Chapters 13-14 Summary
Jacques Thibeaux (Tee Jack) is the narrator. He runs a saloon visited mostly by the White members of the community. There was a “nigger room” before desegregation, after which the Black people refused to use it. When Tee Jack made it clear they were not welcome any place but the “nigger room,” they stopped coming. On this evening as on every evening, Jack Marshall (owner of the Marshall Plantation and Candy’s uncle) is sitting in his usual spot. There is also a nameless stranger who sits quietly and watches the other customers.
Luke Will and his gang come in and order a bottle of whiskey and some Cokes. Tee Jack is nervous because the gang is known to throw poisonous snakes in Black churches and tip over Black school buses. He avoids talking about Beau Boutan’s murder but Robert, another customer, brings it up. Marshall seems indifferent even though one of “his people” is accused. Marshall claims they are Candy’s people, not his. Everyone is shocked to learn that Fix’s sons have talked him out of taking revenge. Luke Will suggests that they lynch Mathu on their own. The stranger, whom they discover is a professor at a nearby university, says those days are over. Luke Will and his gang suggest to the professor that it is time for him to leave. Jack Marshall gets up to leave, and the professor begs him to stop what is about to happen on his land. Marshall tells the professor to go back to Texas, where he is originally from. Tee Jack is left alone with Luke Will and his gang, which makes him nervous; he knows how quickly they can turn violent.
Albert Jackson (Rooster) narrates now. After Miss Merle leaves, the men continue to stand around and wait. Mapes, who has talked to Russell, tells them Fix is not coming because Gil and Jean talked him out of it. He asks Mathu if he is ready to leave, and Mathu states that he is. The other men object and try to block them from leaving. Clatoo requests a few minutes to talk with Mathu alone. When the other men come along, Candy also tries to join them, but Clatoo says that the meeting is just for men. Candy becomes angry and tells the men that if they let Mathu go, she will throw them off the plantation. Lou confronts her and says the men are not her slaves. She is willing to stand between them and the law only if they do what she says. Eventually Lou picks her up and puts her in her car. As the men are talking inside, Charlie shows up and tells someone to go get the law.