Sample Chapters







Chapter 1: Black on White

She kept going back to that mirror.

If she stared at it for too long, her reflection began to undulate, almost disappearing at the head or worse, swelling at the hips. But mostly she was a perfect ‘10’, with dark brown, shoulder-length hair, a 36-24-36 figure enhanced by a double D cup and perfect mulatto skin.

She would have to keep her hair straight. If it hadn’t been for that crêpe hair, she would have looked almost white. And it was important to look white.

Her own beauty mesmerized her. She hadn’t changed at all since she was a young seventeen and now she was turning into an eternal twenty-nine. However, she had stared at herself too long this time for now her body was collapsing and she was spread-eagled on a bed. There were two men standing above her: a white man and a black man. The white man seemed gentle at first, but when she looked up at his features, he started turning into something nasty.

Then the black man went away and hundreds of men morphed into the white man’s face; she found herself travelling



down a long dark tunnel. From tiny compartments along the tunnel, she was alternatively washing a man’s feet and spread- eagled on his lap, rubbing her breasts up against his mouth, and then being whipped later by the same man.

She was in Jamaica now in a jeep. A white lover wearing a Pith helmet was driving her along. Fields of sugar cane spread out for miles. Like a voyeur, she peered into another compartment where a white man was heaving against a black woman’s bottom. Another overseer who leered at her was whipping her own husband outside.

Then she saw rows of brownstone houses next to shantytowns, an old shriveled–up Madame drinking scotch and nodding at her as she left her group of girls aligned in a semi- circle while red-necked Southerners stared at their bodies. It was first-come, first-serve and he had arrived early to claim her particular body. His lower lip drooled and his skin was sallow, but he paid well and tipped generously and gave her tips about how she could rise to the next social level.

Because she was on the lowest rung along with these two Italian brothers.

And just as suddenly she was on the top rung, drinking champagne in a delicate crystal flute in a top-of-the-line Bentley. No longer were the sugar cane fields all around her; only yellow Model T Ford taxis ran along the grid-like streets of New York City’s Upper East Side. She smiled easily with her mouth and her eyes gleamed like stars and only the cleverest of observers could notice that she had become how she’d been treated: hard and beautiful like the 10-carat diamond she was wearing.

Sometimes she’d come to these top society parties with the oldest Italian brother. He was the American-born son of a couple of Sicilians—whom she had met in Hollywood. Before she’d been someone. Before she’d been anyone. He’d always loved her. He had always been by her side and offered her protection; behind his gangster exterior and terrible temper, he had a warm heart but woe to the john, woe to anyone who tried to take liberties with her.



As good as he was, however, the Italian was not like the American who was head and shoulders above the hundreds of men she had known. She had first laid sights on him when she was fourteen and she had said not a word; she had listened to him speak for forty-five minutes and the moment was fixed in time. He transfixed her. She wouldn’t speak because she couldn’t get enough of his melodious voice. It seemed to go up and down like the sand dunes all round them.

The American, did not seem to be dominated by a rigid class structure like the other English boys. He was a god to her, someone gentle but removed, cultivated yet tough, a Jewish war hero whom she loved above all others. He sailed along in front of her as she reached out to him; she grabbed bits of his clothing and touched his hair, only to see that her hands held nothing. He looked back and smiled warmly at her—yes he still loved her, that was obvious—but he had made himself unattainable.

There was a Blond with blue eyes and a Slavic face running neck and neck with her and reaching out to the American. She gave her a dirty look but the Blond would not take the hint; the Blond treated her as if she did not exist. The Blond was beginning to gain on her.

Her body began to fail her and her legs shriveled up. Her skin was flaking too, the white exterior falling off as dirty black patches appeared beneath. How had she become so black? She was on her hands and knees; Madams reeking of cheap perfume in brothels manhandled her breasts and patted her backside.

Suddenly, she rose above them all and rejoined the American. She pushed Mario and the Blond away and locked her arm in the American’s as they walked along imperiously by the sea. They suffered the looks of disapproving passers-by: these people were all put off by a white man walking hand in hand with a black woman but how black was she? Was she even black? She had always been told how white she looked!

The overhead Pacific sun scintillated off a hypodermic needle; a stray breeze carried a whiff of his clean body scrub into her nostrils as her inner thighs squeezed with pleasure. He was riding her like a stallion now in their hotel room; the walls were decorated with pink flamingoes and palm trees, lilies of the Valley and purple and red Azaleas. Two tall Champagne flutes reflected the setting rays of the early winter sun while he thrashed



above her; they were like two opposing crashing waves meeting full on as they climaxed together and then fell off to the side of the bed.

