Tag Archives: 2005

The Torturer by Sandrena Martin

2005 winner Sandrena Martin reads ‘The Torturer’ at the Word Up! 2006 fundraiser

[2005 Young Explorer Wadadli Youth Pen Winner]


He sits on his cushioned throne watching us, his sweaty, heaving slaves, from a platform not ten yards north of me. He, in all his elegance, sits there, an evil smile playing about his lips. I cannot and will not give him the satisfaction of seeing me falter! I have got to keep going. I must keep up the pace. I cannot afford to slow down.

Every now-and-again he gives us a look of disdain then turns back to his ever-growing harem of former field workers. He turns his attention to one of us in particular, a nicely shaped chocolate colored girl. He glares at her lustfully for a few minutes then beckons her to come join him. Mentally, part of me beseeches her to get away, to run as far away as possible from that swine of a man, even though the larger part wishes to be in her shoes. She will never have to work out here with us any more.

‘Why couldn’t that be me? Is this what my disfigurement has damned me to, a life of eternal toil?! Will I ever be free? Will I…’ Instantly, my thoughts of self-pity are cut short. Someone has just slipped. He shouts to us, unconcerned, that we should continue our work. Had he no heart?

I am entirely drenched in sweat. My body cries out for rest and I must obey. He spots me and slowly he walks towards me, his rod at his side, ever ready to deliver a chastising blow. Instead of striking me though, he speaks to me sharply, making me a public example. Hatred wells up in me and takes the place of my shame. I want to strike out! My hand even moves a bit, but I am, like every other fielder, powerless to stop him.

Under his watch full eye, I return to my ploughshare, my hatred driving me on as a man does his horse team in a race. He makes us pick up the pace and smiles when he sees most of us stumble as we try to keep up with his demands. He becomes even more callous and orders us to pick up the pace once more. Most of us, try, as we might, cannot keep up with the mad man and fall, which only serves to incite his wrath more.

Mercifully, the buzzer rings. We turn off our treadmills and grab our stuff. The instructor leaves with his arms around his latest conquest. The rest of us just file out of Torturer’s Gym, dejectedly. 

THE END

COPYRIGHT INFORMATION & TERMS OF USE
Copyright of the winning Wadadli Pen stories and/or art work featured on this site belongs to the creators of the individual works and are used here purely for promotional and educational purposes. Other blog content, except otherwise noted, is created and/or maintained by Joanne C. Hillhouse. Site content should not be copied, distributed, transmitted, used for commercial purposes, altered, transformed, or built upon without the consent of the copyright holders.

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Fictional Reality by Rilys Adams

[2005 Young Explorer Wadadli Youth Pen Prize Second Placed Writer]

He fired from the car, as a bullet would a gun, dashing through the clearing and running towards the sparkling, ivory sand. He rejoiced when he felt the heat and heard the crunching sound of sand under his feet as he ran eagerly ahead.

Rilys accepts her award from then Culture Director Heather Doram.

“Damon, chile…min’ yu nah bruk yuh neck.”

Damon ignored Nana’s protests but propelled his lanky body faster. He did not stop until he settled into the turquoise cocoon with a loud splash.

Giggling, he dived and surfaced, calling out to Nana to join him. He floated, staring at the crystal, blue sky above then he turned his attention to where Nana had set up picnic under the shade of a mango tree.

Damon occupied himself frisking in the water. He dived and resurfaced repeatedly. Upon his fifth dive, he felt warmth enclose him. An amber glow emanated from a large whirlpool a few feet ahead. Curious, Damon surfaced to obtain more oxygen before he submerged and dived towards the vortex.

As he approached it, the warmth and the force of current increased. The current pulled Damon into the vortex as the warmth soothed him.

Reality lost its authority when Damon found himself in sapphire waters. Marble rocks were visible along the coastline and the sky was a deep violet. His mouth gaped when he viewed the shore which sparkled with fragments of diamonds.

Curiosity compelled him to further observe this uncanny island, for beside a coconut tree grew an apple tree. A heavily accented voice, conveyed in a lazy drawl, floated into audibility.

“What’yu declaration? What’yu motivation? What right d’yu have to trespass on the Isle of the Rastamagician?”

