Triptych: Texas Pool Party

Namwali Serpell for Triple Canopy
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A three-part fiction on the 2015 McKinney, Texas, pool party incident, in which a white police officer was filmed tackling and restraining a 15-year-old black girl.

Summertime

Easy does it, do it easy. It’s summertime. The bell rings, school’s out. The weather’s fine. The summer’s a natural afrodisiac. The guys are out hunting, the ladies are wearing less, checking out the fellas, deciding who’s next. The kids are flirting, too: the boys messing round with the girls playing double dutch, girls giggling like their bodies are full of bubbles. Even old folks are dancing, reminiscing on bliss, talking about the growing-up days, the first one they kissed. The smell of the barbecue, the tilt of the sun can spark a flash from the past—just like that. Yeah, you already know.

Meat grilling. DJ spinning. It’s a birthday cookout at the park across from Tatyana’s spot in McKinney. Everybody rolls up looking real fine, fresh from the barbershop, fly from the beauty shop. Bright T-shirts, jeans dark and crisp, sneaks so white they squeak on your eyes. Dudes standing around, still as ice. Girls shaking all over, moving to the music, tossing their braids, talking all coy over their shoulders. I’m gonna make you tremble. I’m gonna get you shook. The heat rises up, sings against the skin. Clothes fall off, swimsuits blossoming from beneath, in colors as neon and elaborate as the sunset to come. We dance and we dance. All of this beauty, all of this rolling, dipping brown flesh, like desert dunes in the shadow or desert dunes in the sun.

When we say dime or honey, we mean silver and gold, because summer is conspiring to make everything glint like coin. Sunshine adorns our lip-glossed lips, our bare shoulders and brows. We shine. You can see tracks glisten in the thick of that weave, you can see sweat mingle with the vaseline on those edges. Flashy phones in our hands like accessories or weapons. Chains bright enough to dazzle. Belt buckles and rings. Bottles sitting in crushed ice like broken glass. Bottles and bottles. Ice on ice. You want a splash? Wanna spark up? Snip, ftz, flame, lit. Damn, I’d hit that. (I want to kiss you on your collarbone.) Yeah, he kinda cute. (I want you inside of me.)

(…)

Fitz Carraldo Editions