Deacon King Kong


James McBride

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Deacon King Kong: Chapter 10: Soup Summary & Analysis

The day after visiting Rufus, Sportcoat lays in bed and talks to Hettie, who is helping him decide what shirt to wear. Sportcoat is happy that the two of them are getting along for once. Just then, loud noises coming from outside Sportcoat’s window interrupts their conversation. Sportcoat looks out his window and finds that a huge crowd has gathered in the central plaza of the Cause. Though Sportcoat doesn’t know it yet, the various residents of the Cause have come together to celebrate Soup Lopez’s release from prison. No one remembers why Soup went to prison, but they are glad he is back. A band known as Los Soñadores plays Latin music as everyone dances and congratulations Soup on returning home.
Although the Cause’s population is predominantly African American, there are a fair share of Latino people who live there as well. Unlike many racial and ethnic groups in the novel, the African American and Latino residents of the Cause get along with one another and celebrate one another’s successes. Unfortunately, spending time in prison is a far from uncommon experience for members of both groups, even if the crimes that land them there are relatively inconsequential. Whatever Soup did to land himself in jail, it presumably wasn’t too bad, otherwise someone would probably remember it.
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Wanting to see what all of the fuss is about, Sportcoat goes outside and shows his face in public for the first time since shooting Deems. Before long, Sportcoat finds Hot Sausage and asks him what the celebration is all about. Rather the answer Sportcoat’s question, Hot Sausage immediately tells Sportcoat that he needs to leave before Deems (or one of his men) comes and kill him. At this point, Deems is now out of the hospital and is likely to show up at the ongoing party. However, Hot Sausage’s warning barely registers with Sportcoat.
Because Soup’s party is a community event, it’s all but certain that Deems or one of his men will spot Sportcoat there. However, Sportcoat evidently does not believe Hot Sausage, or he does not care, because he chooses to stay.
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Instead, Sportcoat continues to ask questions about the purpose of the party. Eventually, Hot Sausage decides to tell Sportcoat about Soup’s release, hoping that an answer will allow them to return to the more pressing matter at hand. However, Hot Sausage’s strategy fails, as Sportcoat continues to ignore his warnings about Deems and instead continues to ask questions about Soup. Sportcoat likes Soup because he used to be a member of his baseball team. Unfortunately, like many members of Sportcoat’s baseball team, Soup ended up getting in trouble with the law at a young age.
Both members of Sportcoat’s baseball team the novel has mentioned thus far have turned to a life of crime. It is no wonder that Sportcoat continues to push baseball so hard; it seems to be one of the few healthy alternatives to the path that Deems is now pursuing. Meanwhile, Hot Sausage continues to prove himself a committed and loyal friend, albeit an ineffective one.
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As Sportcoat and Hot Sausage navigate their way through the crowd, they come across Sister Gee, who tells Sportcoat that the police are looking for him. She also says that they mentioned the name “Thelonius Ellis.” This gets a rise out of Hot Sausage, whose real name turns out to be Thelonius Ellis. Hot Sausage explains to Sister Gee that the police are likely confused because he and Sportcoat have an ID that they sometimes use, which contains Hot Sausage’s name and Sportcoat’s picture. This mix-up angers Sister Gee, who now thinks that Potts will assume she lied to him.
The mix-up with Sportcoat’s identity is important and something to keep in mind as the plot unfolds. Sister Gee is upset not because she thinks she is likely to get in trouble with the law, but because she likes Potts and doesn’t want him to think poorly of her.
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Not long after Sportcoat and Hot Sausage’s conversation with Sister Gee, a fight breaks out among some of the Cause residents. Meanwhile, Earl, who is nearby, begins making his way to Sportcoat with the intention of hurting him. However, before he can do so, Soup takes a bottle of alcohol out of Sportcoat’s hand and chucks it outside the range of the crowd, inadvertently striking Earl on the head and knocking him out. Before long, the fighting attracts the attention of the police and the Cause residents scatter as they hear their sirens in the distance. Sister Gee asks Soup to help her carry away Earl so that the police won’t find him there. Together they take Earl to the train station, wake him up, and warn him not to come back.
Once again, the novel turns to farcical comedy as Sportcoat obliviously manages to avoid Earl for a second time. Hot Sausage’s prediction comes true—someone was trying to hurt Sportcoat—but Sportcoat seems to be protected by good luck. Additionally, Sister Gee and Soup prove themselves to be invaluable allies for Sportcoat; they take Earl away and threaten him, although their threats fall on deaf ears.
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