Damon looked for the speaker but saw nothing but swaying trees.

He could barely contain the shock when he sighted him. He was tall and slender, attired in a burgundy robe. His neat dreadlocks were now as white as the marble stone that lined the coast.

“Eh you…what’yu declaration?”

“Me I nah come here on purpose,” Damon stated immediately, in defence of himself.

The Rastamagician grinned, “Couldn’t have.”

The Rastamagician, whose name was Tamag, revealed to Damon the treasures of his island. Tamag took him to a cave, carved from Emeralds where the Rastamagician kept his possessions. There were books, a leaf-collection and shells. In the middle of the cave was a sturdy copper cauldron, where Damon supposed Tamag brewed enchantments and potions.

They toured the rest of the island, which to Damon’s surprise provided a habitat to many mythical creatures. He chased a Gnome and was able to watch a Selkie swim. Damon thought he would burst with excitement and happiness.

After the tour, Tamag offered to demonstrate to Damon a simple spell. Damon was delighted. Tamag placed a book a few feet from Damon, and told him that they were to make it fly.

“Point at it with yuh finger, say Evolvo. Then flick yuh wrist towards you and say Promotum.”

It took many attempts but eventually Damon caused the book to soar towards him. He could not contain his glee.

“You da first to ever come mi island and see it like dis,” Tamag noted.

“People come here, before?”

“They only see barren rocks. They call it Rhedonda. Yu Nana must miss you. You have to go.’

Damon protested to no avail. Tamag placed his hands on his shoulder and cried, “Reverto.”

When Damon pulled himself from the water and headed to Nana, it all seemed like a dream.

“What happen to you, boy?” Nana demanded on seeing Damon’s bemused face.

“Rhedonda is beautiful,” he murmured.

Nana ‘cheupsed’, “Rhedonda’s just a bunch ah rocks.”

THE END

Adams later in 2005 collected a literary arts award from the Optimists - along with Sandrena Martin and Sarah Ann Li, in recognition of their accomplishments in the Wadadli Pen.

COPYRIGHT INFORMATION & TERMS OF USE
Copyright of the winning Wadadli Pen stories and/or art work featured on this site belongs to the creators of the individual works and are used here purely for promotional and educational purposes. Other blog content, except otherwise noted, is created and/or maintained by Joanne C. Hillhouse. Site content should not be copied, distributed, transmitted, used for commercial purposes, altered, transformed, or built upon without the consent of the copyright holders.

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Lucky Dollar by Sarah Ann Li

For  the  past  few  weeks,  everyone  in  my  family  had  been  on  edge. My  mother  was    ill  and  needed  to have an  operation  and  all  the  doctors  we had visited recommended  one hospital  in  Miami  Florida.  Our  problem  was  that  we  couldn’t   afford  the  operation, (but)  we  were  advised  to  have  it  done  soon.

As  I  looked  around  my  small  but  tidy  room,  worrying  about  my  mother’s  health,  I  felt  useless. Was there anything I could do?  I  slowly  got  up  from  my  bed  and  began  walking  towards  the  door. It  was  Saturday,  I  helped  mama  with  the  morning  chores  while  my  dad  and  brother  left  for  work.  When  I   was  finished,  I  asked  mom’s  permission  to  go  play  with  my  best  friend  Sasha.  “Be  careful  and  come  back  before  lunch,” she  said,  softly.  I kissed  her  and  left.

As  I stepped  outside,  I  was  greeted  by  the  inviting  fresh  air.  The  birds  were  singing  sweetly  and  the  palm  trees  were  swaying  in  the  cool  breeze,  occasionally  hiding  the  brilliant  sun. I  nonchalantly  walked  along  the  sidewalk,  glancing  around  me  every  once  in  a  while.  Suddenly I noticed a glimmer up ahead.  Curiously, I quickly walked towards it.  It was a shiny dollar.  As  I  bent  to  pick  it  up  I  felt  lucky.  “It’s only a dollar,” I told myself, “I can’t do much with that.”  I was approaching Mr.  Black’s  Candy  shop  and decided  to get  some  candies  for  Sasha  and  me.

