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FEATURED STORY

Posted in Arts, Black British Literature, Black History, Books, british dialect, Community, Culture, Education, Fiction, History, Literature, Newsletter, Publications, Short Story, Writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 22, 2018 by https://panthernewsletter1.wordpress.com

Judess

© 2002 Norman Samuda Smith.

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‘A moment of patience in a moment of anger saves you a hundred moments of regret…’

Judess is featured in Britannia’s Children – Volume II – A Collection of Short Stories by Norman Samuda Smith

Buy your copy @

https://www.feedaread.com/books/Britannias-Children-Volume-II-9781788763851.aspx

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          “Hello…”

          “Hello David?”

          “Yes hello Mrs Malcolm, yuh a’right?”

          “Yes dear, I’m fine t’ank you. Yuh good?”

          “Yes I’m good. What can I do for you Mrs M?”

          “Yuh speak to Judy yet?”

          “No, I just come in from work, she s’pose to be comin’ round later.”

          “Well, I don’t t’ink yuh gwine see her t’day yuh nuh.”

          “Why? What’s happened?”

          “Nothing happen. So yuh nuh talk to her?”

          “No.”

          “Ok, I’ll leave it for her to tell yuh den. I’ll get her to phone yuh when I speak to her.”

          “Ok Mrs M.”

          “I will call yuh back later after she talk to yuh, ok?”

          “A’right cool.”

          “Bye f’now.”

          “Bye.”

          ‘Something’s up…’ David thought glaring at the receiver before he placed it in its cradle. He drifted from the living room into the kitchen where he saw an envelope leaning against the fruit bowl on the table. He sat down, picked it up and read, ‘To David,’ before he ripped it open and unfolded the letter enclosed…

          Dear David,

I’m sorry; I know you were expecting me to come around this evening with the three months instalments I owe you for the loan. Please don’t think badly of me, I’m not running away, but I’ve been given an opportunity I haven’t had in over four years. I’ve been fed up of living from hand to mouth, scraping the bottom of the barrel, robbing Peter to pay Paul, so when Dennis offered an all-expense paid two weeks holiday to the Canary Islands, I couldn’t resist. Please don’t be mad, I’ll talk to you when I get back.

          Love you – Judy

          ‘Who d’raas is Dennis?!’ David cussed screwing up the note and flinging it across the kitchen. His relationship with Judy had started to get shaky about six months ago, he sensed it but chose to ignore the warnings and soldiered on. He had been the perfect gentleman, not once did he push the physical side of their relationship beyond the token goodnight kiss, because Judy continually said she wasn’t ready cos she had just come out of an abusive relationship; he respected her wishes. Such restraint was saintly he thought, most man would of run to the hills, and yet without warning Judy was about to board a plane with Dennis – a stranger. Once they reach the Canary Isles and sekkle in, Judy might allow him to do the deed to her in their hotel room. The thought sent rage through him that shook his body.

          ‘Who d’raas is Dennis? What has dis bwoy got that I haven’t? – ‘Is there something lacking in me, or is there some strange mystique that attract Judy to him?’ Whatever it was, there had to be something that explained Judy’s behaviour. The truth of the matter, which deep down he knew, Judy was cool sharing his bed, doing the kissing and cuddling ting, sleeping with him; but terrified, maybe disgusted of the prospect of them engaging in intercourse and the mingling of their bodies, exhibiting their full nakedness, bathing in the flesh of another and drowning in the sea of spiritual emotions – ‘Yeh man sticky sweaty lust we never had, we wasn’t right,’ David thought. ‘I should have trusted my instincts.’ – Yet despite his senses telling him different, the prospect of life without Judy’s companionship right now was agonising. He mistakenly took it for granted that she was the one and most likely would always be by his side, and now, that false hope left his dreams crushed.

          David sighed deeply and glared at the crumpled note he had dashed across the kitchen, he considered reading it again to confirm that what he read was genuine, but what was the point? – This was real, he had to accept it, and he needed a shower. His mom always said, ‘Water is de cleansing soul of life…’ and once under the spray of water he could wash away the confusion of self-guilt, the pain, the disappointment, the anger; figure out how to move on and learn how to be single again after four years of being with Judy.

          The phone began to ring before he had the chance to enter his bedroom and step out of his work clothes. David didn’t want to answer it; in fact he didn’t want to speak to anybody at all, but his higher-self told him to pick up the receiver, the call might be important.

          “Hello…”

          “Hello David it’s me…”

His heart skipped a beat when he heard Judy’s voice and his mind was immediately tossed into a confusion mix up, should he hang up, cuss her or just be calm? His dad’s favourite saying was, ‘There’s a time to be humble and a time to fuss and cuss…’ and remembering that quote, he realised there were more important issues to deal with right yah now, rather than pacifying his ego by being disrespectful.

          “Wha appm Judy, where are you?” David asked after taking a breath.

          “I’m at the airport.”

          “Which one?”

          “Birmingham.”

          “Oh, ok.”

          “Are you alright?”

          “Yeh man, me cool,” he lied.

          “Oh, I was gonna say you sound calm. I thought you’d be vex wid me.”

          “I kinna am, but there’s nothin’ I can do ‘bout it now. So where’s the money to pay the loan, yuh spend it?”

          “No, it’s in the bank; I’ll give it to you when I get back.”

          “Dat’s no good to me Judy. Payment is due inna couple of days. What am I s’pose to tell dem?

          “Just tell ‘em that you’re a bit short and you’ll sort ‘em out in a couple of weeks.”

          “As simple as dat huh? – Ok.”

          “I’ll make it up to you when I get back babes, I promise.”

          “Ok.”

          “Gotta go, they’re callin’ us to board the plane; I left my car round the back at yours, the keys are in y’bedroom and the key to my flat, so could yah look after it and make sure my flat’s ok?”

          “Yeh, yeh no problem.”

