At boys school I went to we played a game called Green Leaf. Simple game really, most of the time it was just two of us playing. The premise is that you have to always have a green leaf on your person or get their ass kicked. I always won, meting out beatdowns regularly. You see I used to always have a green leaf in my pants pocket. That was until one Saturday when Mommy Charles was washing my pants. “Anderson!” She screamed, I always knew that she was angry when she used my full name. Why are dere green leaves in your pockets, now your pants have green stains all over it,” I went into my bedroom and hid. That Monday, before I could get to a tree to pick a leaf my friend, lets call him Ian, came up behind me and shouted “Ggggggeeeeeennnn LLLleeeaaaaffff!” I took off running, he gave chase, “Ah say green leaf!” I got to the school and tried to hide but he found and unloaded a barrage of punched onto my arm, I tell you what, for weeks I was not able to raise my arm above my head. That game between me and him lasted for years until he moved to a different school. A yeah later, on my first day of secondary school, I was looking smart in my new uniform, strutting like a sagabuoy. All of a sudden I head Grrrreeeeennnnnllleeeeaaaffff!” I turned around to see Ian springing towards me, I took off but he caught up with me and blasted me with cuffs. For the next two years we beat each other black and blue. Running through the school, the city, the woods, even if one of us was playing cricket or soccer, when we heard green leaf, time to run. This continued for two years until Ian moved to Brooklyn, to tell you the truth, I was glad, I was tired of getting my ass beat up everyday. Five years later, I was a married man living in Brooklyn. It was a cold winter day with snow on the ground. I got off the subway and was walking to my job at the Fulton Mall when I head “Gggeeeeenn Leaf!” I thought, man that voice sound familiar. Then I heard someone running, instinctively I took off, slipping and sliding in the snow. Bumping people sometimes pushing them. “I say green leaf!” Ian shouted, laughing, gasping for breath. As I slide across the side walk I thought, what the hell, I am a grown man, this is not h=secondary school. Here I am in New York, running from a grown man as he shouted green leaf. People must think that a dealer was running from his client. I turned around just in time to see Ian slip and fall. He was laughing. He got up and came towards and I braced myself. He lifted both arms and stumbled into me and gave me a bear hug.
Grums stood at the top of the hill, he was dancing only his feet did not move, the upper half of his boy leaned like a coconut tree in strong wind. Then as if the wind pushed him, he stumbled down the mud path, who is grums you may ask, well Grums is the Crazy Lady’s boyfriend, on yes, that woman had a boyfriend. He got little way down the hill and stopped, looked around. A woman and her seven year old son started to walk down the hill behind him, but I do not think he saw them because he unbuttoned his pants, whipped his penis out and began to relieve himself. “Mommy, Mommy, Grums have a little ting!” The boy said pointing, “Boy, you want me to wash you mout out wid soap?” The woman said, turning to Grums, You is ah dutty bastard,” Grums stopped relieving himself and turned to her, “Wuman, you know he like it,” he said, the lady stepped to him and slapped him. Grums staggered back, almost falling. The lady walked away, “You betta run, you betta run!”Grums prancing around like one of them karate fighters he saw in movies. His pants fell to his ankles, he bent over to pull it up and one of the village’s trouble makers ran past him and kicked his naked butt. Grums stumbled forward but by some miracle managed to stay on his feet. He continued stumbling on, he walked past the corn patch and tried to pick a cord, but the corn survived. He walked by the empty field, a goat looked up, still chewing on some weeds. “Wah de hell you looking at?” Grums yelled at it. The goat looked at him. “Wah, you wan fight?” Grums yelled, then lowered his head and charged at the animal. The goat took off. Grums chased, hishead lowered, holding up his pants as he went. The goat got to just befopre the corn patch and stopped, Grums stumbled to a stop. The goat faced him, kicked its back legs and charged. I tell you what, I have never seen Grums move so fast. He ran around the corner next to our house, stopped and looked to make sure the goat was not behind him. He stopped in front of our gate, Hey tall buoy. I go go see me wuman,” he said laughing. “Get away from me gate nah mon,” I said. “Oh you jus jealous, I go go in dey and I go wuk dat ting,” He said gyrating. He was laughing so hard he let go of his pants and they dropped to his ankle, The neighbor on the other side of me laughed as Grums pulled his pants up. “Wey you laughing at?” He said and started to walk towards the man but changed his mind when the man started walking down to him. He got to the front of the Crazy Lady’s house and stopped, swayed back a little then walked up to the front door. Just as he was about to open the door Rasta walked out, yes, Rasta, the Crazy Lady’s new boyfriend. “Who you eh, who you!” Grums screamed, Rasta did not say anything, Crazy Lady stepped out from behind him. “Dat me new boyfren,” “You wah, you wah?” Grums screamed and took a swing at Rasta. Rasta pushed him and he stumbled back into the road. Preacherman walked by, his bible held close to his chest, he stopped looking at Grums, his pants down around his ankle, shouting curse words at Rasta. “You mudda!” Grums shouted, pointing at Rasta. The dreadlock boy ran past Preacherman and pushed Grums, he stumbled back about ten yard and sat in a bush of thorns, the man let out the loudest scream I ever heard. Preacheman ran over and pulled him out of the bushes, “It hurt for so, it hurt for so, tek dem out tek dem out!” He screamed. Some villagers were holding Rasta, Crazy Lady was laughing, and Preacherman was pulling thorns from Grums bare bamsi praying under his breath. I tell you what, I never laughed so hard in my whole life.
Good morning, the sun is out, yet it is a crisp cool day. my friends, I think fall is creeping up the trunks of trees with a keen eye on the green leaves, let the revolution begin.
I sat on the verandah looking up at the stars, frogs croaked and the crickets responded. A cat stalked something in the yard, its yellow eyes disappeared into some bushes. Then there was a loud pop, and the dark night turned into orange day. The hills on the other side of the village lit up, the shadow of a bird swooped over the trees. The ra ta tat of AK and M16 rifles erupted, men having an unreasonable conversation. Dogs barked and howled in the village, a baby cried in the house across the street, a lone truck sped by on the True Blue highway. The cat scampered into the bushes behind the house. A helicopter came from the airport and hovered over the hill, a poisonous bug in the orange night. The helicopter unloaded a barrage of death onto the hillside, men shouted, the cows in the field mowed simultaneously. The unreasonable conversation stopped, the man made day began to t relinquish to mother nature’s power, the monster bug floated away, just as the night overpowered the orange. The dogs stopped howling, the child whimpered, someone turned on their radio, Jimmy Cliff’s voice settled on the wind, “I was born to win.” Dishes clanged in the kitchen next door, the stars reappeared. I toke a deep breath, the overpowering scent of the roses that Mommy Charles planted filled the air like a peaceful Sunday.