Thank You Ma'am


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  • "Thank You Ma'am"
  • It was about eleven o’clock at night, and a large woman was walking home alone, when a boy ran up behind her and tried to snatch her purse. The strap broke with the single tug the boy gave it from behind. The boy’s weight and the weight of the purse combined caused him to lose his balance so, instead of taking off full blast as he had hoped, the boy fell on his back on the sidewalk, and his legs flew up. The large woman then she reached down, picked the boy up by and shook him until his teeth rattled.
  • Sweat popped out on the boy’s face and he began to struggle. Mrs. Jones stopped, jerked him around in front of her, put a half-nelson about his neck, and continued to drag him up the street. When she got to her door, she dragged the boy inside, down a hall, and into a large kitchenette-furnished room at the rear of the house. She switched on the light and left the door open.
  • She said, “What is your name?” “Roger,” answered the boy. “Then, Roger, you go to that sink and wash your face,” said the woman, whereupon she turned him loose—at last. Roger looked at the door—looked at the woman—looked at the door—and went to the sink. Let the water run until it gets warm,” she said. “Here’s a clean towel.” “You gonna take me to jail?” asked the boy, bending over the sink. “Not with that face, I would not take you nowhere,” said the woman. “Here I am trying to get home to cook me a bite to eat and you snatch my pocketbook! Maybe, you ain’t been to your supper either, late as it be. Have you?” “There’s nobody home at my house,” said the boy.“Then we’ll eat,” said the woman, “I believe you’re hungry—or been hungry—to try to snatch my pocketbook.” “I wanted a pair of blue suede shoes,” said the boy. “Well, you didn’t have to snatch my pocketbook to get some suede shoes,” said Mrs. Luella Bates Washington Jones. “You could of asked me.”
  • Mrs. Jones got up and went behind the screen. The woman did not watch the boy when she was cooking to see if he was going to r,nor did she watch her purse, But the boy took care to sit on the far side of the room where he thought she could easily see him out of the corner of her eye. He didn't trust the woman not to trust him. He did not want to be mistrusted now. She heated some lima beans and ham she had in the icebox, made the cocoa, and set the table. The woman did not ask the boy anything about where he lived, or his folks, or anything else that would embarrass him. Instead, as they ate, she told him about her job in a hotel beauty-shop that stayed open late, what the work was like, and how all kinds of women came in and out, blondes,red-heads, and Spanish. Then she cut him a half of her ten-cent cake. “Eat some more, son,” she said. When they were finished eating she got up and said, “Now, here, take this ten dollars and buy yourself some blue suede shoes. And next time, do not make the mistake of latching onto my pocketbook nor nobody else’s—because shoes come by devilish like that will burn your feet. I got to get my rest now. But I wish you would behave yourself, son, from here on in.”
  • Don't take from others because people work for what they want and have.
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