          “Thank you babes, you’re a star, see you inna couple of weeks, bye!”

          “Aaahhh…!” David screamed as he slammed down the receiver. He filled the air with curses as he entered his bedroom. There, sprawled out on the bedside cabinet, were the keys for her car and her flat. He stepped out of his work clothes and into the shower where the gush of water saturated his body. It was true what his mother said; ‘Water is de cleansing soul of life…’ Her words made him smile for the first time that evening. He knew what he was gonna do.

          He pulled up outside Judy’s flat in her silver coloured Ford Mondeo. This was the last favour he was gonna do for her. He let himself into her flat, checked every room making sure all the wall plugs and electrical appliances were switched off. In the corner of her living room a CD rack stood beside the black Aiwa hi-fi system, he strolled over to it and collected all the CD’s that were his, throwing them into a plastic bag. Then he disconnected the speakers, unplugged the main body of the hi-fi from the wall. In two trips to the car, he placed them on the back seat and drove home. By the time he finished setting up the Hi-Fi in his living room, his phone began to ring. David strolled over and picked up the receiver expecting to hear Judy’s mom’s voice.

          “Hello.”

          “Hi David.” Maureen, Judy’s elder sister sounded solemn.

          “Oh, wha appm Maureen, yuh good?”

          “Yeh, I’m fine thanks, more importantly, how are you?”

          “I’m good yuh know Maureen.”

          “Yuh sure?”

          “Well, I’m a bit battered, but I’ll survive.”

          “Aww, mom was so embarrassed what Judy do to you, she ask me to phone you ‘n’ check in.”

          “Thank you, and no need for her to be shame; she nuh do nuttn wrong.”

          “Well we’re all embarrassed; friends don’t do that to each other y’know.”

          “Well, dat’s not all she’s done Maureen, trust me.”

          “Oh my god, what else she do? Don’t hide nuttn David, tell me…”

          “Are yuh sittin’ down?”

          “Yes I am…”

          “Well let me reveal a few tings bout yuh sister…”

          Surprisingly to David, during the days while Judy was away sunning it up with Dennis in the Canaries, he slept well, reported into work on time, and completed the briefs that were set; the only thing was when he reached home; he had too much time to think about Judy. She was like forbidden fruit, almost sterile, like being placed on a page of an ancient photo album that could be viewed but not touched. He had finally admitted to himself that their relationship was done, there was no going back. He was just a prop, something to dangle from her arm when they went out socially, and in secret, she used her prettiness to flirt with other men to get what she wanted. He had been used, he knew it, and her sister Maureen confirmed it in their many telephone conversations. Yet Judy was like no other woman he had met before, stunning, regal, always stared at when they were out together and continually given verbal accolades by both men and women, but that was the thing, she just had the looks that masked what was really inside.

          David’s trail of thought was interrupted by a knock on the door; he took a deep breath and strolled through the hallway to open it. Judy stood smiling, her pearling white teeth shone amidst the background of her sun-kissed skin.

          “Hi-yah babes, did yuh miss me?” She motioned to enter, arms spread wide as though she was expecting to walk into David’s welcoming hug. David took a step back and blocked her way in. Immediately, her smile dissolved into a frown.

          “What’s wrong?”

          “You are wrong; we are wrong!” David chuckled sarcastically.

          “I had to take a break and nothing happened between me and Dennis if that’s what you’re thinkin’.”

          “I really don’t care what happened between you and Dennis to be honest. Oh, by the way, here’s the key to yuh yard.”

          “What about the car key?”

          “The car is mine. You ain’t paid nuttn toward the loan payment. Yuh always makin’ excuses dat yuh bruk, so step away from me door.”

          “How am I gonna get home?”

          “I call a taxi fe yuh.” David dipped into his pocket and slapped a ten-pound note in her hand. “It should be here in five minutes, you can wait outside fe it; and another ting, I take the stereo from yuh yard, keep the three instalments yuh was gonna give me before yuh run off wid Dennis; yuh sister sort me out to pay off de loan. So you ‘n’ me is done.”

          “Yuh told me mom and sister bout the loan?”

          “Yep, and Maureen send me a cheque to pay it off one time.”

          “You bastard!” Judy swung a kick at him, David stepped back to avoid her foot connecting with his ‘crown jewels.’

          “Don’t do dat Judess!”

He gently pushed her away from his doorway.

          “Judess? – Why yuh callin’ me that?”

          “You figure it out, yuh not stupid! Yuh taxi a wait fe yuh – Bye.” David slammed the door in her face and leaned against it pumping his fists. “YESSS!”

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*All rights reserved.  No part of this story may be reproduced in any form or by any means without prior written permission of the writer Norman Samuda-Smith.*

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BRITANNIA’S CHILDREN – Volume II

Posted in Articles, Arts, Black British Literature, Black History, Books, british dialect, Community, Culture, Education, Fiction, History, Literature, News, Newsletter, Publications, Short Story, Writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 26, 2018 by https://panthernewsletter1.wordpress.com

BRITANNIA’S CHILDREN – Volume II

A Collection of Short Stories that grapple with the issues of depression, love, hope and remembrance of departed ones is now published!! 

More details where to buy the book click on the link below

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BRITANNIA’S CHILDREN – VOLUME II

Posted in Articles, Arts, Black British Literature, Black History, Books, british dialect, Community, Culture, Current Affairs, Education, Fiction, Literature, News, Newsletter, Publications, Short Story with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 1, 2018 by https://panthernewsletter1.wordpress.com

 

AN EXCITING

NEW BOOK

COMING SOON

IN 2018

Watch the book trailer here…

FEATURED STORY

Posted in Arts, Black British Literature, Black History, Books, british dialect, Community, Culture, Education, Fiction, History, Literature, Newsletter, Publications, Short Story, Writing with tags , , , on March 31, 2011 by https://panthernewsletter1.wordpress.com

 

Micah’s Letter

© 2011 Norman Samuda-Smith

The Football Match is featured in Britannia’s Children – A Collection of Short Stories by Norman Samuda Smith

Buy your copy @

https://www.feedaread.com/books/Britannias-Children-9781782991656.aspx

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Number: WG8668 – Name: Micah Green

H.M.Prison

Winson Green Road

Birmingham.

