Terrance Crooms's Blog

January 10, 2014

While stayng as a guest with the Crooms family of Eatonville, Florida, Zora Neale Hurston published "The Eatonville Anthology" in the fall of 1926 in "The Messenger magazine". "Eatonville Anthology" consisted of fourteen short stories which had people from the town as the subjects. As a tribute, short story number twelve is called "The Head of the Nail" & has members of the Crooms as the subject.



The Head of the Nail
Daisy Taylor was the town vamp. Not that she was pretty. But sirens were all but non?existent in the town. Perhaps she was forced to it by circumstances. She was quite dark, with little brushy patches of hair squatting over . her head. These were held down by shingle?nails often. No one knows whether she did this for artistic effect or for lack of hair?pins, but there they were shining in the little patches of hair when she got all dressed for the afternoon and came up to Clarke's store to see if there was any mail for her.

It was seldom that anyone wrote to Daisy, but she knew that the men of the town would be assembled there by five o'clock, and some one could usually be induced to buy her some soda?water or peanuts.

Daisy flirted with married men. There were only two single men in town. Lum Boger, who was engaged to the assistant schoolteacher, and Hiram Lester, who had been off to school at Tuskegee and wouldn't look at a person like Daisy. In addition to other drawbacks, she was pigeon-toed and her petticoat was always showing so perhaps he was justified. There was nothing else to do except flirt with married men.

This went on for a long time. First one wife then another complained of her, or drove her from the preserves by threat.

But the affair with Crooms was the most prolonged and serious. He was even known to have bought her a pair of shoes.

Mrs. Laura Crooms was a meek little woman who took all of her troubles crying, and talked a great deal of leaving things in the hands of God.

The affair came to a head one night in orange picking time. Crooms was over at Oneido picking oranges. Many fruit pickers move from one town to the other during the season.

The town was collected at the store?postoffice as is customary on Saturday nights. The town has had its bath and with its week's pay in pocket fares forth to be merry. The men tell stories and treat the ladies to soda?water, peanuts and peppermint candy. Daisy was trying to get treats, but the porch was cold to her that night.

"Ah don't keer if you don't treat me. What's a dirty M nickel?" She flung this at Walter Thomas. "The everloving Mister Crooms will gimme anything atall Ah wants."

"You better shet up yo' mouf talking 'bout Albert Crooms. Heah his wife comes right now."

Daisy went akimbo. "Who? Me! Ah don't keer whut Laura Crooms think. If she ain't a heavy hip?ted Marna enough to keep him, she don't need to come crying to me."

She stood making goo-goo eyes as Mrs. Crooms walked upon the porch. Daisy laughed loud, made several references to Albert Crooms, and when she saw the mail?bag come in from Maitland she said, "Ah better go in an' see if Ah ain't got a letter from Oneido."

The more Daisy played the game of getting Mrs. Crooms' goat, the better she liked it. She ran in and out of the store laughing until she could scarcely stand. Some of the people present began to talk to Mrs. Crooms?to egg her on to halt Daisy's boasting, but she was for leaving it all in the hands of God. Walter Thomas kept on after Mrs. Crooms until she stiffened and resolved to fight. Daisy was inside when she came to this resolve and never dreamed anything of the kind could happen. She had gotten hold of an envelope and came laughing and shouting, "Oh, Ah can't stand to see Oneido lose!"

There was a box of ax?handles on display on the porch, propped up against the door jamb. As Daisy stepped upon the porch, Mrs. Crooms leaned the heavy end of one of those handles heavily upon her head. She staggered from the porch to the ground and the tin?Ad Laura, fearful of a counter?attack, struck again and Daisy toppled into the town ditch. There was not enough water in there to do more than muss her up. Every time she tried to rise, down would come that ax?handle again. Laura was fighting a scared fight. With Daisy thoroughly licked, she retired to the store porch and left her fallen enemy in the ditch. None of the men helped

Daisy?even to get out of the ditch. But Elijah Moseley, who was some distance down the street when the trouble began, arrived as the victor was withdrawing. He rushed up and picked Daisy out of the mud and began feeling her head.

"Is she hurt much?" Joe Clarke asked from the doorway.

"I don't know," Elijah answered, "I was just looking to see if Laura had been lucky enough to hit one of those nails on the head and drive it in.

