A catering van pulls up outside a country club. Clarence gets out and tells some club worker how to reheat the food, then grabs a nice jacket from the front seat. Wouldn't the club have its own chefs?
Flashback. It's Clarence's first day in the kitchen. The menu promises Annie May's Smoked Pork ribs, peas & carrots, back eyed peas, biscuits and Goldie's Carolina Tea Cakes. Clarence is hard at work, saucing up a tray of ribs, when Warden James helps himself to a sample. He makes appreciative noises. "If we were in private, you would see my true intentions with this bone." Dirty! Clarence beams and thanks the Warden for the new job. "Mark the day, son," says Warden James. "Your new future has begun." Later, in retrospect, this will sound so much more ominous.
Warden James heads out into the mess hall, which is divided down racial lines and separated by both a physical and metaphorical gulf. The inmates sit politely, their plates of food untouched. Clarence stands at the service window, eager to see how his cooking is received. The Warden tries to explain to them the concept of parley, of sitting down with one's enemies and being civilized. "Bon appétit," he says as a signal for them to start eating. The black inmates tuck in, but the white inmates shove their trays aside. Warden James tries again: "I said, 'Bon appétit,' you sons of bitches." Heh. The men begin shouting their protests. "Rome wasn't built in a day," Tiller says, having watched quietly from the sidelines. Warden James skedaddles, leaving Tiller to deal with the stink that's about to erupt. The men start throwing food, then punches. White inmates grab Clarence and proceed to beat him savagely. Tear gas flows from the overhead canisters.
Present. Clarence orders a beer at the country club bar. It's apparently host to a wedding reception. Clarence catches sight of a TV across the room. Violent images flash across the screen, along with the world "guilty" like an accusation. He looks disconcerted for a moment. An attractive young lady -- another of the fair-skinned, dark-haired variety -- walks up to him. They smile and chat and he invites her for a walk. Ladies, I don't care how good-looking a guy is: don't go on a secluded walk with him a hot minute after you've met him.