Welcome to Braggsville by T. Geronimo Johnson:
It’s our fault. It’s our fault, repeated Charlie. In school they teased me, in public school that was, for being Mr. Charlie. Mr. Charlie, especially if I did well on a test. What do you expect from Mr. Charlie? they would ask. Now, asked Charlie, who am I? I’m Judas, Iago, Nixon. Washington, Ellison, Obama. A great conciliator. But a part of me—his voice dropped to a whisper—is so glad to be alive. Before with Tyler, and even now. This sliver of myself, that part wind-thin, and just as sharp, as my own nana used to say, was relieved when Tyler killed himself. I know God hates me for it. He gave me that ulcer, for starters. It was like swallowing razors. I spent half the time in the nurses’ station. He gripped Daron’s arms, staring like a wild man. I know God hates me for it, I know he does, but I felt that way again when I saw Louis yesterday. I saw him there with that shoe polish on his face and that wig, and the muscle suit, and I knew that would have been me, and I was glad I didn’t go. Glad to have been afraid.