Every year, I like to post the story of Curtisene Lloyd, because she is one of my personal heroes. I did not write the following story, Jill Conner Browne did, in her 1999 book, The Sweet Potato Queens Book of Love. We all need to be more like Curtisene. For that matter, we all need to be more like Jill Conner Browne*.
Before Xena, There Was Curtisene
Every word of the story I am about to tell you is true. It is authenticated in court documents.
Curtisene Lloyd is a mild-mannered, sweet-voiced little Sunday school teach of a lady, middle aged, nurse. She lives with her very old deaf aunt, in a nice house in a little town not far from Jackson, Mississippi, where she works at a large hospital.
February 1990. Late one night Curtisene awoke to discover a man in her bedroom. And he was definitely not there at her invitation. This intruder advised her of the various and sundry obscene things he planned to do to her before he made up his mind whether or not he would kill her. “I might kill you,” he said, “but I’m gone git me summa dis fust.” And with that he removed all of his clothing and climbed up on the bed. He situated himself on the headboard somehow and began giving Curtisene some rather detailed instructions concerning the performance he expected from her.
Now, Curtisene, she was paying really close attention. She had taken note right off that his guy did not have any sort of weapon with him. And then she did something that never in his worse nightmares had he dreamed she would do. She just reached out and took aholt, and then she commenced to twisting. She got both hands on his merchandise, and she twisted – in opposite directions at the same time with as much force as she could muster.
Apparently it was sufficient. Her attacker beat her about the head and shoulders and struggled frantically to get free of this death grip, but Curtisene was on him like all those time-honored phrases you’ve heard all your life – white on rice, duck on a June bug, and so on.
So, still holding fast, she drags him, now sniveling and crying through the house, where her little old deaf aunt is sleeping in peaceful oblivion. He’s begging her to let go:
“Let go and call the po-leece! Just let go!” He’s swearing he’s dying.
“No, you ain’t dying,” she says back to him. “I’m trying to kill you, but you won’t die.”
He promises he’ll leave if only she will, please God, let him go.
“Fine,” she says, “go on then. Leave.”
He’s crying and saying he cain’t and how can he when she won’t let him go?
To which our Curtisene casually replies, “You broke in, didn’t you, sumbitch? Break out!”
He is wailing to beat the band, and she is dragging him to the front door. She tells him there are three locks on that door that he’ll have to open in order to make good his escape. He is pretty much a lifeless heap by now, except for the bawling. She hoists him up to open the first lock. He gets it open and falls back to the floor. “He was starting to wheeze a little by this time,” Curtisene reported.
He’s crying and saying how much she’s got him suffering, to which she snappily replies, “How ’bout all that suffering you were fixing to put on me?” She tells him he’s got two more locks, if you please. She hoists him up, and he thinks he’s out.
“Nope. The screen’s latched,” Curtisene tells him.
And up he goes again. And he’s sure he’s free now. At this point, she later confessed to the jury – in the shyest little voice you ever heard, like she was letting you in on a little secret – “I kinda worked on him a little bit.” Meaning, if it had been possible to twist his genitalia completely off his body, she would have accomplished that feat at the end of her front porch.
And then she repeated to those assembled her final words to the man: “I’m takin’ you to the end of the porch, and then I’m gon’ go back in the house and get my gun, and I’m gon’ blow your m—–f—–g head off, you slimy, stanking, low-down piece of sh-t, you!” As she repeated those words, clear as a bell, in open court, you could feel, in every living soul in that courtroom, an almost overwhelming desire to stand up and cheer.
What happened to the rapist wannabe? Well, he limped off through the bushes, but he wasn’t hard for the police to find. Especially since he departed buck nekkid and left all his clothes in her bedroom – with his full name written on the labels inside. He was also pretty easy to spot in the lineup: He was the once who didn’t stand up straight. He may never stand up straight again. And don’t you just know he was a big man in jail, after the truth came out? Little-bitty Sunday school teacher just waxed his ass.
Curtisene Lloyd did not get the standing ovation that her testimony so richly deserved – courtroom decorum and all that – but every single person in the courtroom that day went up to her afterward and said, “Miss Lloyd, I just want to shake your hand.”
*I have personally met Jill Conner Browne, in Jackson, MS, while adventuring there with the lovely and talented Sarrah Ellen McDonald, but that’s another story for another time. I will say, however, that SE can make up a naughty song about you on the fly, so be careful around her.