Thursday, February 10, 2011

"Freedom"

On January 1, 1863 the Emancipation Proclamation immediately freed an estimated 20,000 slaves in Union-controlled territory. I imagine it was difficult for slave owners to break the news.

Archibald Buxton III: I’m sure you are all wondering why I have gathered you here today in this magnificent barn that you all built for me. Truly, um, beautiful craftsmanship.
Toby: Is there anything we can do for you, master?
Archibald Buxton III: No, thank you, Toby. Have I ever told you how handsome you are? You are also very smart and I really consider you a close friend. Very good friend. I consider you and I to be on the same side, yes, we’d never harm each other.
Toby: Well thank you, master.
Jim: What is the news, sir?
Archibald Buxton III: Of course, of course, Jim. You are so very strong. So incredibly strong. Hands that could rip a man in two. Hands that could really inflict a world-class beating. Have I ever told you how thankful I am for all of your help these past twenty years? You’re one of the best men I’ve ever known and surely you will never use your incredible power to rip a man in two or maybe pull his arms out and beat him with them.
Jim: Thank you, sir. I’ve never heard such compliments from you.
Archibald Buxton III: Well then, here goes. It is blazing hot in here. Word came in this morning about some legislation from Washington. It seems…It seems that as of today you are all, um, free to go.
Toby: Free to go?
Archibald Buxton III: Yes…yes. Let me check again here…Man, it is hot in here. Yes, free to go, free to use those big strong arms to plant flowers, maybe, or give someone a big hug. Not, you know, punch a man's teeth out or rip anyone in half.
Jim: So we don’t have to work for your family anymore?
Archibald Buxton III: Yes, you are absolutely right, my kind, product-of-our-times family is thankful for your help and for all the labor you gave us with those powerful legs that could shatter a man's ribs with one kick, but of course you wouldn't do that, right? I mean, look, there’s no need to get violent here, right? I mean, Jesus, those biceps. That strength. I’ve seen you all rip trees from the earth. I’ll just…Look, you know what? Here, just let me take care of it for you. I’ll just go ahead and pop my own eyeballs out, okay? Will that be okay?
Toby: Mr. Buxton—
Archibald Buxton III: Aaahh! There goes one. Wow, Toby, you still look strong as an ox even from one eye. Strong enough to pull a man’s head right off his body. Good lord, my knees are quaking and this blood is cascading down my face. There’s no need to use those burly biceps to rips my arms out, right? You could pop a man’s head like a zit. Look, look, here, I’ll do it for you, go ahead and rip this arm right out. Owww! There! It’s done, okay! My arm is out and now I’ll just go ahead and beat myself with it for you! No need to get violent here! I don’t want anyone to, I don’t know, take any revenge. I’ll just whack myself in the face with my limp, bleeding arm over and over! No violence, my wonderful workers! You are all so great! No need to hurt anyone! Oww!
Jim: We’ll be leaving now, Mr. Buxton.
Archibald Buxton III: Oww!

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