For the short story reader. Updated every Monday.

The Short Form

“Radioactive Red Caps”

Langston Hughes


“That would be top-secret information,” I said, “even if I knew. Anyway, you are arguing from supposition, not knowledge. How do you know what our top Negro scientists are doing?”

“I don't,” said Simple. “But I bet if one was making an atom bomb, they would have his picture on the cover of Jet every other week like Eartha Kitt, just to make Negroes think the atom bomb is an integrated bomb. Then, next thing you know, some old Souther senator would up and move to have that Negro investigated for being subversive, because he would be mad that a Negro ever got anywhere near an atom bomb. Then that Negro would be removed from his job like Miss Annie Lee Moss, and have to hire a lawyer to get halfway back. Then they would put that whitewashed Negro to making plain little old-timey ordinary bombs that can only kill a few folks at a time. You know and I know, they don't want no Negroes nowhere near no bomb that can kill a whole state full of folks like an atom bomb can. Just think what would happen to Mississippi. Wow!”

“Your thinking borders on the subversive,” I warned. “Do you want to fight the Civil War over again?“

“Not without an atom bomb,” said Simple.

We read it in The Best of Simple.