Wha gwaan Dad.

I got yah script and thanks for saying that yah don’t judge me but yah will always love me unconditionally.  Believe me dad, that means a lot.

Well dad its official, I’ll be on lock down for a year.  They say I’ll be out in six months as long as I don’t get inna no fuss nor fight.  So I’m gonna keep my head down, be humble, control my temper and I’ll be out soon.

I’m sharing a cell with an older black geezer; he’s four years older than you.  He’s been locked down for just over a year now and has got another two years to go maybe less he says, he’s ok and is a very intelligent man.  A couple of days ago we was reasoning during lights out, about an argument he had with his woman.  He said he knew what was gonna happen and he should have got out of the relationship earlier, nuff of his family and friends warn him same way, but because he loves his children, he didn’t wanna become a weekend daddy.  His woman was always nagging about everyting; she was never satisfied with what they got, yah know de ting dad, money, material things, the whole nine yards.   One day he snapped when she try to block him from leaving the house during one big argument.  So he saw red and box her down and couldn’t stop.  It was only cos his children was screaming, the mist cleared and he realised what he was doing.  He called the police and they lock him up.  He said sitting in a two by four makes you reflect, and all that thinking made him realise when people say love is blind, they assume seh dat blindness is always between a man and a woman; but yah can be blinded by yah love for yah children.  That’s where he was, he stayed because of them.  Now he recognises if he had left his woman when he start seeing the signs years ago, it would’ve been better for him, her and the children.  Bwoy, ah so it go sometimes, nuh true dad?

I told him about yah and the advice yah tried to give me everytime.  He said I should’ve listened to yah, that I don’t realise how lucky I am to have a father like you who’s there, who cares and is willing to listen and talk.  I’ve been sitting and reflecting on what yah tried to say to me and yah was always right dad.  Whatever yah talked to me about, woman, friends, family, everything about life, yah was always right; but the majority of the time, I was hard of hearing.  As Granny always say to me nuff time: “Bwoy yuh too hard ears!”  I thought I knew it all, silly me.  I just gotta be calmer in the future, think a problem or situation through and act on it constructively and positively.  Yah see dad, whenever yah say or write me a script, yah sound like a messenger from God.  I wouldn’t change yah for the world, I’m sorry about all the bad things I said to yah; and like yah said in yah last script, yah hope I learn from my mistakes.  I think I have.

I hope yah ok though dad.  Don’t worry too much about me, I’m ok, I’m not in a crazy wing full up with murderers and ting, most of the mans dem in the wing are cool.

Well me ah go sign off now, I’ll sort out a day for yah to come and visit, so I’ll see yah soon.  I know mom is still vex and disapointed with me, cos she hasn’t answered any of my scripts.  Say hello to her for me and that I love her.

Til we see each other, take care of yahself dad and mom too –  Love always

Yah son – Micah

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*All rights reserved.  No part of this story may be reproduced in any form or by any means without prior written permission of the writer Norman Samuda-Smith.*

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FEATURED STORY

Posted in Arts, Black British Literature, Black History, Books, british dialect, Community, Culture, Education, Fiction, History, Literature, Newsletter, Publications, Short Story, Writing with tags , , , on February 28, 2011 by https://panthernewsletter1.wordpress.com

RESPECT

 (PART ONE)

© 2011 Norman Samuda-Smith

Respect is featured in Britannia’s Children – A Collection of Short Stories by Norman Samuda Smith

Buy your copy @

https://www.feedaread.com/books/Britannias-Children-9781782991656.aspx

___________________________________________________________________________________________________

Tony rolls onto his stomach and is spread-eagled across his bed.  It didn’t feel as though he had a good night’s sleep, more like he’d just finished playing two hard fought basketball games in succession and lost.  He rolls onto his back and tries to get up, but fatigue weighs him down and prevents every twisted sinew and all his aching limbs from moving.  What makes things worse is the splitting headache hammering between his eyes and spreading to the back of his head. The heat from the radiator doesn’t help matters; it slowly sucks the oxygen out of his bedroom.

The pirate radio station operating from the flat next door is in full swing, giving it large.  The drum and bass penetrates his bedroom wall as the MC’s verse their concrete jungle psalms, free-styling with anger, joy and passion – wailing – “Wheel and come again selecta!” – Ecstatic when a wicked lyric is thrown down.  Then there is the knocking, banging and stamping from the neighbours above and below him; their way of complaining about the up-tempo rumpus that’s going on.  Tony stretches and grabs the spare pillow and covers his head; trying to smother the noise…

             “I should complain ‘bout dis…” he moans.

The inter-com in the hallway begins to buzz.  It buzzes again, continually for what seems like forever.  Forgetting his aches and pains, Tony springs out of bed drags on his nearby track suit trousers and heads for the receiver to cuss the individual who is causing the disturbance…

             “Hello…HELLO!”  –  No answer, he places the receiver back in its cradle, cussing while doing so.  In the bathroom he gazes into the mirror, the whites of his eyes are red.  He groans when he leans forward to wash his face and brush his teeth.  In the kitchen, he switches on the kettle.  While the water boils, he stares out the window of his high-rise block ten floors down and spots four children repeatedly slide up and down a huge puddle which is frozen solid in the middle of the car park; they’re having big fun.  Around and about them are the frosty residential rooftops, the frosty back and front gardens and the frost-covered parked cars in the surrounding streets, beyond that a clear view of the dual-carriage way.  His eyes follow it north as it spirals to join the motorway.  He sees the landscape of eight districts of Birmingham to the point where the horizon kisses the clear blue sky.  The sun is shining gloriously through the firmament and the frost lay as thick as snow on the rooftop of the tool making factory across the road.  Tony takes a sup from his cup of tea, which internally makes him feel better.

