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A Portion from the work in Progress Father’s Shadow

Andre ran down Eastern Parkway, he ran until none of the buildings looked familiar to him, and then he stopped and stooped over breathing hard.

“Boi, you run fas for so,” The shadow said. Andre looked around; there was a bodega on the corner of the street. Some older boys were standing at the door. They looked over at Andre and started walking towards him. Andre looked at the shadow; its eyes were suddenly bright red. The boys walked up to Andre, 

“You lost little man?” One of them asked. Andre did not respond.

“Whats wrong homeboy can’t you talk?” The grease from the boy’s hair ran down his forehead leaving dark spots on his denim shirt.

“Why are you in our hood, you trying to move in on our turf?” the boy said advancing,

“I is just teking a walk,” Andre said, The boy looked at his friends.

“You one of them island boys?”

“Yes,”

Where do you live young blood?”

“On Eastern Parkway,”

“You want to have some fun?”

“Don interfere wid me, I is a good fighter,” Andre said as he stepped back and raised his fists.  The boys laughed,

“Come on little man, you can hang with us,” the boy said and put his hands on Andre’s shoulder. They walked past the bodega and down a side street.

They arrived at an abandoned apartment building and went inside. As they walked by open doors Andre saw people lying on broken beds or mattresses on the floor. A young man sat scratching himself as if a colony of ants were crawling all over him. Some shook violently, cursing as they did,

“Wah wrong wid dem?” Andre asked

“They want the white ghost,”

“Eh?” Andre asked,

“They want crack,” the boy said. Andre followed them into an empty apartment with other boys and girls walking around aimlessly. They stopped and looked at him. .

“Who dat?” one of the girls asked,

“This here is island boy,”

“He cute,” the girl said,

“Back off crack whore,” The boy said pushing the girl away, she fell to the ground,

“Screw you G-money,” the girl said,

“Want to have some fun island boy?’ He asked as they sat down in a corner. G-money opened a cooler, dug around in it, then handed Andre a forty ounce beer bottle. Andre hesitated. The shadow eyes appeared next to him,

“Go on me boi, tek it, me, I is a rum man meself, but tek it, it go make you feel real good” Amdre took the bottle and took a drink,

“Ewww, dats nasty, Andre said, The Shadow snickered, its red eyes bounced up ands down. ”

“Keep drinking shorty, it will make you feel nice,” G Money said and tilted the bottle up towards Andre’s mouth. Andre coughs,

“Don want anymore,”

“Come on bro drink up,” G-Money insisted, as his friends laughed and chorused his encouragement.

“Yeah man live a little,” one of the girls said

“Like dey say, live a liccle,” the shadow said. Andre closed his eyes and tilted the bottle,

“Chug chug chug,” the boys and girls shouted.

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Marble Snatchers

Marble Snatchers

Here we were , three of use, Roach, Smakarootii and me, we were playing a hotly contested game of marbles. We were only eight years old, all of us small and skinny. I tell you what, I was beating the pants off them fellas, they did not stand a chance against a pro like me. I had a pile of marbles sitting on the ground, you see we were playing for keeps. Any marble you knock out of the circle, you get to keep. Roach was already vexed, I had won his favorite Iron marble, that boy would shine that marble like it was a gold chain or something. But now it was mine, it sat there sparkling in the afternoon sunshine. Roach was trying his best to win it back but I was in rare form today, hitting marbles out of the circle from impossible angles, smiling at the groans from my victims. I was just about to pitch my marble when I heard footsteps, they were coming fast. Then I heard someone shouted “Raaaafffff!” and four older boys rushed in, knocking Roach and Smakarooti over, grabbing all the marbles, it only took them a second to gather all the marbles, then they took off running, giggling like school girls. Roach went into a rage, that boy was cursing for so. Smakarooti started to cry, then took off running, his hands loosely swinging at his side, we heard him scream angrily as he disappeared into some bushes. Roach was still cursing, “Leh we go get we marbles!” He shouted, I looked at him, “Boy, yuh crazy or wah, is dem big bois dat tek de marbles you know,” I said then turned to walk away, “Ohhh I see how it is, you is a fraidy cat eh?” Roach said, I stopped, nobody challenges my manhood. I turned to Roach, “Leh we go den,” I said and walked in the direction the older boys ran, Roach hesitated, a little surprised I agreed. He followed me as we searched for the older boys. We were standing in front of a house when we heard laugher and an argument. We walked around the house and into the back yard. There were about seven older boys playing marbles. We stood there for a second not knowing what to do, one of the boys had Roach’s iron marble spit shining it. “Dat is me marble,” Roach said, his eyes red with anger, one of the boys looked over at him, I tell you what, he had the biggest nose I ever seen, he took a step over to us, “All yuh go come tek it from we?” He said, I did not pay attention to what he said, I was too busy afraid that I would get sucked into the two wormholes on his face. Roach immediately jumped behind me, as is that would do any good. “Well wah yuh waiting for eh? Come get yuh precious marble,” Mr. Big Nose said, and I swear his nose opened even more. It was then I realized that the heat from Roach’s body was no longer behind me, I turned around and saw the heel of his foot disappear around the house. Mr. Big Nose was still walking towards me. I turned and ran out of the yard so fast dust kicked up liken smoke behind me.

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Giant frog

Giant frog

What a massive frog, we used to call them Crapo, in the country side people eat them and call them Mountain Chicken, me I just called them big and scary. When we lived in the city, on Lucas street, for some reason those bloody things loved to come into our house. One morning I heard Mommy Charles shouting so me and Raphie went to see what was going on. There standing in the back room was Mommy Charles and one hell of a big frog, staring each other down, as if deciding a next move. The second me and Raphie entered the room Mommy Charles suggested that we get rid of it. Well we did not want to kill it so Raphie got a broom and began to gentle nudge the monster towards the do. That bloody beast had some powerful legs, all it took was three nudges to get it to the front door. It jumped over a table, a chair, and at one point over me. We finally got it out the front door, closed the door and went about our business. Mommy Charles needed something from a neighbor, so she asked Raphie to go get it. He opened the door and I heard him scream, then he stumbled back into the house, the from sitting on his chest. All hell broke lose, the damn beast was looking form revenge. It jumped on the dining room table, surveyed the room them jumped at me, I ducked and all I saw was the damn beast’s butt floating by me. I darted in the opposite direction. Raphie was still a little shocked, standing there eyes wide open, mouth hanging down. The monster frog hit the ground then was airborne again, went straight through the from door and we heard it land in the mud outside. Raphie rushed to shut the door. Mommy Charles came out of the her room. “Boi you get me ting for me?” She asked, me and Raphie just stood there, not saying a word.

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Mama Melody

Sometimes at night we could hear she, crying, crying crying. At times others would join she, and man, they could make some real noise, wailing like de wind through de Bambo on de hill behind de prison. She walk by me window, I could hear she deep angry breaths, de ‘oman was real sad,. Me granny came into de room with that mischevious smile on she face. “You hear dat,” she said, That is de Mama Melody, she did dead while she still pregnant, dats why she out dey crying all de damn time,” The old ‘oman din say nutton else, she just got up and left de room. I laid there listening to the crying. When I was older and breave enouff to go outside when I heard the Mama Melody crying. I snuck round de house, me heart beating for so. The some animal ran cross me foot, I almost jump out me skin. I heard de crying in the bushes ahead of me. I crept up to the bushes and shook it, five cats jumped out at me. Damn ole ‘oman, she had me fraid all dem years.