Before a week was up, Daisy moved to Orlando. There in a wider sphere, perhaps, her talents as a vamp were appreciated.

http://zoranealehurston.com/





 •  flag
0 comments
like  • 
Published on January 10, 2014 08:54 • 11 views

August 10, 2013

While down south in the Army, I wanted to hang out with some locals so I could get a good vibe of the surrounding area. My roommate Lou & I met these 3 brothers who lived right outside the Army base. They knew the vicinity well & even though they had a strong southern drawl, they were originally from Panama & spoke fluent Spanish. There was the youngest, Gee & his two older twin brothers, Bert & Carlo. Gee was our age but the twins were older than Lou & me. Bert had himself together but Carlo had just came home from a stint. In our book that made him an OG so we began to follow his lead. Carlo knew we were looking for something to get into so one day he asked us if we’ve ever been to a “Juke joint”. A Juke joint? I’ve seen these places in the movies before but never in real life, so I was down. A juke joint sounded like a spot way out in the woods somewhere - where every man is for himself. Carlo could see the look of concern in my eyes so he handed me a piece & told me to stash it under my car seat. We then rode through the pitch black woods following behind the three brothers in a big blue 4 door ’72 Duece with dual pipes. They weren’t hard to miss so it was easy for me to keep up down the winding country roads. Eventually, the woods opened up & in the clearing was a rickety wooden shack with loud music bumping from inside. There was no parking lot, just cars parked in dirt all around the shack. When we got to the door, we were thoroughly searched & even had to take our shoes off. After passing the search, our hands were stamped & we were ushered along inside. There was no beer on tap or any wine - just moonshine – different grades with intriguing nicknames like “Donkey punch” & “Panther’s breath”. Some college & local girls dancing to the music but the dudes in there had a look about them that reminded us we were definitely way out in the backwoods. Carlo knew that once our hands were stamped at the front door, we could go out to the car – show the stamp – come right back in. Now was a good time to go to the car & get the piece from under the seat. I get outside & quickly slip the piece under my shirt. I use my hand stamp at the door like a badge & sure enough, soon as I’m back inside, Carlo is fighting with some dude over a girl. Out comes the piece in one swift motion – WHIP – right across the jaw & back under the shirt. My instinct was right about this place as no one seemed to care what just happened. Back to partying. I don’t recall the name of the club or where exactly it was, but this city boy will eternally remember his first experience in a good old fashioned Southern juke joint.
 •  flag
0 comments
like  • 
Published on August 10, 2013 05:32 • 29 views

September 30, 2012

Back in '91,  I joined the Army during a little skirmish called  "Operation Desert Shield".  By the time I completed training, the "shield" transformed to "storm" which quickly blew over.  I was stationed at Fort Jackson - way down South Carolina. I'm fresh from Jersey so this place is like a foreign country to me. A drill Sargent once almost hit me over head because I couldn't figure out how to refuel the truck. Jersey people never pumped our own gas - it's illegal.    After I survived that, I was assigned the duty of  Unit supply Sargent.  My office was at the front of the barracks & everyone that's first assigned to us had to come through me.  I would give the new soldiers a briefing on our daily routine. The Captain was a 26 year old Black woman who didn't take no mess. She used to tell me "I should have no reason to come in here."  There was an in & out box on my desk every morning & as long as I kept that "out" box full, she didn't have any reason to come in there.