His road and the surrounding streets are almost void of cars on what is usually a bustling part of town.  Tony gives thanks to God and Sunday for this near stillness; cos only on this day does the roaring traffic which leaps out of the dual-carriage way and into his flat every day stop.  There is a knock at the door.  Tony steals a quick glance at the clock hanging on the kitchen wall which reads 10.30am.  Jehovah’s witnesses usually come sniffing around about this time and the idea of reasoning with them right now doesn’t appeal to him.  They bang the door this time and a voice shouts through his letterbox…

             “Yow! Open de door nuh blood!”

            “Definitely not Jehovah’s witnesses.”  Tony is vex when he peers through the spy-hole and scrutinizes seven black youths loafing around, donned in their baseball caps and hoods.  They pound the door again.  Tony hauls the door open…

            “What?

            “Yeh, sorry t’disturb yuh big man, but me and d’mans dem jus’ come t’do our gig in dah studio – Y’get me?”

            “What?” fury almost chokes Tony.

            “Dah radio station star. We come t’do our gig.”

            “Which door do you usually knock when yuh do yuh radio gig yout’ man?”

The yout’ points to the next-door flat where the music was coming from.

            “So why yuh knockin’ my raas door?”

There is no answer from the yout’, his friends stand around with their hands in their pockets and their shoulders slouched forward, all of them waddling from side to side like restless Penguins…

            “Look, get one ting straight right,” Tony’s eyes convey the fury within him, “…don’t knock me door again, seen? And stop ringin’ de inter-com.  Yuh overstand?”  

            “Cha, no need t’gwaan like dat big man.  Like I said me and d’mans…”

Tony slams the door in the yout’s face.  In the kitchen he prepares the traditional Sunday rice and peas, roast chicken, baked potatoes and vegetables.  When his children come round later, they will eat, drink and be merry, he smiles at the thought of that.  While the kidney beans simmer, he makes his way to the bathroom, to have that long awaited soak in the bath; the phone which suddenly starts ringing diverts his route.

            “Ah shit what now? – Hello.”

            “Hello yuhself.  Where’s Michael?”

            “What yuh mean where’s Michael Marcia?  He’s at your yard enit?”

            “No he’s not.  His bed wasn’t slept in last night.”

            “Well perhaps he stop over at one of him friend yard or suppm.”

            “Just check yuh spare room and see if him in deh please.”

            “A’right, hol’ on…”

Tony drifts down the hallway with the phone in his hand and enters the spare room to see that Michael is curled up and sleeping peacefully on the bunk bed…

            “Yeh, he’s here…” Tony confirms in a whisper rolling his eyes.

            “Yuh see?  And I bet yuh don’t even know what time he come in last night, do you?”

            “Don’t start now Marcia…” Tony’s voice is courteous but patronising.

            “What yuh mean don’t start now Tony?  He’s only fifteen and him out til all hours!  I blame you fe dis!”

            “ME?

            “Yes you!  Yuh too laid back man.  Yuh don’t phone him and ask him wha gwaan in him life.  Some father you are!” she spits out her words contemptuously.

            “Oh, it’s like dat now is it?”

            “Yeh whatever or however yuh wanna take it bredrin!  When he wake, talk to him right, coz he too facety toward me…”

            “Oh really?

            “Yes really!  You tell him from me dat he better change him ways and attitude. Him too rude!  If he carry on like dis me gwine t’row him out!”

            “Yuh wouldn’t do dat.  Would you?”

            “Yes I would…and he can live wid you when I do.  So talk to him right, man to man! – Bye!”

 The dialling tone buzzes in Tony’s ear.  He glares at the receiver before placing it on its cradle and then retreats to the bathroom mumbling under his breath…

 Read PART TWO of RESPECT here… 

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*All rights reserved.  No part of this story may be reproduced in any form or by any means without prior written permission of the writer Norman Samuda-Smith.*

___________________________________________________________________________________________________

FEATURED STORY

Posted in Arts, Black British Literature, Black History, Books, british dialect, Community, Culture, Education, Fiction, History, Literature, Newsletter, Publications, Short Story, Writing with tags , , on January 31, 2011 by https://panthernewsletter1.wordpress.com

Woman

 © 1982, 2011 Norman Samuda Smith

Woman is featured in Britannia’s Children – A Collection of Short Stories by Norman Samuda Smith

Buy your copy @

https://www.feedaread.com/books/Britannias-Children-9781782991656.aspx

___________________________________________________________________________________________________

The front-room was a mess, empty glasses were scattered about.  Most of the cake, all the curry goat and rice and fried fish were devoured and the paper plates lay about on the table which earlier was beautifully decorated.  Her family and long time friends had gathered to celebrate her sixtieth year and her husband Samuel along with their sons David and Paul collaborated to manifest the festivity.  The last of the party guests were leaving while Ivey stood in the front-room gazing at her birthday cards.  She could hear their muffled voices and their ripples of laughter in the hallway, as they cracked jokes with Samuel at the front door.  Ivey drifted over to the fire-place and picked up David and Paul’s card:

 ‘To the best mom in the world.  Of that we have no doubt.

May all those sweet and meaningful dreams come true.

We love you.

David and Paul xx.’

Ivey smiled as she began to read a few more and didn’t notice Samuel when he crept into the front room.  He stretched and yawned loudly.

                “They gone,” he said, “…Yuh comin to bed?  We’ll clean up dis mess t’morrow,” he was now massaging her shoulders.

                 “…Mmm, dat feel good,” Ivey sighed, “…I’ll be up in a minute.”

                 “You alright?”