In front  of  the  shop,  I  noticed  a  sign  which  said  Caribbean  Lottery  $1.2 million dollars. The  drawing  of  this  was  after  lunch.  Once inside the shop, my mouth began to water.  The  delicious  aroma  of  chocolate  sherbets  and  fudges  tickled  my  nose.  I handed   Mr.  Black  my  dollar  and   skipped  out  of  the  shop  feeling  satisfied  with  my  purchase.  I then continued on to Sash’s home.  We  played   a  bunch  of  games  with  some  other  children  in  the  neighborhood,   including  cricket.  I was free of worry during that time.  I  had  much  fun  but  had  to leave  since I  promised  mom  I would  be home before  lunch.

I   ran   as  fast  as  I   could,  almost  stumbling  into  Benny,  my  neighbor’s  dog.  I  quickly  patted  his  head  and  continued  to run  towards  my  home.  Upon  arriving,  I  shouted  to mama  that  I  was  home.  My  heart  was  pounding  as  I  sat  down  next  to  our  very  old  transistor  radio. With paper  and  pen  in  hand,  I  sat  poised;  excited,  hoping,  praying  and  waiting.  After  taking  the  winning  lottery  numbers  down  I  slipped  my  ticket  out  of  my  pocket  and   nervously  but  carefully  compared  the numbers.

Sarah Ann Li was one of three Wadadli Pen finalists to receive Optimist awards in 2005; the others were Rilys Adams and Sandrena Martin.

Who  could  have  thought  my  day  was  going  to  turn  out  like  that?  Yes, I had gotten the winning ticket!  I  dashed  into  mom’s  room  and  told  her  the  wondrous  news;  my  dad  and  my  brother  walked  in for  lunch  at  the  same  moment.  We all hugged each other in a tight, emotional hug. The  lord  had  answered  our  prayers,  words  could  not  express  the  feelings  which  flowed  through  us.  Mom was going to be well again.  “Thank you, Lord, for this miracle,” I prayed, silently.  I  felt  I  could  fly  as  the  weight  was  lifted  off  me.

One  week  later  mama  had  the  operation  and  everything  was  successful.  The stress and worry were gone. We  all  continued  our  normal  lives  and   had  so  much  to  be  thankful  for.

NOTE: Sarah Ann Li was the Best Writer Under 12 in 2005.

 THE END

COPYRIGHT INFORMATION & TERMS OF USE
Copyright of the winning Wadadli Pen stories and/or art work featured on this site belongs to the creators of the individual works and are used here purely for promotional and educational purposes. Other blog content, except otherwise noted, is created and/or maintained by Joanne C. Hillhouse. Site content should not be copied, distributed, transmitted, used for commercial purposes, altered, transformed, or built upon without the consent of the copyright holders.

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Who won in 2005?

2005 Wadadli Pen winners (front from left K. Charles, C. Beazer, S. Li, V. Benta; back R. Adams and S. Martin) flanked by Youth Minister Winston Williams and Wadadli Pen chief judge, D. Gisele Isaac.

*In addition to prizes mentioned, all winners receive a certificate from the YE WYPP team.

Also, special prize to the school with the most submissions – Buckley’s Primary – 20 books donated by Macmillan Publishers. This included copies of Backfire and Act of God (various authors); Baba and Mr. Big, Full Circle: The Rami Johnson Story, A Cow called Boy, and Big Doc Bitterroot (C. Everard Palmer); The Legend of St. Ann’s Flood (Debbie Jacob); Caribbean Folk Tales and Fantasies (Michael Anthony); The Annihilation of Fish and Other Stories (Anthony Winkler); and The Boy from Willow Bend (Joanne C. Hillhouse)

Honourable Mention – Under-12 Category:

 Chatrisse Beazer, 10, Irene B. Williams School student for her story A Scary Night.

Prize Package:

  • Big Banana gift certificate
  • Best of Books gift certificate [valued at EC$40]
  • EC$100 cash – YE WYPP [thanks to American Women’s Club & Daily Observer contributions]
  • YE WYPP certificate for ‘The Boy from Willow Bend’ (Joanne C. Hillhouse) courtesy Macmillan
  •  Teddy Bear – HERO

Honourable Mention – General:

 Debesha S. A. Grant, 18, for her story Blue Mountain Hike.