 I usually played some music while I worked & as long as nobody complained, the Captain left me alone. One day Lou walks in my office & watches as soldiers bop up & down the hallway listening to Cypress Hill's "How can I just Kill a man".  "They let you play this?",  he asked. Uncle Sam likes happy little soldiers & this one likes Cypress Hill. He chilled with me the rest of that afternoon.  Lou was born in Puerto Rico but raised in The Bronx.  We felt like two long lost relatives who had finally found each other in this southern desolation.  So after duty, we jumped in my car & headed to the mall.  Lou had just completed his training & I thought he needed to hit the club, but first - shopping.   Like I said, it's '91 so Cross Colors were a must.  The louder & baggier the jeans, the better.  With white tees, dog tags, & our combat boots shined up, we had our best Jodeci look going on.  Lou drove a red Honda Civic & I just happened to whip a black '79 Accord.  We were 18 at the time so of course our whole paychecks went into tricking them out.  Rims, booming system, windows tinted - we were ready.  I asked him which ride we were taking.  He had an idea.  We would take both cars & ride low & slow one behind the other with Luke's "I wanna Rock" - bumping hard from both our speakers, simultaneously.  The plan worked because as we pulled up to the club, speakers thumping, all eyes were on us. There was a nice sized crowd out there & I felt like a rock star getting out of that '79 Accord.  We stepped up in the spot with mousse in our hair & pungent from gallons of Cool Water cologne . The club was jammed packed as well as the dance floor.  I'm ready to mingle with some lovely Southern belles, when I hear yells & shouts coming from the corner.  Of course it's Lou.  I run over to help when i get ambushed, too.  Apparently someones girlfriend was batting her eyes a little too hard over at Lou. Bouncers come flying from everywhere & its me & Lou who get tossed into the parking lot.  After that fiasco, Lou worked with me in the supply room.  The music kept us moving & we kept our soldiers fully prepared with a bop in their steps.  Twenty years have gone by & I lost touch with Lou but I hope he's somewhere still bopping. too.  [image error]
 •  flag
0 comments
like  • 
Published on September 30, 2012 09:30 • 25 views
Back in '91,  I joined the Army during a little skirmish called  "Operation Desert Shield".  By the time I completed training, the "shield" transformed to "storm" which quickly blew over.  I was stationed at Fort Jackson - way down South Carolina. I'm fresh from Jersey so this place is like a foreign country to me. A drill Sargent once almost hit me over head because I couldn't figure out how to refuel the truck. Jersey people never pumped our own gas - it's illegal.    After I survived that, I was assigned the duty of  Unit supply Sargent.  My office was at the front of the barracks & everyone that's first assigned to us had to come through me.  I would give the new soldiers a briefing on our daily routine. The Captain was a 26 year old Black woman who didn't take no mess. She used to tell me "I should have no reason to come in here."  There was an in & out box on my desk every morning & as long as I kept that "out" box full, she didn't have any reason to come in there. I usually played some music while I worked & as long as nobody complained, the Captain left me alone. One day Lou walks in my office & watches as soldiers bop up & down the hallway listening to Cypress Hill's "How can I just Kill a man".  "They let you play this?",  he asked. Uncle Sam likes happy little soldiers & this one likes Cypress Hill. He chilled with me the rest of that afternoon.  Lou was born in Puerto Rico but raised in The Bronx.  We felt like two long lost relatives who had finally found each other in this southern desolation.  So after duty, we jumped in my car & headed to the mall.  Lou had just completed his training & I thought he needed to hit the club, but first - shopping.   Like I said, it's '91 so Cross Colors were a must.  The louder & baggier the jeans, the better.  With white tees, dog tags, & our combat boots shined up, we had our best Jodeci look going on. 
Lou drove a red Honda Civic & I just happened to whip a black '79 Accord.  We were 18 at the time so of course our whole paychecks went into tricking them out.  Rims, booming system, windows tinted - we were ready.  I asked him which ride we were taking.  He had an idea.  We would take both cars & ride low & slow one behind the other with Luke's "I wanna Rock" - bumping hard from both our speakers, simultaneously.  The plan worked because as we pulled up to the club, speakers thumping, all eyes were on us. There was a nice sized crowd out there & I felt like a rock star getting out of that '79 Accord.  We stepped up in the spot with mousse in our hair & pungent from gallons of Cool Water cologne . The club was jammed packed as well as the dance floor.  I'm ready to mingle with some lovely Southern belles, when I hear yells & shouts coming from the corner.  Of course it's Lou.  I run over to help when i get ambushed, too.  Apparently someones girlfriend was batting her eyes a little too hard over at Lou. Bouncers come flying from everywhere & its me & Lou who get tossed into the parking lot.  After that fiasco, Lou worked with me in the supply room.  The music kept us moving & we kept our soldiers fully prepared with a bop in their steps.  Twenty years have gone by & I lost touch with Lou but I hope he's somewhere still bopping. too.  [image error]
 •  flag
0 comments
like  • 
Published on September 30, 2012 09:30 • 27 views

October 28, 2011

Stepped into the Rite-Aid early this morning to get a few things. Inside was just me, some young dude setting up a display, the manager, and one cashier. The normally conservative young manager had a different look about her today. She was rocking some tight khaki capris, a pair of wedge heels & blonde highlights in a tight new dew. She was running back and forth & shouting over at the dude trying to set up the display. I glanced over his direction. He had on a tight peach button up with the sleeves pulled up to his armpits.  A thin, shiny maroon tie with some dress pants that matched the tie. He also sported a tight new doo with the goatee all trim & crisp. I looked over at the cashier behind the counter. The older woman from Guyana looked back at me as she handed over my change.  With a dead look in her eye & blank stare, said "Ummmm Hmmm" All I could do was laugh & say "I just wish the very best for both of them".
[image error]
 •  flag
0 comments
like  • 
Published on October 28, 2011 07:29 • 29 views

September 15, 2011

It goes to the flow of Isaac Hayes' “Walk on by"