                 “Yes, yes, I’m fine sweetheart.  You gwaan up, I soon come.” Ivey patted his hand.

                 “Alright, good night then.”

                 “Good night Samuel.”

As Ivey continued to read more of her birthday cards, her youngest son Paul entered the room munching on a large piece of her birthday cake.

               “Ahh, mom!” he said surprised, “…I thought you gone to bed.”

                “No, I’m still awake as you can see.  The cake nice don’t it?” Ivey’s tone had a hint of sarcasm.

Paul chuckled, “Yeh man, it sweet,” his chuckling stopped immediately when he glanced at Ivey’s frown speculatively, “…you alright mom?”

                 “Yes, yes, me alright, why?”

                 “Nuttn.  Is just that yuh look miles away.”

                 “Oh, I was just thinkin of de party.”

                 “It was a cool party enit mom?”

                 “Yes it was very moving Paul, and I thank unnu for dat.”

                 “No problem mom.  You deserve it.”

                 “So who do all de cookin?  Yuh Auntie Florence?”

                 “Nah man, Dad did.  I never know he can cook.”

                 “Well now you know it wasn’t me all de time who cook yuh dinner.”

Paul smiled and sat across the room facing her, munching and swallowing last bits of his cake.  He licked the icing from his fingers then rose to his feet.

                 “Well mom, that’s me done, I’m gonna turn in now.”

                 “Ok darlin’.  Before yuh go up, play dat record again fe me nuh.”

                 “Which record?” Paul’s eyes swept over his mom’s face through his furrowed brows.  Ignoring his examination Ivey replied, “Yuh know, dat one about de woman.”

                 “Oh yeh!  Now?”

                 “Yes, now.  I want to hear it.”  Ivey watched his eyes widen with concern.

                 “Ok.”  Paul drifted over to the stereo, his gaze returned to her again, before he searched through his selection of vinyl’s eventually finding the twelve inch she requested.  He turned on the stereo and placed the record on the deck, then placed the arm on the spinning disc and set the volume to a reasonable level.  The crackling of the record’s surface hissed through the tannoy speakers.

                 “Night Mom.” Paul sauntered over to her, leaned forward and kissed Ivey’s forehead.

                 “Good night darlin’ and thank you.”

Ivey sat back in the sofa, sighed and listened again to the fullness of the lyrics…

‘Woman staring into space

She’s wondering where her life has gone

Dreaming of the land she once came from,

so far away across the sea;

home sweet home

Getting old now

Got to be moving on

Ain’t getting’ any younger

Got to go home

To rest her soul in peace in love

And the memories

Of when she was young…’

…Ivey originally came here to be a nurse or study to be a Mid-Wife.  Every time she was within touching distance of knowledge, life got in the way and she was side-tracked.  She finally settled and got her first job as piece-worker in a big clothing factory.  Although she had the talent to sew and make clothes, she hated it but had to love it for the money’s sake.  She was earning £3.00 a week in the old currency of Pounds, Shillings and Pence, out of that she had to pay her rent, buy her food and put a few pennies aside for the gas and electric meter.  So she hardly had any money left to spend on herself.  Even so, she always managed to send money back home to her parents to help them and pay back, bit by bit, her passage here to ‘England’s Streets’.  She lived in one room with three other West Indian women.  One was from Nevis, one from Barbados, the other from Trinidad, she was from Jamaica.  It was bad living she recalls, they had to share one bathroom with four other West Indian women who lived in another room down the hallway of the same house.  They got in each other’s way when they wanted to use the kitchen, but they were good times…

               “…We was all in our late teens to early twenties then and bwoy, de man dem would chase we like crazy!”  Her eyes had a burning faraway look in them, gazing into a vacant space, staying there.  Almost wishing that, in that spot, those days were back, there!

Samuel, the man in her life came forward:  “…I have no intention of goin out on a date with you,” she told him in her ‘speaky-spokey’ cheeky way, but she fancied him really.  He was persistent, that kind of chat didn’t discourage his advances at all.  Nevis, Barbados and Trinidad found their men too, Ivey got married, so did they.

A month after her fourth wedding anniversary, Ivey gave birth to David, who favoured her in every way.  She and Samuel moved from one room into a house, they bought a car, more money was coming in, not a lot, but they were getting by.  Then Paul was born seventeen months later.  Paul’s pregnancy was a difficult one.  Ivey was continuously sick; she was always in and out of hospital with complications.  Her labour wasn’t any better; it was bad, seventeen hours.

               “…Get ready for the caesarean!” the doctor said.

               “No, don’t cut me!  He have to born natural like me first one!”

With one final effort from Ivey, Paul was born natural.  She and Samuel mutually decided after that wicked experience, they would have no more children.  Six months after the birth of Paul, Ivey heard the tragic news that her parents died back home within days of each other.  She was so weak, she didn’t have the strength go to Jamaica to witness them being buried.  With a mixture of bitterness and love, Ivey strove through the hard times.  She grabbed her chance to become a Mid-Wife and worked hard to see that her sons grew up happy and they did.

Ivey is a grandmother now.  She couldn’t believe it when it happened, it was so quick.  Once her little baby David, now he and his wife to be Sharon are mother and father to baby Luke.  In the church at the christening, she knelt and prayed asking God to allow grandson Luke to grow wise and strong and for his parents to guide him in the right way with wisdom, love and understanding.  Then as the congregation strolled down the aisle to where Luke’s head was dipped into holy water, she rivets her eyes on a woman.

               “Kiss me neck! Is Nevis!”

They felt like shouting and jumping for joy, but being in church they saved it until the service was over.  When they were outside, they ran to each other like two crazy wild horses, embracing.  Bitterness was cancelled out, only love remained.  Forty five years had flashed by, now Nevis and she were sharing a grandson.  How strange is destiny, how strange…?