Prize Package:

  • Images.Cam photo package
  • Motion in Poetry book/CD combo – Motion/Women’s Press
  • EC$100 cash – YE WYPP [thanks to American Women’s Club & Daily Observer contributions]
  •  YE WYPP certificate for ‘Dancing Nude in the Moonlight’ (Joanne C. Hillhouse) & ‘Brother Man’ (Roger Mais) courtesy Macmillan

Kennella Charles, 16, Ottos Comprehensive student, for her story Awaken to the Night.

Prize Package:

  • Images.Cam photo package
  • The Source gift certificate [valued at EC$125]
  • EC$100 cash – YE WYPP [thanks to American Women’s Club & Daily Observer contributions]
  • YE WYPP certificate for ‘Dancing Nude in the Moonlight’ (Joanne C. Hillhouse) & ‘There’s No Place Like’ (Tessa McWatt) courtesy Macmillan

Verdanci Benta, 12, Antigua Girls High School student, for her story Boysie’s Fixed Account.

Prize Package:

  • Woods Pharmacy Gift Certificate [valued at EC$100]
  •  Best of Books Gift Certificate [ valued at EC$40]
  • EC$100 cash – YE WYPP [thanks to American Women’s Club & Daily Observer contributions]
  • YE WYPP certificate for ‘The Hummingbird Tree’ (Ian McDonald) & ‘Butler, Til the Final Bell’ (Michael Anthony) courtesy Macmillan

BEST UNDER 12 WRITER

Best Under-12 Writer:

Sarah Ann Li, 11, St. Andrew’s School student, for her story Lucky Dollar.

Prize Package:

  • Happy Kids Gift Certificate [valued at EC$150]
  • Caribbean Helicopters [US$80 voucher for tour]
  • Red portfolio, mini-portfolio & paints – Harper’s
  • EC$150 cash – YE WYPP [thanks to American Women’s Club & Daily Observer contributions]
  • YE WYPP certificate for ‘The Boy from Willow Bend’ (Joanne C. Hillhouse) & ‘Going Home and Other Tales from Guyana’ (Deryck Bernard) courtesy Macmillan
  • Teddy Bear – HERO

TOP THREE WRITERS

Third Place:

Liscia Lawrence, 17, Clare Hall Secondary School student, for her story Misinterpreted.

Prize Package:

  • EC$350 Food voucher – Anjo Wholesale
  • Jolly Beach day pass for two
  • EC$100 Kool Net gift certificate
  • Benetton bag
  • EC$50 Best of Books gift certificate [courtesy Cedric Holder and the Cushion Club]
  • ‘Motion in Poetry’ – Motion/Women’s Press
  • YE WYPP certificate for ‘Dancing Nude in the Moonlight’ (Joanne C. Hillhouse) & ‘Brother Man’ (Roger Mais) courtesy Macmillan

Second Place:

Rilys Adams, 15, Antigua Girls High School student, for her story Fictional Reality.

Prize Package:

  • Two LIAT tickets
  • Citizen watch and bracelet [from Colombian Emeralds]
  • Best of Books Gift Certificate [valued at $60]
  • EC$100 Kool Net gift certificate
  • YE WYPP certificate for ‘Dancing Nude in the Moonlight’ (Joanne C. Hillhouse) & ‘Ginger Lily’ (Margaret Knight) courtesy Macmillan

Winner:

Sandrena Martin, 16, Antigua State College student, for her story The Torturer.

Prize Package:

  • Personal Internet Communicator [MAX]– Cable and Wireless

    Me, Joanne C. Hillhouse, collecting the Cable and Wireless contribution from Corporate Communications Manager Paula Lee.

