The doorbell had no name beside it. The front door had no pane. It lay cracked on the floor. She buzzed thrice. He yelled from the top of the stairs.
Umri didn't answer. He came down. She looked up and saw the surprise in his face.
"Merrick." She said.
He Bowed. She smelt the alcohol. He bowed again and said.
' Now, who be ye, would cross Lochgyl?,
This dark and stormy water?'
They stood in the doorway looking at each other.
"What the hell you doin' in this jungle?”
She walked past him as he opened the door for her. He paced the floor before she sat down.
" Now, I's in dat much trouble already, he said, “what you tryin' to do? Gettin' killed, coming around here?"
Before he turned around, Umri sobbed. " Don't speak to me like that. Don't tease me. First, all those people on the street and now you. They've been calling me 'gypsy, gypsy girl!'
She wept aloud.
He knelt beside her and took her hand. He said nothing.
With tears still rolling down her cheeks, she surprised him.
"Is you gonna talk to me or ain't you?"
He nodded his head, "You're O.K." He let out a wild scream and burst out laughing."Yes, mum, you sure is O.K."
He waited awhile and whispered. "They drafted me."
""Damn whiteys got my tail. They want this nigger to fight the white man's war"
" Where else, Umri. Don't you know nothin'. Vietnam. They're gonna have to put me in jail 'fore I go to any war. He spoke to himself,lost in his thoughts."No suh..."
"What are you going to do, Merrick?"
"What am I going to do? What the hell can I do about it? No money for a lawyer. No money for...I'll show you what I have been doin' I'm writing. I'm wasting my whole fuckin' day writing to the
Draft Board." He threw the typewritten pages into the air "See here, this is what I've been doin, every day I come home and drink and write letters. I tell them I am a graduate student I tell them
I'm not one of them who joined the Black Panthers, I tell them I chose not to become a Booby or an Eldridge. No suh! I tell them I chose to stay in school, so I could set an example to the
young 'ungs. They need me, I tell them, they need me to keep set an example in this great country.I write about my clean record, how they need black men like me. I am valuable to them I tell
them, IF I am kept alive. And each day I await their reply. Each day I wait for them to come and get me. For their orders to march."
He paced still talking."Fuck this life. Fuck those bastards." He turned to her finally and asked, " What are we to do with you, Miss. Chicken Little.?
"No, she answered," what are we to do with you?"
""You gonna fight my war, Umri?"
"Not your public one, but your personal and private one. I can do that."
You don't know a damn thing about this country." He fought back "You ain't getting involved."
" But I know a little about you, and I found your apartment."
"And that is precisely what you are getting out of."
"Not till you feed me!" She insisted.