CLICK HERE TO HEAR "WALK ON BY"
Scene: Latenight with a light mist outside - We go inside of a dark bar with a nice 70's vibe - Harlem - A bald dude with a trim beard wearing all black with a long length leather trenchcoat - He puts his hand on his waist which exposes a holster - Isaac is doing his thing on the jukebox -  This foxy chic is dancing in a funky pantsuit - Blue with patches of orange & gold - Tight braids with splashes of tangerine & chocolate match her flavor - He digs what he sees - this chic got it together + she fine as hell  - look at her moves - her moves man - He's gotta have her - so he steps to her - He convinces her to split with him & come back to his pad - A smooth black Lincoln is parked out front  - He opens the door for her - Tangerine & chocolate fall over the seats & brighten the interior - Raindrops are running down the windshield & form small dots on the smooth black paint - The Lincoln slices through the night - Dark shadows are lurking about - She's watching the scene while he's diggin her in this whole scenario - She peers over & checks him out on the sly  - A gold chain & turtleneck but she'd kill for that coat - Nothing flashy - just tasteful - He has a clean baldy with a well trimmed beard - Everyone's waving as they cruise down the dark side streets - she feels safe with him - She decides maybe she should go check out his pad - she wants to see how a dude like this lives - They pull up to the curb in front of a classy pre war building - High ceilings & glossy marbles - everyone they walk by gives them love  when they speak - open the door to his pad – she pans over the fireplace - view of east river – the whole apartment is laid out - he switches on the Hi Fi surround sound and pours her a drink - Isaac's smooth flow melts her to the buttery soft couch - He comes over -They begin to vibe off one other - The heat is in the air between them but she not givin' in that easy - Her blue suit spreads its orange & gold patches all over black leather - He comes straight out & tells her how he feels - They kiss - Passionately - Isaac's violins scream in the background - He's really diggin her - she bolts for the door - he reaches towards her - "Don't go"  - Her tangerine chocolate braids splash over her face - that's the last vision he sees of her before she runs out - He looks out the window to the street to see if one of the shadows is her - She's gone.



                                     
[image error]
 •  flag
0 comments
like  • 
Published on September 15, 2011 08:19 • 38 views

September 12, 2011

You can still be a virgin at 40, trust me. If you never became hooked on someone by their electric physical attraction, paralleled with a vibe on an intense mental degree, then you've never experienced the beginnings of real passion.  If you have never endured that steamy physical heat connected with a penetrating mental flow towards one another, then you never experienced a passionate meltdown.  If you weren't connected by the same dreams & desires, which you can't picture achieving with anyone else, then you've never known real devotion. If you've never had all of this passion for one another combined, mixed together, & multiplied 1000 times over, then you've never known real love.  Until then you might as well still be a virgin. 

[image error]
 •  flag
0 comments
like  • 
Published on September 12, 2011 18:59 • 31 views
Around the 7th grade I thought I wasn't normal. Everyone else in my class groaned when we were assigned essays or reports usually due within the next two weeks.  I was thinking about going to the library and researching for something I knew the other students wouldn't think to write about.  I remember back when we had to do a written report about the Great Depression. When everyone else did subjects on the stock market crash or bread lines, I found a way to slide that on over towards the Harlem Renaissance.  From there I slid a little further over to a poet named Langston Hughes. He lived in Harlem during the Great Depression and wrote about things he saw going on every day.  He could draw these eloquent pictures in my mind which took me with him on a walk through Harlem during the rhythmic & rebellious 1920's.  I saw the prejudice and hunger people faced on a daily basis but I could also see the 10 cent rent parties/Friday night fish fry thrown in the landlord's honor. I heard the beautiful delicious sounds of uninhibited jazz music he listened to in the tiny clubs that he hung out in till the wee hours of dawn.  He was my first influence in creative writing. Through him I learned to write a report that took the reader back through time the way I saw it. I know the Great Depression was plagued with poverty and drought but how many times could you hear the same story told the same way?  I enjoyed digging a little deeper in order to tell my own version of the same story with a little jazz to brighten it up.
[image error]
 •  flag
0 comments
like  • 
Published on September 12, 2011 18:26 • 26 views

September 9, 2011

Real desire doesn't just resonate from what's in between a woman's thighs.  It's those eyes,  them lips, its that swivel in those hips.  It's how that dress silhouettes off her sexy shape even though she didn't mean for it to.  Her inner desire exposes itself thru her sassy attitude & the way she walks & talks.  It's how she knows she looks fine & lets it radiates off her essence like a warm glow.  It's how she has that look in her eyes like she wants to eat you alive but waits on you to make that first move.  It's how her mind is right, her thinking is tight & she's destined to shine.  She's sensuous & tantalizing without even trying. All these combined make me want her mine completely

[image error]
 •  flag
0 comments
like  • 
Published on September 09, 2011 10:26 • 32 views