Moses never had a last name, but that never bothered him.
Not much ever bothered Moses, to be honest. His master said it was on account of him being simple. But, then again, his master fled the city instead of getting sent off to fight, and Moses didn’t put much stake in the word of a coward.
That Italian organ player man had bothered Mosses, though. He stank of liquor and wouldn’t leave him alone.
That was when all this trouble started.
“Pormorcameran,” Moses whispered to himself, looking up at the gallows. It was a word he’d made up as a boy. It rolled around in his mouth like a candy every time he said it, and he liked that. It was a comfort they couldn’t take away from him.
He repeated it again as he watched them slip the noose round that other man’s neck. Isaac, he’d called himself. Moses had been locked up with him since hitting that organ player man harder than he meant to, accidentally sending him onto salvation.
Moses says his word again as Isaac takes a short, sharp drop.
Then, the men in uniforms turn toward him.
“Pormorcameran,” Moses says, for the final time.
Isaac and Moses were the first men legally executed by the government of the city of Memphis, both for the crime of murder. But, in the records, they make note that Moses was not mentally sound, but knew enough of his Bible to be considered fit to execute. They were both black.