“Come here, gal, and let me get a look at ya,” said the old man.
Kennia played meek and dumb for all she was worth.
“Do you mean me, sir? I’m just doin’ the cleanin’, sir. It gets powerful dirty here sometimes. It surely does.”
“Never mind that. I told you to come over here where I can see ya. Stand by that lamp.” The old man pointed at the one he meant.
“Yes sir. Just as soon as I get done cleanin’ sir.” Kennia answered. She was so nervous at this point that she almost wasn’t acting the tremor in her voice. She was not about to let him get a good look at her face. Kennia knew that her best asset was the fact that poor women aren’t noticed much. She was just a pair of hands and a scrub brush to most of the people she’d encountered while in disguise.
The old man became more and more insistent and his tone turned from cajoling to spiteful.
“Now look here, colored gal. I just told you to come over by this lamp. Are you feeble-minded? When you get an order, you obey it!”
“Yes sir. I’ve got my cleanin’ to do, sir. Please just let me go about my business.” Kennia tried to circle round the fellow so that she could exit from the only door. Unfortunately, he was prepared and stepped between her and the door. He took another step towards her and reached for her arm. She quickly jumped out of his reach which made him even angrier.
“Now I won’t be sassed by some uppity colored gal, do ya hear me?”
“Just let me be sir and I’ll just get goin’ on my way. I don’t want no trouble or nuthin’” She made one last attempt to reach the door but Kennia could see that playing dumb wasn’t working. She smiled grimly yet the old man was too enraged to notice.
The old man took one more step towards her only to find himself being spun about and his right arm twisted behind his back. Kennia wrapped her right arm around his throat, allowing him barely enough air to keep him conscious.
“I ain’t no “colored gal” and I sure as hell ain’t no plaything!” she hissed. The man gave a surprised grunt in response. “I expect you have a habit of wandering around here, sneaking up on the good-looking gals and seeing what you can get away with. I don’t play that nonsense. Now I expect that you will not be cooperative so I’m just gonna tie you up for safe-keeping. I expect someone will find you tomorrow morning and let you loose. But you might not want to tell them how you got this way. Might sound kinda embarrassing in fact.” As she spoke, Kennia deftly slipped a bit of cord around the right wrist and then the left. His face was red from rage even though he still couldn’t manage to shout for help. Kennia took some of her cleaning rags and stuffed them into his mouth, being sure to tie one around his head to hold the others in place. Then she tied his ankles as well. As soon as she released her grip on him, the old man sank to the floor, completely helpless although still angry enough to struggle.