…and how to bring them to heel, or how I learned to stop worrying and love their resistance.”(34)
…I had owned Robert for five days at this point. He had, just to remind you:
* Broken a window and bent a safety grate
* Burnt down the tool shed in the back
* Beaten up three other slaves
* Broken my nose (accidentally)
He had also withstood:
* limited meals
* scorn and verbal shaming
* physical punishment, including the belt
* and more isolation.
We were now at the point where I was ready to do just about anything, just to make him listen. I found myself staring at him – chained in my wine cellar, panting, with his face and his feet bloody, the former from the police he had fought and the latter in my last attempt to make him listen. And it clicked.
“All right.” I pulled up a chair – a barrel, to be specific – and sat down. “Clearly, this is not working.”
“No shit, Sherlock.”
“Why are you being so difficult?” I admit, I probably sounded a bit petulant.
“I don’t want to be here.” He yanked against the chains. “I don’t want to be your little pet.” Another yank, digging the metal into his already-bleeding wrists. “And I don’t know what the hell you want from me.”
I have mentioned I’d never owned an American slave before. It was a bit of a revelation. “They didn’t explain it to you, in the market?”
“They told me to sit down and shut up. If all you wanted was ‘sit down and shut up,’ we probably wouldn’t be sitting in this dungeon.”
“It’s a wine cellar.” I waved my hand. “All right.” I made a decision, sitting there in that cellar. It wasn’t normal; it wasn’t in any of the advice books about keeping slaves. But slaves are, after all, people. And I was going to have to work with the person I had. “I’ll make you a deal.”
If you want more, oh, there’s got to be a lot more.
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