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
    Paperback:
    Mar 2015, 352 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Morgan Macgregor

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


Louisiana black people, like most black people, are superstitious. Maybe because we are so aware of the real world, having been denied so much of it for so long, that we accept what's just past it, the other side of reality. That understanding gives us access to magic. Father meant what he said. Half of those rough and tough cowboys swore off beef after that night.

Maybe it was the Wild Turkey or the fact that he flipped his winnings three times with the dice or that he got to shoot the bull in front of everybody, but Father was talkative on the way back home. Hero status reaffirmed.

"You all right?" he asked.

"Yeah," I said, a bit remorseful.

"You gotta remember not to be by the fence when they ridin' them bulls. Them niggas be half drunk and not payin' attention and anything can happen. You understand?" he asked.

"Yeah, Daddy."

He popped open another Schlitz and handed it to me.

"Here. That one's for you. Don't tell your momma. Matter fact, don't tell her about none of this tonight 'cause you know how she likes to worry," he said.

"I know, Daddy," I said and took a sip of my very first beer.

That night I lay in bed, tipsy, listening to the distant train on Mykawa Road and the busy mouse gnawing on the Sheetrock wall trying to get me. He was determined and steady, chipping away inside the wall, plotting his meal. My toes, then my legs to prevent me from running away. He sounded small, innocuous, but his gnawing reverberated, hummed and vibrated the worn wooden floor. I could feel it from my metal trundle bed. The mouse was coming for me. And my only solace was the reluctant glimmer of light peeking from the Star Wars curtains. Use the Force, Ti' John. Not enough to muster courage. Not enough to foster hope that the avid mouse would retire for the evening or get lockjaw. Maybe if I could look into his eyes and make contact, like Harold with the bull, he could be convinced.

• • •

Despite three killings in one week, I was holding up pretty well. School continued the next morning without a word about Cookie or her father. Adelai had been in psychiatric custody of some sort and there was no blood in the church, but we all knew what happened at Station 6. Gunshots and buzzers and screeching tires, alarms signaling danger, yet I managed to stay safe. And for that I felt stronger, more able to handle what the world was preparing to throw my way. I was gaining a sense of daring. Maybe I could go on Ricky Street now without fear. Maybe. Mother had to be busy or gone. I had no idea what awaited me on Ricky Street, but those other incidents didn't offer warning either. I committed to disobeying Mother. I committed to daring. I'd have to pick a good day for play, because if I got caught there was a good chance that I wouldn't be leaving the house for a while. I needed a day when everybody, young and old, would be outside. I didn't want to miss a thing or person. I wanted to know everything happening on Ricky Street, which could only mean one day out of all seven. Saturday. The official weekly holiday for all black folks in good standing. With God's blessing, Mother would have to be properly distracted for a good eight hours. I had a day appointed. Now I had to wait.

The next day, Saturday, Mother decided that she'd spend the entire day cooking a pot of gumbo. Have mercy! Making gumbo is an event that requires the cook to stay on the pot for most of the day, a sacrifice with the promise of a worthy meal. It requires commitment, attention to detail, and very limited distractions. Excellent. Thank you, God.

I grabbed a few toys and headed for the door.

"I'm gonna play out in the front," I told Mother.

"Be careful. Come in and use the bathroom. Ms. Johnson say she saw you peein' on the side of the house," Mother responded.

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

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member
and discover your next great read!

Join Today!

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Opposite of Everyone
by Joshilyn Jackson

"Quirky and appealing characters, an engaging story, and honest dialogue make this a great book!"
- BookBrowse

About the book
Join the discussion!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Holding Up the Universe
    Holding Up the Universe
    by Jennifer Niven
    Jennifer Niven's spectacular Holding Up the Universe has everything that I love about Young ...
  • Book Jacket: Coffin Road
    Coffin Road
    by Peter May
    From its richly atmospheric opening to its dramatic conclusion, Peter May's Coffin Road is a ...
  • Book Jacket: The Guineveres
    The Guineveres
    by Sarah Domet
    It's a human need to know one's own identity, to belong to someone, to yearn for a place ...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Victoria
    by Daisy Goodwin

    Daisy Goodwin breathes new life into Victoria's story, and does so with sensitivity, verve, and wit." - Amanda Foreman

    Read Member Reviews

Win this book!
Win All the Gallant Men

All The Gallant Men

The first memoir by a USS Arizona survivor, 75 years after Pearl Harbor.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

K Y Eyes P

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & 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.

 
X

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.