[2004 Young Explorer Wadadli Youth Pen Prize winner]
Mangy Dog woke up on a bright September morning in 1995 only to hear the chatter of doom and gloom among the people on the street of St. John’s. What he heard caused him great distress as he looked for a place to shelter.
“Oh lad, dis a de worse one yet. Dis one dem call hurricane Luis. A wey me go shelta now?! A inna times like these me wish Antigua min ha dog pound. At least me woulda only haffoo worry bout dem putting me to sleep.
“But come to think of it, me na tink me woulda want wan next human foo hole me, for a because a dem me inna dis situation. Just because me na min tun out foo be de pedigree dem min expec, dem kick me outta de yard an let me loose pan de street. Nebba me an humans again!”
Mangy Dog then remembered that he actually lived with humans – those on the streets of St. John’s.
“Na get me wrong, you know. Me have human friends. But dem dey worse off dan me. Even me, one ‘stray,’ does feel shame foo hear dem a beg dollar when de good book say by de sweat a you brow you should eat bread. No, me nr pretend foo be no God-fearing dog, but me ha me pride. In any case, me haffoo live, so pride go haffoo suffer cause ah live by tiefing and begging.”
Just then Mangy Dog saw a Guyanese restaurant.
“Dis look comfortable and warm. Come me go in.”
“Get you mangy, mongrel self outta me place!”
“I, yi, yi, yi! Imagine he come inna foo me country and a come stone me out! An wha mek e worse, he open one a dem sore when de sodden min dey a heal up.”
Mangy dog then headed down to the market. He thought he could find more friendly faces there.
“Oh gawd Margaret, look at that dog! Get it away from me! I don’t want it near my baby. I am sure it has fleas.”
“arrhrhrr! Foo me fleas woulda nebba want foo touch da pickney dey. He a wha Jackie Chan woulda call Third World ugly. Me na lub black people tall! You know de difference between dem an white people? White people na scorn me. At least dem pet me sometimes.”
As Mangy dog was thinking about a little human kindness, a man passed by with a Roti and went to sit on a bench nearby. Mangy Dog’s mouth started to water so he thought of a plan. He would put on a pitiful face and stretch out his paw. It worked. The man took one look at Mangy Dog and threw the Roti on the ground.
“Yap, yap, yap, mhmmm.”
Mangy Dog ate his heartiest meal of the day. This time he was glad he was in bad shape. The man looked at his watch and said out loud,
“Wait, a 3 o’clock already? A better go home and board up me house.”
Mangy Dog was relieved and distressed at the same time. There was no school that day, therefore, no torment from Primary school children when they got out at 3 o’clock. Then again, he had to secure a place to pass the storm.
At about 5:30 that evening, Mangy Dog spotted an abandoned building. He entered it and saw a man curled up in a corner clutching a bottle of Cavalier Rum. He drew closer and closer until he was actually sniffing him. He sensed there was no danger. The dog lay quietly down beside the man who then put his arms around his sore-covered body as strong winds began to blow.
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