  • BWIA ticket to any Caribbean destination
  • Cross Pen – Stephen B. Shoul [est. value EC$120]
  •  ‘Bein’ Black’– Althea Prince/ Insomniac Press/ Canadian Scholars’ Press
  • EC$100 Kool Net gift certificate
  • YE WYPP certificate for ‘Dancing Nude in the Moonlight’ (Joanne C. Hillhouse) & ‘Such as I have’ (Garfield Ellis) courtesy Macmillan
  • Teddy Bear – HERO

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Unheard by Rilys Adams

[2006 – Young Explorer Wadadli Youth Pen Prize First Runner Up]

The blows are forceful with intent to hurt. You desperately want to cower into a corner, and raise your arms to block the blows. But by now you know, you are no match for him, resistance causes more pain. So you stand erect, wincing ever slightly when he hits a part of your body already bruised. You want to cry, to scream, to run and to beg for mercy but you refuse to. He can break your body but not your soul.

He hurls angry words at you, calling you depraved names. Telling you that he could do much better. But couldn’t you? Who is he to talk in this manner? Does he have a job? He is a sperm donor, not a father. Never! What of the money for which you toil so hard, day in…day out? Alcohol; all of it, save the little you manage to hide away for necessities. Food. So really, who is the worthless one? He can break your body but not your self-worth.

He cares for none but himself. Your negative attributes, which he has taken care to point out, disappear suddenly when he is ready to claim his marital rights. To resist would be more blows, more pain. So you lie passively, as he takes what is his. He can break your body but not you.

But still you can’t find the motivation to leave him. Bound by the band of gold, the band he refuses to wear. You think of the excuses almost as soon as the blows stop. The children. You cannot suffer them to grow up in a broken home. It is so easy to forget, that when his reign of terror begins…your daughters cower together, crying. Wondering why it won’t stop. Night after night the shouting, the tears, the fearful look in your eyes as you tell them to stay away. You argue with yourself, who will protect you from his rage if you decide to leave. The laws? What laws? You’d be better off calling Barnes to arrange a pick up time for your battered body. He has broken your body and caused you to fear.

The turning point came as quickly as lightning could ever strike. As bright and clear as any vision Daniel had ever seen. He towers over you, attempting to strike when your oldest child runs towards him. “Daddy,” she yells, “stop it. She’s sorry…”

At six, she cannot fully understand that her father is no less monstrous than a beast. You try to call out to her, but his anger has already turned from you … to your child. Your precious child. He hits her once, and by then you are on your feet. Moving towards him, feeling a new emotion. Not like the disgust you’ve had for him before. Rage. Pure rage. A woman’s life is her child. You shock him with your anger, as you scream at him, hurling blows that he barely feels. He looks at you for one moment. His unadulterated rage is now focussed on you, as he backs you into a corner. Your daughter runs out of the house screaming, crying, “Daddy killing Mommy.”

He hits you, kicks you but you refuse to scream, your courage cannot be broken. Your daughter still screams as he slams you against the wall…the world slowly goes black.

You awaken shivering. It was only a dream, a nightmare. You move closer to your husband, a nightmare that will never be reality.

Meanwhile…

The blows are forceful with intent to hurt. She desperately wants to cower into a corner…

THE END

COPYRIGHT INFORMATION & TERMS OF USE
Copyright of the winning Wadadli Pen stories and/or art work featured on this site belongs to the creators of the individual works and are used here purely for promotional and educational purposes. Other blog content, except otherwise noted, is created and/or maintained by Joanne C. Hillhouse. Site content should not be copied, distributed, transmitted, used for commercial purposes, altered, transformed, or built upon without the consent of the copyright holders.

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Blue Mountain Hike by Debesha S. A. Grant

[2005 Young Explorer Wadadli Youth Pen Prize Honourable Mention]


An annual event, the three day Blue Mountain camping trip kept Tieka on a high for weeks. An event that only a select few were allowed to attend and she could not believe that she had been chosen!

When she arrived at the pickup area she saw that forty students were present, not including the coaches and other adults invited along for the excursion.

They arrived at Mavis Bank at five pm Friday evening, and Tieka, like all the other
newcomers, was bursting with the knowledge that she would finally experience
what she had heard about on numerous occasions. Next year she would be telling
the tales.
During the seven hour wait they were instructed by Sean to repack in order to
make space in their bags to carry food, evoking complaints from
many.

