Segment of New work in Progress. “My Father’s Shadow”

Andre was getting ready to go to the student union,

“Wah you so happy for?” the shadow asked,

“A gurl man ah gurl,”

“You too excited bout dis one why?”

“She real nice,” Andre said. The shadow moved out of the dark and stood next to him in front of the mirror. Its body fluctuated between black and grey.

“Its bout time, you need to settle down,”

“Wah you say, I thought you said a real man don settle wid one woman eh?”

“What, are you questioning me, listen you are grown now time to start a family, a man needs a home base,”

“Oh so now you saying dat I should stick to one woman?” The shadow moved to in front of him and for the first time slapped him in the chest. A chill ran through Andre’s body. He stepped away from the shadow,

“Wah you trying to make me afraid of you?” he asked, the shadow slapped him again,

“You should be, remember I control everything, what you think, what you feel. Like I said you are a grown man now, things are going to be different from here on out,”

“hey am me own man, you don control me and don you forget dat, you hear,” The shadow swung his arm knocking some books off the dresser.

“You don talk to me like dat bouy. I been like you fada for the last ten years and don tink because you got big dat I don have no say in wah you do,”

“To hell with you,”

“Or is it to hell wid you huh, jus because you full ah education and you talking like a white man now don mean you is a bigman.” Andre walked to the door,

“You cant escape me not night or day,” Andre closed the door behind him and walked down the hall, the shadow was right beside him, running along the wall.

Andre arrived at the student union and looked around. He spotted her in the far corner; she was wearing a sun dress, no makeup and sandals. He walked up to her and for a moment she did not acknowledge him.  He stood there feeling stupid,

“Is dis her, man I tink you wasting you damn time here. She stuck up for so,”

“Am going to handle dis,” Andre responded. The shadow started to move behind her and Andre stepped closer to her. She turned around and smiled.

“I see you made it huh?”

“Why wouldn’t I?”

“Why would you?”

“Well if you here den am here,” Andre said.

“Oh dear lord, is dat de best you could do eh? You sound like a bloody stupidy,” the shadow said. Andre looked at him crossed eyes,

“Stay out of dis,”

“What did you say?” the girl asked,

“I sadi what is you name?’

“Claudette,” she said walking away. The shadow followed her and lifted its hand like he was going to smack her but. Andre ran up top her passing through the shadow,

Where to now?” he asked. She turned around and smilled at him.

“Your call,” she said.

“I know de perfect spot, you want to go,”

“Where is it?”

“Leh me surprise you,” he said as he walked ahead of her. She follows him.

From that day on they spent as much time as they could together. Andre was happy; he had stopped chasing girls and had slowed down on his drinking. Claudette was a nice girl and he tried his best to show her the utmost respect.

Wah wrong wid you bouy” the shadow asked. Andre ignored him, “Don ignore me damn it,”

“What do you what?” Andre asked

“OHhhh listen to de island bouy wid he high affluent talk, What do you what?” The shadow said,

“You jus jealous dat’s all,” Andre said going into the bathroom of the small dorm room. He turned on the light but as soon as he sat down on the toilet seat the shadow walked through the closed door.

“Who you tink you is eh? Did you tink you go become a bigshot and leave old shadow behind. Never, I go be here and dere is notten you could do about it,”

“Oh really, we go see bout that,” Andre barked back. Suddenly the shadow was right in front of him, its red eyes floating before him. The shadow inhaled and blew. A small puff of black escaped its mouth. Andre tried to move away, but the small cloud went into his nose and mouth stifling him,

“Nobody gets away from me, nobody leaves me behind. Wey you go I go, who you marry I marry, when you shit I take I is shitting too.” The shadow said. Small puff of black came out of his white mouth. Andre sucked in hard but inhaled nothing.

“Ah could kill you right now if Ah is ready to,” the shadow said then inhaled and the puff of black trailed out of Andre’s mouth and he inhaled.

“Now I is in charge and know dis, you could fight all you want but I go win in de end.” The shadow disappeared, small puffs of black floated in front of Andre. The light came back on and he got up and stumbled back to his bed. He lay there for a second to catch his breath then got up, went to his dresser and got a small bottle of rum and drank the whole thing.


