notes on barbeque-stained napkins to the older boys around the pool table. This had been going on before I arrived. Then I entered and the focus shifted. The back of my neck got hot as a toaster, and it wasn't because I was John Frenchy's son, oh no, although that did have its benefits. I was the light-skinned dude in the room and, brother, the letters and notes started coming like I was the postman.

Since kindergarten, I had been well aware of the premium of being light-complexioned among black folks, particularly girls. I hadn't spent much time around white folks, and when I visited family in Louisiana my skin tone really wasn't a big deal because there were a lot of people who looked like me. But in Texas, this complexion thing was carrying some weight, both good and bad. I didn't think too much of it, still working with a developing ego that only sought acceptance inasmuch as it would provide playmates and defense against bullies. At eight, that was my main emotional concern, but I did notice that for the past three years I had gained unearned favor with girls because of my looks. And riding the wall near a pool table in a shanty during a rodeo was no exception. There was a general excitement in their eyes when they saw me. Hell if I knew why. I couldn't swim. I couldn't fight. I couldn't pop a wheelie. I could barely throw a football. All of this because Mother wouldn't let me go on Ricky Street, of course. But somehow none of that mattered and I wondered, if these girls knew all my shortcomings, would their eyes still dance? Or would I be the inadequate fly on the shanty wall that stood before them?

This attention didn't go unnoticed by the older boys, who were plotting to get their fingers stanky or pull a little tongue. I inadvertently thwarted their plans and would soon become a victim if I didn't figure something out. One of them, a little closer to my age, noticed what was going on and decided to befriend me, maybe thinking that some of this female attention would rub off on him. It kind of worked. His name was Harold and his father used to fuck him.

Harold was ten years old and was missing his front teeth. Big brown eyes and complexion with a dusty red afro. He had a lot of energy, but most of the boys didn't play with him because the rumor about him and his father had circulated around the rodeo circuit for some time although no one dared to investigate.

After conferencing with the girls by the jukebox, Harold proudly came over to me and announced that two of the girls wanted to get booty. He pointed at the young vixens, who blushed. Hell, I blushed too. I hadn't got booty, didn't really know how except with my action figures, and that didn't count. Harold then started to chide me about being scared of girls. This went on for hours until Arthur Duncan stepped into the refreshment shack with two young bunnies on his arms, saying, "Lil' Frenchy! Ya daddy 'bout to rope."

Excerpted from Red Now and Laters by Marcus J Guillory. Copyright © 2014 by Marcus J Guillory. Excerpted by permission of Atria/Emily Bestler Books. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book:
  Zydeco Music

One-Month Free Membership

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Here I Am
    Here I Am
    by Jonathan Safran Foer
    With almost all the accoutrements of upper middle-class suburban life, Julia and Jacob Bloch fit the...
  • Book Jacket: Harmony
    by Carolyn Parkhurst
    In previous novels such as The Dogs of Babel and Lost and Found, Carolyn Parkhurst has shown herself...
  • Book Jacket: Commonwealth
    by Ann Patchett
    Opening Ann Patchett's novel Commonwealth about two semi-functional mid-late 20th Century ...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Darling Days
    by iO Tillett Wright

    A devastatingly powerful memoir of one young woman's extraordinary coming of age.

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    The Tea Planter's Wife
    by Dinah Jefferies

    An utterly engrossing, compulsive page-turner set in 1920s Ceylon.

    Read Member Reviews

Book Discussions
Book Jacket
Under the Udala Trees
by Chinelo Okparanta

Raw, emotionally intelligent and unflinchingly honest--a triumph.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win Blood at the Root

Blood at the Root

"A gripping, timely, and important examination of American racism."
- PW Starred Review


Word Play

Solve this clue:

D C Y C Before T A H

and be entered to win..

Books that     

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.


Free Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in the world of books:
Reviews, previews, interviews and more!

Spam Free: Your email is never shared with anyone; opt out any time.