"The Mannequin, The Harlequin"
Spanish moss draped the lintel of a bayou mansion - and all who passed through its foggy tendrils hid their faces and bodies beneath masks and silks of past ages.
Wine flowed freely at the costume party, and one partygoer partook without moderation.
So drunk did he grow, that, espying a female mannequin masked and dressed in a whalebone-corset gown and laid recumbent on a settee, did he sit at its feet, caressing its stiletto heels, and whispering into its gently sculpted plastic ear.
Only when he tossed away his mask and buried his face in the mannequin's cold, hard bosom did he recoil, in bent-nosed confusion, to the laughter of the crowd who'd watched his awry wooing.
But then, a woman partygoer, dressed in a harlequin mask and bodiced gown, walked out of the crowd to the settee, tossed off the mannequin, lay down and beckoned back the drunk.
He spun on his heels, and, to the crowd's cheers, lay down in the woman's arms and buried his face in her warm, soft bosom.
Then the woman reached up and snatched off her harlequin mask, to reveal the beautiful, yet angry and sorrowful, face of the drunken man's wife.
The drunken man staggered back to howls of glee and, red-faced, fled from the party -- his outraged wife, fists clenched, closing behind.
Thus, we are persons -- not patinas.
April 9, 2011, excerpt from The Parables of Reason (Chapter 2, "Assumption's Denial"), Copyright © 2011 by Frank H. Burton, Ph.D., Founder and Executive Director, The Circle of Reason, Inc. All rights reserved.
The Circle's "Hall of Shame" award is dedicated in admonishment of the Mississippi Republican Party's generational bridge of racism: In a recent poll of Mississippi GOP voters, more than half of its GOP elders older than age 65 -- and of its GOP youth age 18-30 -- think interracial marriage should, once again, be made a crime.