…The record came to an end.  Ivey hoisted herself from the sofa and drifted across the room to switch off the stereo.  She nodded her head and smiled…

               “…Is about time me and Samuel book a holiday,” she whispered, “…and go to Jamaica to visit we family.  Forty years is too long.  Is time we go.”

 __________________________________________________________________________________________________

*All rights reserved.  No part of this story may be reproduced in any form or by any means without prior written permission of the writer Norman Samuda-Smith.*

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Posted in Arts, Black British Literature, Black History, Books, british dialect, Community, Culture, Education, Fiction, History, Literature, Newsletter, Publications, Short Story, Writing with tags , , , on December 31, 2010 by https://panthernewsletter1.wordpress.com

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Curious

 © 1983, 2010 Norman Samuda Smith

Curious is featured in Britannia’s Children – A Collection of Short Stories by Norman Samuda Smith

Buy your copy @

https://www.feedaread.com/books/Britannias-Children-9781782991656.aspx

________________________________________________________________

Joel was brought up with the ‘heavy hand’, if he stepped out of line, or dared to back-chat, he would be punished.  His mother was always out of town working, his father, he didn’t know. School was sometimes just a word, an establishment he rarely saw or experienced. His education was the nearby bustling town streets, his grandparents land, the chickens and the goats.

‘Freedom’ came his way came his way one day. England attracted his attention. The promise of “streets paved with gold”, plenty of work, a permissive society, the dream of owning a house and a car, the things that compelled him to come. When most of his fellow country men and women were planning a five year stay, Joel made up his mind he wasn’t coming back.

Then here came the fishes swimming by the plenty, wriggling their way into view, pleasing his eyes.  He cast his line, eventually he attracted the one he married.

The babes were weaned as the years strolled by. Two sons and a daughter were cultured into the ways of the ‘heavy hand’ by Joel.  No after school activities, none of their friends were allowed to visit their house; be seen but not heard. The boys rebelled against their curfew. They tried to reason with Joel, but reasoning didn’t come. They found out from their mother that in his youth, Joel was punished until he was conditioned not to ask questions or answer back. To him, that was right, but was it a good enough reason why he should have passed it on? The boys were reluctantly granted their freedom, still with a few tricky knots to untangle.

So elsewhere the boys had to roam, to seek for what they desired. Out there it’s like a large plastic dome waiting to explode. Evil lurks around many-a-corner. The genuine are few and far between.  The good can also be corrupt. It’s sad and hard out there, but it can be fun.

Which left daughter at home receiving the feed back; hearing how great it is to be out there.  She only heard one side of the story, the other half was never told…

            CURIOUS until she skipped a couple of classes.

            CURIOUS until she skipped most of college.

            CURIOUS until she wanted to be noticed.

            CURIOUS until she slipped…OOPS!CONCEIVED!

Dear Mom, Dear Dad

I didn’t really want us to part this way, but I’m scared, it has to be done. Please try and understand.

Love…Andrea was just sixteen when she ran away from home. On her dresser she left that note and waited patiently until her parents were asleep. Then at 3.00am she simply walked out the front door leaving her keys. All she carried with her was a case full of clothes and her parents’ grandchild.

She strolled down the road, calm but not content, with the planted seed forming in her mind’s eye, asking the questions, “What am I gonna do? – How did I get here?”

…Andrea never wanted to, but she did. She let herself fall foolishly in love again, knowing the consequences that would follow as before. She never expected them to last; she just fantasised about them while she had them, and then thought about what she was going to say when they finally drifted away from her.

Sometimes her words were strong, and at other times just sweet words of “I Understand; of course we can still be friends,” deep down it hurt, but she had to keep altering the rehearsed lines that were so carefully thought out before the feeling of ‘It’s the end’ came…

            “…otherwise it would all sound the same ennit? I mean you gotta use your imagination.  Think positive and quick too, so it sounds effective. The hurt buries itself then and stays buried ‘til you’re free to let it out.”

She had a love once, a real love, but due to Joel’s ‘heavy handed curfew’ he went away.

            “I hardened my heart. I wanna love again, but I’m scared. When I think I’ve got him, he slips away, and when he slips away, I live in hope that he’ll come back again, but all in vain.”

It was all so familiar to Andrea, almost timed even. She knew how to bury her hurt, she was good at that. Non-emotional, no tears, just a cynical smile that quivered a bit when she was nervous and thought she was going to break out into rivers of tears. She controlled that though, always controlled it.

             “…But that’s the way to be ennit?”

Andrea shrugged her shoulders, strolled on further away from home, still deliberating…

             “…Anyway, I’ve done Mom and Dad a favour. I made it easier for them.”

She looked down and rubbed her belly, smiling at the prospects the little person growing inside her will have. Then her eyes rose to look at the clear night sky and the golden moon that shone its silver light.

            “…Dear Lord, show us a sign…”

She put her hand in her coat pocket and felt a screwed up piece of paper. Unravelling it she saw scribbled on it her two brothers’ address.

            “…Signs and wonders…” she whispered dropping her case and raising her arms to the heavens extolling HIM. “…Thank you!”

On their doorstep, she knocked the door…

            “Welcome sis…” they greeted her, “…our family starts here…”

 _______________________________________________________________________________________________

*All rights reserved.  No part of this story may be reproduced in any form or by any means without prior written permission of the writer Norman Samuda-Smith.*

_______________________________________________________________________________________________

FEATURED STORY

Posted in Articles, Arts, Black British Literature, Black History, Books, british dialect, Community, Culture, Education, Fiction, History, Literature, Newsletter, Publications, Short Story, Writing with tags , , , , on May 30, 2010 by https://panthernewsletter1.wordpress.com

________________________________________________________________

Rasta Love (part two)

 © 2001 Norman Samuda-Smith

Rasta Love is featured in Britannia’s Children – A Collection of Short Stories by Norman Samuda Smith

Buy your copy @

https://www.feedaread.com/books/Britannias-Children-9781782991656.aspx

________________________________________________________________

De following Monday, at Small Heath Community Centre yout’ club, Errol was playing table tennis wid Pedro, and him hear de same bredrin ah talk bout Lorraine. He never know de bredda, true seh him was from one nedda area, but him know seh de bwoy have one bad reputation.