As they lay there quietly, she suddenly heard the Italian stomping outside like a mean giant. The American grabbed his clothes and darted onto the veranda. Like the pro she was, she bluffed the Italian into waiting for her as the American bolted out another door.

She turned around and the Italian was bent over holding his stomach. There was a film producer looking at her while the American sat in front of a row of policemen, each looking more cynical than the next one. And she sat down and cried until thick tears ran down her cheeks, carrying with them the sledge of caked eyeliner and pancake make-up.

The American was getting married today—to someone else–after twelve years with her.

She felt herself coming apart and considered all the men in the world who were in love with her. However, a black woman (no matter how white-looking) could not really go out and marry a white man. A huge white wave of water was coming straight at her. The wave was enormous, as big as a mountain. She looked up over the wave and saw blue sky and vast expanses of sugar cane fields surrounded by palm trees.

The wave came crashing down as she soared up through it like a phoenix landing in tall blades of sugar cane.



Chapter 2: Michael


Lieutenant Michael Green waved to the cameraman hoisted on a lifeboat on the edge of a packed troop ship as it slowly edged its way towards the pier. Or rather he tried to wave but he had trouble raising his arm because he was packed in tight next to all the other soldiers in their dark green and khaki uniforms. The first challenge for the cameraman was to fit everyone into the picture; the second was to get them all to smile. Especially as they were almost back home in the US—which was New York for some of them, including Michael.

He looked around at the haggard faces of the young men, made old before their time. They smiled through broken and missing teeth. Some even raised stumps to wave at the Cameraman, others waved their crutches.

The light bulb flashed; the men were now history.

“Throw the lines.”

The Great War was over. And so were many lives. Michael had only been gone a year. Many of his comrades still lay buried in the French mud of No Man’s Land. The returning troops on the ship were supposedly fortunate in that they had their lives to live but many of them had returned shell-shocked, missing limbs and facing a life of hell in the peaceful decade to come.

He was one of the lucky ones. Only the slight limp gave away the fact that he had been injured. He massaged his left thigh as he had been doing ever since the German knife blade had been removed. The injury only seemed to bother him in damp weather or strangely, when he was worried, or stressed out. The



doctor had even suggested it was a psychologically induced pain, but that little jaunt across No Man’s Land with a knife stuck in his thigh convinced him otherwise.

He looked across the deck to where the seriously injured soldiers had been placed. A caved-in eye here, a man with no ear there…A tear came to his eyes as the extent of their mutilated bodies became evident. Then he looked back at the quayside and realized what was missing.

There were no cheering crowds. No marching bands.

The heroes of the Great War had returned to America and were being ignored!

Michael hailed a taxicab and told the driver to go to Central Park West. He was surprised it was no longer a horse- drawn carriage; instead, it was a Model T Ford painted bright yellow. The cab had a number on the side and beside it was the name of the firm, “Yellow Cab.” Michael had expected to be picked up in a somber horse-driven vehicle but so much had changed in a year. By the docks there was still the smell of rotten vegetables but here in the city there was a lot less manure and now he thought of it, a lot fewer horses too. Everywhere he looked there were automobiles zipping around the slow-trotting horses.

Within no time, the taxi pulled up in front of the Dakota mansion on the Upper-West side. He paid his fare, gave the driver a small tip with the little money he still had on him after a year abroad, and stepped out. Gazing up at the Renaissance style of the thirty-year-old building, he felt the sun on his back on this beautiful June morning. He hadn’t told people when he was coming because he wanted to surprise them with his return; he also wanted to experience New York alone. He thought about the huge Fifth Avenue villa he had lived in as a child but his Austrian mother Ruth had found it too difficult to maintain with a reduced staff of servants and they had moved here. And he was fine here, at least for a few days. The Dakota was far more beautiful. Even though it was not as beautiful as the person hopefully awaiting him on the West Coast? He hadn’t seen her in nine months, a lifetime in Hollywood. A smile came to his lips as he felt the warmth of the sun on the erection in his pants.



He looked up again at the Dakota and was surprised to see his mother staring down at him.

“I’ve been watching you for two minutes, Michael,” she called out in her upper crust British Accented English. “What on earth are you thinking about? Come on up!”

Any other mother would have waved to him from the window and run down to greet him. But not Ruth Green. At first she was surprised to see him staring at their building. She had been waiting for months to see him, not knowing if he was dead or not, and now there he was—alive—and staring into space?

As she waited for him to come up in the elevator, she realized he was not just a son coming home to mama. He had been through a lot and stood for something now: the United States of America.