The bodies of the boys were found in the lake nearby. Nine days the woman fooled the police and public with an imaginary black man to cover her own crime.
The narrator is this very imaginary black man who exists in the imagination of Susan Smith who killed her children and tried to conceal the murder by putting all the guilt on a ‘young black male’ who had never existed in reality. ‘The black perpetrator’ is a product of a white woman’s imagination and the first section of the book is written from his perspective –
“Susan Smith willed me alive. At the moment Her babies sank into the lake When called, I come.” (p.3)
The nonexistent black man blamed by a white woman of the crime committed by this very woman shows how race creates prejudices and associations which are so deeply embedded into a society that the story of the woman is easily believed.
‘She knew she could get further if she said the black man did it. – A black resident of Union…’ (p.16 ) Smith had no doubt that her story was going to sound credible. She only needed to imagine ‘a black resident’ who could well suit the role of a murderer. Smith vividly describes the looks of the black man – ‘I make my living by taking things. So now mother needs me clothed In hand-me-downs And a knit cap…’ (p.3)
The most terrible part is how easy Mrs. Smith imagined the assailant and felt no qualms as to her lie. She has no doubts as to who could do it: “Nobody else in town will do what She needs me to do.” (p.4) Mrs. Smith believes that no one but a black man could “… jump in an idling car And drive off with two sad and Frightened kids in the back.” (p.4) she was to invent somebody to convince police and the public of this crime and she finds. The scariest thing here is how easily she finds a proper image for a criminal.
Smith’s story is believed and Eady brings to the public the idea that the perception of black men in America is stereotyped.