From Father’s Shadow

Andre walked into the basement party. Justine sat at a table with some of her friends. He walked up behind her and touched her on the shoulder. She turned around, stood up, and hugged him, he squeezed her for a second, she smelled like lilac. She motioned to an empty chair next to her and he sat down. No sooner had he sat down the DJ began to play Digital Underground,

            “Do the Humpty Hump!!”  She said, “That’s my song!” she screamed and grabbed Andre’s hand and pulled him to where a small group of people were dancing. .Justine was pushing her butt back on him when another girl walked up to them.

            “Who is she?” the girl asked, snapping her fingers at Andre,

            “Who is you?” Andre retorted,

            “Don’t play dumb with me Andre,” she screamed,

            “Who is she?” Justine asked,

            “Don pay no mine to she,” Andre tried to keep dancing, but the girl persisted,

            “Boy you had better not act a fool in here, now tell me who is she?” Andre pushed the girl away. She stumbled back bumping into some of the other partiers. She walked up to Andre and pushed him. He back handed her then stood looking at his hands, surprised at what he did,

            “Now dats what a man should do, put dem omen in dey place,” the shadow shouted above the music. Justine turned and ran up the stairs. Andre followed her. She went into the bathroom and locked the door,

            “Justine, Open de door!”

            “Go away,”

            “Come on talk to me,”

            “You are nothing but a man whore,” Justine screamed,

            “What you say?”

            “Go away!”

            “Hey yuh go let dat oman talk to yuh like dat?” The Shadow asked,

            “Shut up, let me handle dis,” Andre said, then stopped himself when he realized that everyone looked at him like he was crazy.

            “Come on Justine,”

            “Screw you!”

            “Boi, she disrespecting you for so, everybody looking at yuh”             “I said shut you bloody mout!” Andre yelled at the shadow. More people filed into the narrow hallway. Andre kicked the door,

            “Come babe, open de door,”

            “Go screw yourself!” Justine screamed,

            “Dam boi, she have a filthy mout real bad,” the shadow said, “I tink she need a box in she mout yuh know,” the shadow persisted. Some of the onlookers were laughing.

            “Boi, she making you a papishow, look how dey laughing at yuh,” the shadow said. Suddely the door flung open and Justine reached out and slapped Andre. His whole body felt hot as laughter filled the hallway. Before she could close the door he jammed it with his foot, and forced his way into the bathroom.

            “Gul don act stupid, I told you Ah don know who she is.” Justine punched him in the stomach. Andre reached out and grabbed her by the throat and pushed her against the wall. A bowl with tooth brushes fell to the linoleum floor.

            “Look here bitch, don embarrass me like dis you hair. I is the man in this relationship and I go do what I want damn it.” Justine began to gag, but Andre squeezed harder.

            “From now on don ever talk to me like dat and don put you dam hands on me either, you hear me,” he said, getting close to her face. She struggled until he let go then bent over gasping for breath. The flimsy door shook as someone banged on it.

            “Justine, you O k?” one of her friends yelled.

            “Mind your own business bitch!” Andre screamed back,

            “Dats how yuh do it,” the shadow said. “Put dem bloody bitches in dey dam place.”

            “Now lets go have some fun and don make an ass ah youself,” Andre said, took her hand and dragged her out of the bathroom. She escaped his grip and ran out opf the house, he chased after her but she was gone when he got outside. Andre stood on the sidewalk. His hands were shaking, sweat ran down his face, his eyes felt like hot lava had settled in them. He turned and looked back at the house. Several people stood at the Iron Gate looking at him, they were just burs with sound. He looked down at his hands,

            “I hit a woman!” he mumbled to himself. A car drove by, it must have lost its muffler because the sound of the engine was deafening. Andre’s heart raced up, fear, confusion, disgust, feelings he had felt before but not all in one rush,

            “I may just be my father’s son,” he muttered

            “And wah wrong wid dat?” The Shadow said, “Embrace it, its your legacy, its yuh fada’s legacy. Dat bitch should have known she place, yuh did noting wrong boi,” The shadow reflected off the road, its dark form surrounded by the florescent glow from the street light.

            “I hit a woman,” Andre repeated, turned and walked back towards his house.