Thursday, August 7, 2008

Rustic Charm

This week, our motley Midwestern pair journeys to the Southland, seeking shelter, companionship, and a safe place to make a pit stop.

You know, Mandy, Texas will be a big change from what you’re used to in the Midwest.

Beau, I did relocate from Ohio to Indiana for grad school, remember? Talk about culture shock ...

Ooo, look! There goes one of those pretty red flags!

Yeah, well, you’ll probably encounter some things in Texas that you aren’t accustomed to.

You mean black people? You know, you aren’t the first black guy that I’ve dated, Beau.

Oh yeah?

Back in private school, an Egyptian exchange student—he had this plush off-campus apartment, a Mercedes 220—

OK, not quite the same thing.

Hey, look! That guy’s got one of those pretty red flags on his license plate!

You see, in the South, where minorities are more prevalent, people of different races are competing for jobs, which creates resentment, and often results in—

Affirmative action? Give me some credit, Beau. I already know about that. In fact, my supervisor at my new job in Texas is West African. His name’s Akwasi. … Akwasi!

That’s great, Mandy. But we being a mixed-race couple … folks’ reaction to our living together might—

Speaking of which, I’ve signed a lease for a house.

What? When?

I faxed it before we left Indiana.

Mandy, I thought we were going to look at places once we got to—

Relax, the landlord completely describes it in the advertisement online. It says the neighborhood has a “rustic charm.”

… That’s what I’m afraid of.

Beau, you’re so cute when you worry. Listen, I’m a tough girl. In Cincinnati, growing up, there were some neighborhoods you just didn’t go into because you knew if you did, you’d get messed up.

That’s … not making me feel any better.

I’ve got to use the restroom. I’m going to pull over at this gas station—

Mandy, uh, let’s drive on to the next one.

But it’s got one of those pretty red flags in the—

OK, I think it’s time we had another talk, about those flags.

In Texas

Here it is! Home Sweet Home, just like it’s described in the ad.

“Ranch-style with a garage” typically doesn’t mean a shack with a lean-to carport in the side yard.

But here’s the shady pecan tree the advertisement talked about. And the “noble fir” standing by the front door.

…Half of its branches dead and coated in lichen. And I thought the ad said this place was in a cul-de-sac. It’s on a dead end road.

Potato, patatta. Besides, look at where the road ends: a huge, newly built mansion. The ad did say that the neighborhood’s property value is on the rise.

Yeah, maybe they’ll hop the barbed-wire fence bordering their property to bring us a housewarming gift.

Aren’t you negative ninny? I thought you said you’d try to stay positive.

You’re right, you’re right. Look, I’ll go introduce myself to the neighbor across the street.


That’s a pretty pup you got there. Pit bull, right? What’s it chewing on, an old teddy bear?

Looks like one of the stray cats didn’t read the “Beware of Dog” sign.

Oh … My name’s Beau, moving in across the street.


And your name?


Good to meet you.

Hey-oh, you think I could borrow eight dollars till the end of the week?



I’ll pay you right back on Friday.

I, uh ...

Hi, how are you? I’m Mandy!

I’ll get it right back to you by the end of the week.

What's going on?

Mandy, this is Lester. He’s asking to borrow some money.

Oh! No, we’re both thousands of dollars in debt, ourselves, from college.

Yeah, I don’t even have a job yet.

Hey-oh, just till the end of the week.

We’re sorry.

Nice to meet you!

He smelled like alcohol. There were crushed High Life cans all over his yard.

Well, you two seemed to hit it off!

… Stay positive … Stay positive


Let’s go inside and see about these “floor-to-ceiling walls” and “fully operational light switches” the ad talks about.

The next day

Akwasi! So good to meet you! Thanks for coming to help us move in! Did you find the house alright?

Yes, but I had to double back home to get my less expenseef car before driving into thees neighborhood.

Great! Well, as you can see, we just got here. Where’s Beau? I want you to meet my boyfriend.

I belief he ees outside, eef he’s the big fellow hefting the boxes.

There he is. Beau! Come meet Akwasi!

Hey, nice to meet you. Sure do appreciate the help.

How can I be of service?

This Uhaul truck is full of stuff. If you could help lug some of the boxes inside, that’d be great.

Sure. But my back, you see, has been hurting recently.

Oh, no! Are you OK?

Yes, I jas don’t want to overexert eet.

Well you could slide boxes to the edge of the truck bed to keep me from having to climb in and out—

Sure. But the heat … I am jas getting ova a stomach flu. I would not want to upset eet again.

Oh, no! Well, Akwasi, you come right in with me into the air conditioning and help me unpack these boxes.

Ah! Now that, I can do!



Hey there, Lester!


Don’t suppose you want to help me unload boxes?

For thirty bucks…

Never mind.

A little later

Welp, it took three hours, but I finally got the whole truck unloaded.

Great! Thanks, honey. We’re still unpacking.

What ees thees curious article of clothing?

Oh, ha ha! That's a tank top T-shirt, affectionately called a "wife-beater" here in the States.

Oh, charming! … Ha ha! Eet seems to be the preferred mode of dress of males in this area. Ha ha!


Ha ha!


Ha ha!


Ha ha!

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

Beau, where are you going?

Across the street to see if Lester has any more High Life.


Abdel Shakur said...

Daaam! That is freaking funny, yo! I love the concept and I love this art. I just hope you don't get yourself kicked out the house. Great work.

candice said...

haha....akwesi is really amused by that tshirt. too funny.

Jackson Brown said...

Ha ha, thanks y'all.

Yeah, hopefully I can stay in the house. The next couple comics are going to be pretty out there.

Ira said...

Awesome! I love it. Hope you're enjoying the high life down there.

Aaron & Ellen said...

dude, ellen just found this on the web somehow. pretty killer. talk to you soon.


Abdel Shakur said..., Beau finds himself in the middle of two very different kinds of Blackness: 1. Lester, who is from Texas, "keeps it real", and wears a wife beater. 2. Akwasi, who represents an "authentic" African perspective, but is really just faking the funk. (Plus, I suspect he's trying to get at Beau's girl through their shared connection to the academic sphere.)
It's even funnier (more real) because for all of their talking, both of them Negroes watch as Beau has to lug all them boxes by himself.

This is good.

PS: Dang, you really put the swolls on Beau, huh? I ain't mad.

Abdel Shakur said...

Please excuse my Notice and Focus.

Jackson Brown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jackson Brown said...

The High Life's never been better. :-) Hope Indiana's treating you well.

'preciate it, mang.

Nah, thanks for the close reading. Observations like that are cool 'cause they make it seem like I put far more thought into this thing than I actually did.

Yeah, until Beau really gets grounded in Texas, he's gonna drift a quite bit, himself, across the black ideological spectrum.

Haha, yeah, Beau's pretty cut; maybe he was a HPER major at Indiana. He gets even more revealing in this week's comic. >:-D

Shawna said...

very amused. and possibly even more amused by abdel's Notice and Focus. :)

found you through abdel's blog.

Jackson Brown said...

Ha ha, thanks.

I've added "ainsliebaby" to the links list so now folks can find you through this blog. :-)

Vanessa said...

I just read this again. The drive down to Texas reminds me of our collective trip through West Virginia. Seriously, why did we go to West Virginia? I can't remember.

Jackson Brown said...

I think the rationale was something along the lines of, "Wow, if the leaves changing looks this pretty in Bloomington, it must look _REALLY_ pretty in the mountains!"

And hence we embarked on a weekend journey of several hundred miles through alien territory in a rental car.

So young, so poetic.