The next day, Akeem and I made our way down to you and your father to figure out what to do.
“I told y’all we should’ve left!” Akeem kept saying over and over again.
“We get it, Akeem!” I kept telling him. “And we didn’t. So we gotta figure out what we’re gonna do now.”
“It’s too late, bro,” Akeem whined, pacing back and forth. “The power’s out. We can’t call nobody. We got no GPS. And they bombed all the subways, bro. They bombed them!”
“She’s dead,” your father muttered, pacing in the corner. “Those flippin’ redskins killed her.” Except he didn’t say flippin’. He did say redskins.
“Subways are down,” I agreed. “So are the airports.”
“What?” Akeem stopped and looked at me. “Since when?”
“They announced it on the radio a while ago. Weren’t you—”
“Ahhh dang it, man!” Akeem went back to pacing, throwing his hands to his head.
“That means if we’re gonna get outta here, we gotta go by car or by boat,” I explained.
Akeem stopped and took a few deep breaths. “Let’s drive to Mexico. Give these dudes their land back. They win. Congratulations.”
“No, no, no,” I disagreed. “That’s not what I was saying. We’re gonna drive down to Mexico? Are you crazy? DRIVE?”
Your father sat down and folded his hands in front of his face and had a weird, scary white-boy-about-to-go-crazy look in his eyes. So I ignored him and kept talking.
“We’re gonna get ourselves killed if we try to leave,” I grabbed Akeem’s arm and pulled him away into the corner away from you and your father. “I say we stay and do what Kamama says.”
“What?” Akeem said, making a face like he’d just smelled someone’s fart. “You mean become one of the Natives?”
“He said people of color won’t be affected,” I whispered. “We’ll be good.”
“So you just gonna leave Mark and Mary? That’s foul, man.”
“They can go.”
“You just said we can’t drive outta here!”
That’s when your father jumped to his feet. At first I thought he was pissed because I was thinking of leaving you guys. But looking back, I kinda wish that that had been the case. Because what he ended up saying was way worse.
“We’re stayin,” he told us. “And we’re fightin’.”
Akeem shook his head. “That’s a hard pass from me, bro.”
“I got some friends upstate,” your father kept going like he hadn’t even heard him. “They got a cabin and weapons.”
“Weapons?” I asked. He said it like he had just said “hot dogs” or something.
“Weapons,” he repeated. “Shotguns. AR-15’s. M-14’s. Weapons.”
Akeem gave me a we-gotta-go-look.
“We could regroup and take the fight straight to The Natives,” your father said. “We get weapons and hold down the fort. This is our land. Who’s with me?”
Akeem and I looked at each other. See, I was never in a mood to go upstate to a cabin full of white dudes and guns. And neither was he. But then I looked at you sitting on the couch. You hadn’t said anything this whole time and I hadn’t looked at you. And now I noticed that you were crying. You were scared. Of course, because your mother had just died. And I realized something in that moment that changed everything for me: if we didn’t do something, you were gonna be next.
I looked back at your father and took a deep breath. “I’m in.”
Akeem’s jaw dropped and his eyes went wide. “Yo, Rick! Rick! You buggin’! Are you serious?!”
I ignored him and stepped up to your father. “I’m only doing this to keep my niece safe. You and your friends start getting crazy with your little white boy crusade and I’m leaving. You hear me?”
“Deal,” your father said. And we shook hands.
“Bro,” Akeem shook his head. “This is the one time black people won’t die first and this the kinda deal you makin’? Let’s go now! We can still make it!”
But he was outvoted. So, against my better judgment and against his horror movie-inspired rants, we got into your father’s Jeep and made our way upstate.