There once was a small town in the rural South where not much of the outside world came in and not much of the inside world went out. This town had a small population and a large congregation, if one gets the meaning. It was very secluded amidst the trees and hills on the burning Bible belt, and thus the residents were surprised when the young foreigner moved into town. He was tall, dark, and handsome, very mysterious, and spoke with a heavy French accent. The girls swooned for him and the men looked upon him with scorn.
He lived in a small condo on the edge of town, seemingly alone. He never went out much and did not make any friends. He avoided all advances made by the local girls, and greeted all new acquaintances with two kisses, one on each cheek. Now, the small town had never known anyone to do this, and so they did not know how to react. Many of the men in town reacted violently, embarrassed by this custom. So it was that the foreigner became more and more the recluse, sensing the hostility. The town’s citizens came to the unfortunate conclusion that he was “one of those goddamned queers.” This conclusion would not normally have affected the poor man, but the fact that he did live near the children’s park doubled his jeopardy. The townspeople were worried. What did they really know about him?
So it was that the townspeople decided to drive him out. He was a danger to their way of life, they said. He was trouble waiting to happen, they said. One morning, word got out that the mayor was going to his condo. Before long, an angry mob gathered outside of his home. They cast rocks at the vinyl siding, and roared angry expletives toward his windows, they picketed his yard with signs. A large banner went up with a brilliant rainbow, crossed out with angry black smudges. The hate swept through the crowd in a wave of contagion. Soon, they were chanting loudly:
“Kill the faggot! Make him pay!”
But for what was he to pay? No one cared.
The Frenchman within soon came running out to his balcony overlooking the front lawn. His appearance did him no favors. Over his shoulders was draped a long, pink bathrobe, and not much else. The crowd gasped. A quick glance down and a slight blush informed them that he, too, was embarrassed by his appearance. He entreated the crowd:
“Pay for what? Excuse me, good sirs, what have I done? I surely did not mean to offend you,” he cried to the angry mob.
“We don’t want your kind here!” was the only reply he got.
“My kind? You mean Frenchmen? You were not so adverse to me before,” he replied.
“Go away, faggot!” the mob cried. Understanding spread over the man’s face. He was about to reply when a baby’s cry from interrupted him. A moment later, another voice came from within, this one in incomprehensible French. The foreigner replied in the same, then turned to the crowd with a look of disgust.
“Honey, what do you mean?” came the voice, dripping with accent, in the house. The sliding glass door pulled open and a young woman with a small baby in her arms came out to the balcony, her gray bathrobe swishing in the morning breeze. Her long, curly black hair swung back in luxurious swirls, he pale face exhibited her displeasure with the crowd. She then looked to her baby, softly cooing to it in calming tones.
“Please, good sirs, leave my place. My wife needs her sleep,” was all the Frenchman said to them. Their stunned silence told him volumes, and their silent refusal to leave showed him that they were only now realizing the truth of the situation. He walked into the house behind his wife, angrily slamming the door to…
Days later, the town was still simmering with the news. Many of the more indignant and stubborn members of the town were still skeptical, and very angry. No matter the man was already selling the condo, they were hell bent on revenge. Proving them wrong had caused the stranger more trouble than leaving quietly.
One night, after they had sold the condo and packed everything, they finally left town. However, they did not make it far. To leave the town, they had to pass through it to the other side. In the center of town lay an old bar where the locals often spent their evenings, drunk and angry. This night was no exception. Just outside was the town’s only traffic light, and it just so happened that the Frenchman was stopped there, in the cold, dark night. His wife and his child lay sleeping in the seat next to him, all his belongings lay in the back seat, boxed away. Two drunken locals sat on the bench outside the bar, staring at the car with a glint of anger in their eyes.
“Hey, boys, ain’t that the damned faggot that lives down by the wood?” one called into the bar’s patrons.
“Yeah, Joe, I think it is!”
With that a new mob was gathering. The dirt road was littered with good-sized rocks, and the traffic light showed no sign of changing. The Frenchman, however, decided not to bother waiting. He hit the gas and sped off toward the highway. The mob, however, consisted of three of the town’s police officers. Within moments, the Frenchman was pulled over. He was trapped. The drunken mob surrounded him.
“Get out, now, dammit!” the policeman called. The mob did not see the woman beside him. She had awakened after the traffic light, and was covering her screaming baby’s head. The mob grew impatient, but the stranger would not open the door. The rocks began to pelt the car. At first they were large pebbles, but soon they had grown to be small boulders. One flew through the windshield, and right into the man’s wife. She shrieked as the baby stopped screaming. Further inspection showed a flood of blood seeping from a gaping wound on the child’s skull. It was dead. A howl of rage escaped the mother’s lips. The car door flew open, and she leapt out, attacking the first target in sight.
The policeman did not hesitate to shoot.
The stranger followed his wife, falling to a second bullet, violently roaring as he rolled in the dirt on the roadside. Blood spilled from his chest and from her neck. They did not survive the ride to the river, where they were quickly discarded. The townspeople never spoke of the incident again, but the old car was never moved either. It rusted away, and later burned. But all the townspeople knew what had happened. Word spread like wildfire through the town, and, somehow, they managed to ignore the murderers. No one was ever arrested, no one was punished at all, but the car never moved. Every passerby saw what they had done…