Nigger screams, “Cracker!” and throws his arms up.

Cracker screams, “Nigger!” and throws his arms up.

All the violence-haters freeze mid-step to watch, craning their heads for a better view while children tug at their hands. Nigger and Cracker step toward each other and stop, a nose apart between noses. They hold their stare while the crowd salivates, like ice-cold venom in a rattlesnake’s jaw. Then Nigger and Cracker break out a laugh, slap hands, and pull into a hug.

“Four years,” Nigger says, and Cracker says, “Thanksgiving, man. Your momma made that big ass turkey dinner.”

“We ate till we couldn’t even move,” Nigger says.

Cracker says, “Rest of the night all we heard was—” and together they yell in a high woman’s voice, “Do the dishes! Do the dishes! Do the dishes!

Kevin Brown has been published in Alligator Juniper, sub-TERRAIN, Rosebud, and New Delta Review. He recently won the Permafrost Literary Journal’s Midnight Sun Fiction Contest, the Touchstone Fiction Prize, and placed third in the Cadenza Fiction Contest. He was nominated for the 2007 Best American Short Stories and a Journey Award.