As the time drew nearer to 12 midnight, the departure time, the feeling
of anxiety and excitement intensified. They were put in three groups, and, armed
with flashlights, their only protection against the dark of night, they set off on their estimated six hour journey.  They set off downhill and Tieka began to wonder if the
stories she had heard about the strenuous uphill climb had not been
exaggerated.  The atmosphere was festive, filled with the sound of
laughter and chatter.

Their first obstacle was a river with only a fallen tree stretching from bank to bank, sparse boulders within their only means of reaching the other side.  That hurdle
overcome, they began their journey uphill.  Uphill and uphill and uphill they went,
and uphill still.  The more they ascended the cooler the air got, cooling down their
tired, hot and weary bodies.

With each light Tieka saw, she hoped that they had reached. After the first
two hours, the realization set in that they still had a long way to go.

Leaving the houses and lights behind, the night sounds set in; the
rushing of a stream in the distance, the chirping of crickets, the rush of breeze
through the tall Willow and Spruce trees, the sound of dragging
feet – tired and weary.

After four hours, and without realizing it, Tieka began the climb of the famous Jacobs Ladder, a mini mountain in itself.  With the faint light of the approaching dawn, the first trees that make the world renowned Blue Mountain Coffee were seen, and also the first set of signs to campers. Tieka kicked into autopilot, walking only because she knew that she had to, and, if she did not, she would be left behind, feeling like each step would be her last.

Almost at the top, she caught up with the others who had stopped at a lookout/rest spot overlooking Kingston. The view was exquisitely breathtaking; Kingston, Papine and miles of green lush coffee and other trees laying below, with the first ray of dawn barely touching the towns.

After a fifteen minute rest and snack break, they were all refreshed and rearing to go.  Reaching the top of Jacobs Ladder, Breezy Gully was pointed out to them.  Upon hearing that they had about 45 minutes, an hour at most, to go Tieka began to walk faster, anticipation giving extra strength.

“WELCOME TO PORTLAND GAP, bunkhouses to the left.”

Tieka could not believe it. She read the sign twice.  With a burst of energy, all the previous
weariness was forgotten as she took off at a run.  Reaching the bunkhouse, she was told to take a bed and fall in, and, after finding an appropriate bunk, she settled in.

“I made it, I reached,” thought Tieka, right before she fell asleep.
THE END

COPYRIGHT INFORMATION & TERMS OF USE

Copyright of the winning Wadadli Pen stories and/or art work featured on this site belongs to the creators of the individual works and are used here purely for promotional and educational purposes. Other blog content, except otherwise noted, is created and/or maintained by Joanne C. Hillhouse – coordinator of the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize, and author of The Boy from Willow Bend and Dancing Nude in the Moonlight. Site content should not be copied, distributed, transmitted, used for commercial purposes, altered, transformed, or built upon without the consent of the copyright holders.

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A Scary Night by Chatrisse Beazer

[2005 Young Explorer Wadadli Youth Pen Prize Honourable Mention – Under 12 Category]

As I got ready to go to bed, I kissed everybody goodnight and went upstairs. I stepped into my bedroom. It looked very dark and the owls were hooting mournfully. My bed was cold. I felt scared.

“It feels spooky,” I said to myself with a shudder.

I went into the cupboard to get a flashlight to defend myself against anyone who could possibly come into my room. I pushed my head under the pillow and clutched the flashlight tightly.

A few minutes went by. Then, was it my ears deceiving me or did I hear howling? I listened carefully. I did hear it. And it was in my own bedroom!!! I peered from under the pillow cautiously. My heart was beating so hard I could feel it coming up my neck. I saw two white things that looked like ghosts. I screamed,

“Mommy!!!”

Then one of them came near the bed. I took up the flashlight to hit it on its head. I expected my flashlight to hit empty space, but it landed hard on its head. I realized that it was a person and not a ghost! I got very angry and pulled the sheet off their heads. It was my very own brother and sister.

“How dare you!” I shouted.

They laughed.

“How dare you!” I screamed.

“We did it to scare you,” John said.

“Both of you are just disgusting!” I shouted.

“Scaredy cat! Scaredy cat!” Amy jeered.

