Wednesday, June 8, 2011

#90 The Best of Simple by Langston Hughes

1950s Harlem. Two men walk into a bar.

1st Man: How are things?

2nd Man: Terrible. Wife won’t pay for divorce, my main-girl actin’ cold, side-girl drinks up my money, landlady wants rent, my bunions hurt, and me bein’ a Negro, white people won’t let me get ahead.

1st Man: What are you going to do?

2nd Man: Get you to buy me a glass of beer. At least there will be a head on that.

Jesse B. Semple, the affable Simple character of Hughes’ stories, would be that second man. Uneducated, but not simple-minded, Simple muses on everything from the A-bomb to the A-Train— simply, humorously, talkin’ the blues.

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