Summary: Explaining why Adam became the Man in Black.
Rated: K (715 words)
Man in Black
He started wearing black all of the sudden. That first morning he had descended in black from boot to brim we had watched quietly and wondered if he was in mourning for something we had yet to learn of or if it was just a coincidence. But then it became a habit. He was always in black. His mood hadn’t changed. He didn’t appear to be in any deep sorrow or turmoil and we never did hear of anyone close to him, here or back East, who might have died.
We had to wonder about it. No one felt like coming straight out and askin’, so it remained a mystery. After all, we all had our favourite articles of clothing too. I had my special hat and Joe wouldn’t be caught anywhere without that green coat of his. Even Pa seemed to wear that vest of his more often than not, so we remained silent about the whole matter.
As time passed I couldn’t help but making theories about Adam’s dark attire. Perhaps, I figured, it gave him that mysterious edge that sure never hurt him when charmin’ a lady. But then, it wasn’t Little Joe we were talkin’ about. I’d never put it past Joe to change his wardrobe to impress the ladies, but Adam? No, there had to be a better reason. So, I continued to ponder it on quiet days or long trail rides. Just what was the better reason?
Then one day it came to me. It came just as suddenly as Adam started wearin’ the black. It was in mourning. Just not the type you first think about. He was mourning for mankind. That was just the sort of thing Adam would do. He would wear black for the poor, the lonely, the helpless, and the hungry. He’d wear black for those who would never see justice served and for those living, or dying, under the miscarriage of justice. Yes, he would wear black for those, for the less fortunate, for those who struggled, those who senselessly died.
I started respectin’ my elder brother a little more after that, and I lived with that theory until yesterday when Adam and I were ridin’ toward town.
“Sure is hot out here,” he tugged at his collar as he spoke. “All this black doesn’t help any.”
I hadn’t really thought about that as being one of the sacrifices my brother made in wearing black all of the time. And somehow part of my musings turned into words. “I guess that’s a sacrifice you always make for mankind.”
“I what?” Adam glanced back at me stopping his horse.
“You know,” I smiled, hoping I wasn’t embarrassing him. “How you try to carry off a little bit of the darkness of humanity on your back.” I admit it sounded better in my thoughts.
“Hoss, what are you talking about,” he was starting to look worried. “Maybe we should head back.”
“I’m talking about why you wear black. Why you really wear black.” I was glad that Adam would at last know that someone understood and supported him. “How you’re sorta protesting the way things are. How mankind…”
“Hoss,” my brother stopped me, “I wear black because I’m color blind. It’s just easier if I know all my clothes go with each other. I got tired of always asking Hop Sing to help every morning.”
“Oh,” was all I said. It was all I could say, and, after I convinced Adam that I didn’t have heat stroke, we continued on to town. I won’t never tell Little Joe about this because he has a way of getting me to say more than I wanted to in the first place. No, I think I’ll just keep all this to myself.
Thank you for reading. This was un-betad so all mistakes are mine 🙂
Thanks to Johnny Cash and his song “Man in Black” that inspired the challenge and this short story.
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters and settings are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. No money is being made from this work. No copyright infringement is intended.
Other Stories by this Author
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- The Last Bullet (by BnzaGal)
- Our Little Joe (by BnzaGal)
- Farewell (by BnzaGal)
- A Lost Bonanza (by BnzaGal)