I stormed downstairs and told my Mom and she called then down and said,

“No television, no friends over for the week, no computer. Oh, and you will go to bed early, at seven-thirty, before Chatrisse.”

As we went upstairs I taunted them,

“Early birds, early birds!”

“Chatrisse!” my mother called from downstairs.

I sped into my bedroom and slept peacefully.

 

THE END

 

COPYRIGHT INFORMATION & TERMS OF USE

Copyright of the winning Wadadli Pen stories and/or art work featured on this site belongs to the creators of the individual works and are used here purely for promotional and educational purposes. Other blog content, except otherwise noted, is created and/or maintained by Joanne C. Hillhouse – coordinator of the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize, and author of The Boy from Willow Bend and Dancing Nude in the Moonlight. Site content should not be copied, distributed, transmitted, used for commercial purposes, altered, transformed, or built upon without the consent of the copyright holders.

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Boysie’s Fixed Account by Verdanci Benta

[2005 Young Explorer Wadadli Youth Pen Prize Honourable Mention]

Verdanci Benta workshopped her story in the Wadadli Pen workshop before the competition; here she is hard at work.

Boysie was a regular jack-of-all-trades who was more often out of work than in.

In order to save his family from hunger he often ‘trusted’ goods from the ‘Wayside Grocery Shop’, the only shop in Dryriver village.

The ‘Wayside Grocery Shop’ was a wooden, old-fashioned grocery shop with a long counter that separated the goods from the customers. The shelves were neatly stacked. Hanging from a nail over the highest shelf was a clip-board crowded with bills and other valuable documents. On one far end of the counter was a large, heavy-looking scale for weighing goods like sugar and red herring. At the other far end of the counter was a cage-like compartment from which adult stuff such as rum and cigarettes were sold.

Boysie’s connection to the ‘Wayside Grocery Shop’ goes way back to his childhood and he seemed to have inherited the habit of taking goods on credit, but, unlike his mother, he was a bad debtor.

“See you next week, Miss Ruby,” he would say to the shop-keeper when reminded to pay.

Miss Ruby, hands akimbo, would always reply, “Boysie, if it wasn’t for your wife and children, I would let you starve.” But Boysie knew better and just kept on ‘trusting’ goods from Miss Ruby.

But Boysie was soon to find out another side of Miss Ruby that he had never seen before.

“Boysie, I hear that you working for big money now,” Miss Ruby shouted out to him one Friday night while the regular guys were under the mango tree building and breaking up law. Boysie’s voice had risen above the others because he felt that he knew everything about income tax.

Being the only shop in the village, in and around the ‘Wayside Grocery Shop’ was always teeming with activity. The age-old ‘lazy bench’ outside under the mango tree was where the villagers and passersby would sit and chat, and one of its frequent visitors was Boysie.

“Man, no country can run without income tax!” he told the group of men, the majority of whom were Labourites. But Boysie was so taken up with his argument that he did not hear Miss Ruby.

“Boysie, you cyarn’t hear Miss Ruby talking to you? You making big money now,” Sukie called out.

“Go in and pay your debt, man, and when you finish, go and pay up your income tax, too!” mused Jakie.

But Boysie did not like where the discussion was heading. News had obviously reached Miss Ruby that he had a construction job.

So, when he finally went into the shop to explain his position to Miss Ruby, he felt like a school-boy on his way to the principal’s office to explain why he did not do his homework.

“Miss Ruby, I have a fixed account at the bank. I can’t draw any money under six months. Please, give me a break ‘til next mont’,” he said as Miss Ruby, with deft fingers, sifted through her thick records for all his bills.

“Here. Pay up all or none, Sa!” she said as she handed over the bills to Boysie, who by then had had a look at the freshly written sign, over the top shelf, which read: “NO Credit Today, Come Tomorrow.”

“Boysie, as far as me can see, your account here is fixed at $450.00. It not goin’ to get any higher,” she said as she dug her hands into the two large pockets of her dress and turned her back at him to serve Gwen who had just come in to get her evening’s appetizer at the adult section.

Boysie glanced at the glass in Gwen’s hand, then looked out the window just in time to see a Migo-man delivering a brand new television set at his house.

THE END

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