          ‘At de end of de night yuh know roots, de gyal gwaan like seh she nuh want to give I nutt’n!’ Errol carry on listen. De bredrin seh it arrogantly, as if it was due to him.

          ‘So what happen den?’ ask one of de roots.

          ‘Cho, she chicken out wid some cheap double talk, man!’ de bredrin seh, bathing in certainty. Errol trow down de table-tennis bat in anger.

          ‘Nah man, yuh nuh fe talk bout de girl like dat, man!’ Errol feel like him face was gwine bruk inna one million likkle piece. He never feel so vex. De bredrin turn round. ‘Den who is you, I-yah?’ he ask.

Errol puff out him chest. ‘Jus a man.  S’pose smaddy talk bout yuh sista like dat?’

Pedro start edge round de table, coz it look like de argument ah go get weh from dem.

De bredrin step forward. ‘Cho, dat different.’

          ‘Why?’

          ‘Yuh mus wah me cut yuh!’ De bredrin reached into his pocket like seh him did have one knife in deh or someting.

Errol cuss after him. ‘Yuh ignorant, man.’

          ‘Is who yuh ah call ignorant I-yah?  Me soon tump yuh inna yuh face!’

‘Come nuh!’

Pedro step between dem, as Errol and de bredrin go fe each other, a crowd gather round.

          ‘No Errol, come we go man. Come.’

          ‘Oh, is you.’ de bredrin seh. ‘Jus coz yuh can chat pon de mic good, yuh feel seh yuh invincible nuh? Go-weh! Yuh ah bwoy!’

          ‘Come we go Rasta!’ Pedro seh, guiding Errol out ah de club.

‘Yeah, run weh bwoy!’ de bredrin shout, laughing wid him bredrin dem.

‘Don’t seh nutt’n Errol! Jus walk, dread.’ Pedro seh.

‘Nah man!’ Errol was huffing and puffing. ‘Him outta order!’

          ‘Yeah, me know him well outta order, but all dis would ah never happen if yuh did mek a move faster, dreadlocks.’

De truth was, Errol found out later dat Lorraine had successfully simmer down dat bredrin’s lusting over her. She did know, deep down, he was meaning to tek advantage of her friendly nature; fe dat reason, she was branded a cock teaser.

          ‘Me nuh care what dem call me, me know ah nuh me dat!’ she tell her two sista, who both inform her, individually, about de rumour dat a spread. ‘Nutt’n never guh suh!’ She was well vex.  Is funny how half a story can be conceived, den believed.

Lorraine steer clear of man after dat incident. She lock herself away fe do her homework, her domestic duties, to watch TV at leisure, only setting herself free fe her school netball team.  Meanwhile, her sista dem come from St Oswald’s dance hall every Friday night…

          ‘Lorraine, Oswald’s was bad, man!’

Oh really?’

‘Yeah man, I mus have been ask fe a dance about fifteen time, and Errol was askin bout yuh.’

‘What for?’

‘Coz he like yuh.’

‘Yeah, and I bet he was one ah dem dat seh I was a cock teaser, now he want to get a use.’

          ‘Don’t be stupid!  In fact, Pedro tell me seh dat Errol was gwine fight fe yuh when him hear all dem man ah talk bout yuh.’

          ‘Really?’

‘Really.’

But why?  I hardly know him.’

‘Well, dat nah stop him from like yuh.  So wha yuh ah seh?  Yuh gwine start come out again?’

‘I dunno, maybe.’

Lorraine continue to stay in fe two months, till she get bored and de temptation of raving entice her back to de dance hall. Errol see her again, same finesse, rocking continually, not allowing de rumours of de past restrict her realism. When him tek a break from de microphone dem dance nice and slow and dem talk.

          ‘Thanks for stickin up for me.’

‘No problem, I like yuh.’

‘I never know yuh did.  Why yuh never seh someting?’

‘Coz yuh was always busy talkin; never tink yuh would be interested in me anyway.’

‘I was jus bein friendly.  I s’pose I learn me lesson.  Man dem only jus want one ting.’

‘I don’t want one ting.’

‘I didn’t mean you.’

‘Maybe yuh did, maybe yuh didn’t.  Where we go from here?’

‘Jus gimme a while to think, Errol please.  I’m still tryin to figure tings out.

‘Dat cool sista, I’ll be waitin, seen?’

‘Seen.’

As they dance, a strange vibe was in de air, everybody look nervous and uneasy. Lorraine sense it and decide seh she want to leave de dance early. Also, de bredda dat scandalise her name was around and about. She feel seh him might follow her home and give her hassle. Errol walk her home.  When him come back to de dance, him see one ambulance pull up, police was dere in force too. Pure chaos ah gwaan, sistrens running out ah de place screaming, bredrins shouting pushing and shoving to come out. Errol force him way in against de on-comin crowd fe see wha a gwaan.

          ‘Wha appen, Pedro?’

          ‘Bwoy, de same bredda yuh was gwine fight de other day jus cut up a yout’. He was lookin fe you, I-yah. I feel seh yuh bes’ lay low fe a while, seen?’

            ‘Seen.’

De dates between Errol and Lorraine soon come thick and fast. Errol put on him best Cecil Gee tops and tailor-made trouziz.  Him tek Lorraine fe see Gregory Isaacs, Dennis Brown and Fred Locks.  Dem go to de midnight dance and de Shaka dance, Coxsone, Mafia Tone and Duke Alloy. Nuff entertainment, nuff excitement. But as dem love start fe tek full bloom, Lorrainemother and father find out dat Errol is a dread.

