Stringbean & Marcus


1997. Ten year old Iris Marcus is the product of a rebel family. Her mother, Pat, is a civil rights lawyer and her father, Neal, a Black Panther who died while bombing a government warehouse in the name of the cause. Iris' aspirations, however, are not as dramtic as her parents' past—she spends the warm summer days with her best friend Colin, two and a half years her senior, and their neighbor Francis, a spindly nine year old who has a propensity for telling lies. The kids bask in the glory of their favorite swimming hole, sleep on the back porch and avoid the wrath of Eloise, their grumpy older neighbor who reins down on the neighborhood from her massive porch.

When Rick Washington return to town after a five-year absence, he moves into Iris' house and threatens the stability that Iris has so carefully created. Rick was Neal's best friend and quite possibly the man most responsible for his death. Iris worships Neal's memory and immediately sees Rick as a threat. She does everything in her power to expel Rick from her house and prevent him from coming back. Iris' antics bring her more trouble than she can handle, especially when a lie she tells leads to the FBI arrest of Rick and Eloise.

Summer melts into fall, then winter and Iris finds that she and Rick have more in common than they first imagined. A deep friendship develops between the two. Through Rick, Iris is able to learn more about Neal as a man. but Iris can also sense that Rick, who at times appears wounded and afraid, is holding something back. Iris pushes but she can't get Rick to fully open up. Still, for a brief moment, Iris' family feels intact. Chaos erupts again when Colin's older brother Jimmy is arrested for the murder of a white policeman. Colin shattered by his brother's arrest and slowly severs his ties to the neighborhood. After Colin's departure, Iris tries to take solace in her mother's arms, but Pat is consumed with murder case. It's Iris' newfound friendship with Rick that gives her comfort.

Spring brings the arrival of Carey Ford. Cary is an ex-revolutionary turned media-hungry politico. Much to Iris' and Rick's dismay, Carey forges a union between himself and Pat and as a result Jimmy's case takes on new political heights. As the publicity surrounding Jimmy's case builds, Iris' house is over urn with refugees from the civil rights and black power movements. Iris feels that she can weather the storm as long as Rick remains at her side. But iris soon realizes that Rick can barely handle the presence of the revolutionaries because they remind him of his dark, mysterious past, and of his involvement in Neal's death.


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