K 3

The Divided States of America

by Tracie O'Neil Horton


Book Details

A controversial political thriller—or a glimpse into our future? K 3 is a timely, thought-provoking read for today’s audience.

K 3 is a book of fiction. Yet the racial crimes that occur in the first part of the book are real. Research into hate crimes committed in the United States yielded an abundance of unthinkable acts. How one human being could inflict such pain and suffering on another human being is mind boggling. The names were changed to accommodate the story. K 3 is a chilling story, because it is believable. Racial intolerance in the United States has Americans talking about another Civil War. The racial climate in the United States is a sandstorm brewing into a cyclone of hatred that will pummel the country to the ground. What can be done to stop it? The division of the states into racial provinces is the best solution. K 3 is a relevant, thought provoking tale of what can happen when the government takes matters into its own hands. K 3 is a tale of tragedy and trauma. Yet K 3 is also a story of love, hope, courage and faith in the human spirit. Read K 3 today. Available on Nook, Kindle, Amazon, Barnes and Noble and www.outskirtspress.com


Book Excerpt

It wasn't that Samuel disliked white folks. It was just that Samuel had a hard time adjusting to change. Gulf Shores had been an all-black town for years, to a time dating back to the post-Civil War era, when a handful of freed slaves staked some land and built houses upon it. Gulf Shores' roots ran deep, and Samuel found Joe Putorti an intrusion not only on his lifestyle, but also for all that his town stood for. And so, Mildred refused to go to the butcher shop. She had been firm with him, while appealing to his sense of what's right. “After all, Samuel, America is a free country. Joe Putorti is free to live wherever he chooses,” Mildred had argued one Friday as Samuel huffed out the door. “I know that, Mildred. But why here? If the man needs sunshine, why not go someplace else?” Mildred didn't have an answer for him, but she did know this: if Samuel wanted to eat, he'd have to buy the meat. There was no arguing with her. Mildred was a tiny woman. Her once black hair was now mostly gray, and she kept it in a loose bun fixed with combs on the top of her head. She was a full two feet shorter than Samuel. She looked like Samuel could knock her off her feet with a light blow of wind from his mouth. But Mildred had guts. She was tough, and when she was angry, Samuel did not want to mess with her. Samuel put his hand on the butcher shop’s door handle and opened it. When he stepped inside, Joe Putorti looked up at him and smiled. The shop was a clean one. Samuel couldn’t fault Joe for running a dirty business. The glass in front of the display case of slabs of meat was always clean. The meat slicers and the carving knives on the butcher’s block, located just behind and to the right of the meats, were sterilized after each use, so they always looked sparkling new. Even the meat freezer door in the back of the room sparkled, not a speck of dried meat or blood on it. Samuel knew the meat here was good. But that’s not what his problem was. “Mr. Johnson, how are ya?” The beefy butcher wiped his hands on his apron. “What'll it be today, ah? I got some nice pork chops here!” He indicated the pork as he went to the sink across from the butcher’s block to rinse off his hands. Samuel looked at Joe, and his frown sloped so low, he looked like Dr. Seuss’ Grinch. The butcher was a rough-looking sort, with big hairy arms that couldn't help going unnoticed because of the short-sleeved shirts the man always wore, and because they were so hairy. Joe had a huge head, its hugeness pronounced by the growing bald spot on the top of it, and the thinning gray hairs that circled around the bottom half of it. Samuel wished there were another butcher shop in town, with a butcher like Harold Ramsey, who was Gulf Shore’s previous butcher. A tall, thin black man with lots of hair on his head, a man who kept his mouth shut when Samuel entered the butcher shop. Samuel had enjoyed going to see Harold. The man took Samuel’s order, nodded politely, and always bade Samuel a good day. If only Harold had had a son to carry on the family business, Samuel thought, as he looked across the display case at Putorti. If only Harold hadn’t gotten old and passed away. Joe stopped smiling. He gave Samuel a serious look for the first time in the five years he'd been working in the butcher shop. Joe Putorti was from the Bronx. He’d seen all races; black, white, Hispanic, and Asian. Their skin didn’t bother him, and he didn’t much care if his skin color bothered any of them. When Joe’s wife, Sadie, was stricken with arthritis, the doctors had told the Putortis a warmer climate would do her good. Joe hadn’t wanted to make a drastic move across the country. The doctors had said the southern states were good places, warm and easy on the bones. Joe didn’t want to move, but he did some research and found several quiet little towns that he and Sadie might like to live in. They were tired of the city, anyway. A tranquil town, a little country town, where everybody knew everybody else was where they wanted to be. But Joe still wanted to be near the ocean. That’s what he had loved the most about New York and the Bronx, the salty ocean air that greeted him whenever he went outside. Joe and Sadie had thought about it long and hard before moving. They knew that southern states like Alabama might have racial problems, but that didn’t bother them, and Sadie’s health was important. When they found Gulf Shores, Joe fell in love with the place; the ocean and the small-town atmosphere were appealing. It was a great break from the hectic city life they would leave behind. And the break from the city smog didn’t hurt either. So, they found themselves a home in Gulf Shores, where they found acceptance from everyone. Almost. “Hey, Mr. Johnson, I get wrapped up in my customers sometimes, ya know? Sometimes I compare them to different types of meats, ya know, the way a veterinarian might say how people look like the dogs they own.” Joe had a rough northern accent, and Samuel silently wished the hairy man had stayed wherever it was that he had come from. The man's poor form and rough talk made Samuel want to pull out what little hair he had left. Joe stepped out from behind his counter. “That little old lady, Mrs. Taptoe, she's a sweet little lamb chop. And my Sadie, she's a real tenderloin; ya know what I mean, eh? But you, Samuel Johnson. Every time you come into my shop you act like walking through my door is the most gut-wrenching thing in your life!” He threw his arms up in the air to emphasize his frustration. “You remind me of a dried-up piece of rump roast!” Joe's big face turned red and he glowered as he crossed his hairy arms over his expansive chest. Samuel's jaw dropped when Joe began his tirade. His eyes grew wider with each word. When Joe finished speaking, arms crossed in front of him, daring Samuel to tell him he was wrong, Samuel didn't know what to do or say. Then Samuel laughed. He laughed loud and long. He laughed at the look on Joe's face because he was laughing. He laughed while he struggled to speak. “You, you called me a rump roast!” he finally managed to spit out. Joe started laughing too. A guarded laugh at first, for Samuel was a six-foot-six inch tall black man, and if he put all two hundred sixty-five pounds of himself behind a punch, Samuel could surely knock the wind out of Joe Putorti. And even though Joe himself was a big man, he didn't want to see if he could take Samuel's punch. Joe's laughter became loud and hearty when he realized Samuel wasn't going to hit him. Their laughter slowly waned and they stood regarding each other with watery eyes. “I am not a bad man, ya know,” Joe said. “I know you're not. Mildred tells me you're a good man.” “Well, then, what can I get for you today?” Joe was back behind the counter, something Samuel appreciated greatly. Joe wasn't being a pushy man. He made no speeches about being friends or extending his hand to shake and make peace. Certainly, Samuel could come to like the Gulf Shores butcher.


About the Author

Tracie O'Neil Horton

Tracie O'Neil Horton grew up in a small town in upstate New York and now resides in a country home in Virginia. After joining the Army at age eighteen, she became a Korean voice interceptor for Military Intelligence. K 3 is her debut novel.



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