          ‘Lorraine, Mrs Morgan down de road tell me seh she see you and one natty head bwoy ah stan pon street corner more dan once.  Is true?’ her mother seh.

          ‘Yeah, is true.’

‘Jesus Chris’ have mercy!’

‘So what’s wrong wid dat mom?’ Lorraine ask.

‘All dem do is smoke ganja, rob, steal and lay about.’

‘Not my man.’

          ‘Man? What yuh know about man?  Dem deh bwoy no good yuh know Lorraine. Dem have no ambition.’

          ‘He’s got plenty ambition believe me.’

          ‘Plenty ambition nuh?  Before you know it, yuh gwine come in yah wid a belly.  Den what yuh gwine do when him nuh want yuh?’

          ‘He’s not like dat, Mom.’

‘Girl, nuh bodda gimme no back chat!’

Then dem stop her from goin out completely. Wid de help of her sista dem, Errol and Lorraine mek a plan to meet at de corner of her street one Friday night. Errol stan’ up waiting fe her to come.

          ‘Mom, I done me homework, I’m jus goin’ over to de club, all right?’

          ‘Girl, find yuh self back in yah! Me know seh yuh ah try sneak out fe go meet dat deh natty head bwoy! Yu nah go no weh!’

Errol check de time pon him watch, 9.30 p.m. It was bitter cold. He bounce around trying to keep warm, while doing dat, him compose a lyric out loud.

          ‘De night is dark, de weather is cold

           I feel seh she can’t come

           So me ah stand yah alone

           Ah kick rock stone

           I feel seh she can’t come

           How can she leave me inna de street?

           Dress all slick and neat

           When de music out dere is fine

           Wid de treble and bass line

           I feel seh she can’t come . . . CHO!’

Lorraine never turn up. Errol start mek him way home. Him cold. Him vex. Him heart bruk.

          ‘ERROL, WAIT!’

He turn around and see Lorraine sista dem running toward him.

‘Where’s Lorraine?’

‘Mom and Dad won’t let her out.  She seh don’t worry, everyting’s gonna be aright.’

‘So dem ah fight ’gainst de natty.’

‘Seen.’

‘Where you two goin now?’

‘Oswald’s, man.’

‘Oswald’s open back up?  Who ah play?’

‘Your sound, Ital Nyah, Rasta.’

Errol enter de dance hall to see and hear a rebuilt Ital Nyah, entertaining dem biggess crowd fe months. Pedro smile as him hand de mic to a sad Pa-Pa Errol.

Errol him look pon Lorraine sista dem, wishing dat she was dere wid dem, laughing, dancing and joking. Den him realize seh he might not see her again. Him start chant…

          ‘When I say black people, nuff respect to Selecta Robbo, de greatest selecta inna de world, Jah know! So de man play, so de king sound say. Well black people, I don’t mean to brag and I don’t mean to boast, coz is you me love de most from pillar to post yuh know. Now here come one hit bound sound to really and truly trow yuh down, de man call Junior Delgado, Danger in your eyes ..’

De music start to play, de crowd start rock.

‘AH WHO SEH?!’ Errol ask.

‘GU DEH!’ de crowd reply.

          ‘Well I play it from de top to de very las’ drop. Sound call Ital Nyah, de greatest sound inna de world man.  Ital Nyah don’t run competition yuh know, we nuh look nex’ sound who ah look name offa we . . .

           Dem ah labba labba labba

          But dem cyaan test Ital Nyah

          Dem ah run up dem mout’, but dem cyaan test Pa-Pa Errol yuh know why?

          Coz when it come to lyrics me Pa-Pa Errol well great

          Me mek forty-five sound like dub plate

          Me mek crowd of people tear down dance gate

          Labba labba labba, but dem cyaan test Ital Nyah . . .Yes crowd ah people! Ital Nyah and me Pa-Pa Errol is back! And we gwine play nuff musical tracks from our record racks. Hear my lyrics when I tell yuh…

           Inna me, lyrics inna me

          Me seh lyrics inna me coz me well vex yuh see!

          Her momma lock de door

          Her poppa keep de key,

          Dat’s what stop her from lovin me!’

‘WHOY!’

‘GU INNA IT ERROL!’

Errol tek a deep breath and decide seh him nah go bawl. He look pon de crowd and see how dem ah smile after him, like dem love him off. Him smile back.

          ‘Yeah man, I-man remember sweet Lorraine.’

________________________________________________________________

*All rights reserved.  No part of this story may be reproduced in any form or by any means without prior written permission of the writer Norman Samuda-Smith.*

________________________________________________________________

FEATURED STORY

Posted in Articles, Arts, Black British Literature, Black History, Books, british dialect, Community, Culture, Education, Fiction, History, Literature, Newsletter, Publications, Short Story, Writing with tags , , , , on April 30, 2010 by https://panthernewsletter1.wordpress.com

________________________________________________________________

Rasta Love (part one)

 © 2001 Norman Samuda-Smith

Rasta Love is featured in Britannia’s Children – A Collection of Short Stories by Norman Samuda Smith

Buy your copy @

https://www.feedaread.com/books/Britannias-Children-9781782991656.aspx

________________________________________________________________

Errol see her every week, rocking in her regular place, near to de light opposite Ital Nyah control tower. As usual, she stand up wid her two older sista dem, laughing, dancing and joking, her sista dem smoking.  In Errol’s eyes, she outclass dem in every way. She was a natural beauty. Nuff man love her off. Like most girls, she was going through a transition from being a regular churchgoer, to accepting de roots and culture. Her name was Lorraine.

Errol step closer to de control tower, tek de microphone off his bredrin Pedro and start chat…

          “Yes crowd a people, as dat musical disc steps away, is lover’s rock time! I tell yuh say, come in selecta Beres!”

De lover’s rock start to play and all de bredrin dem find a girl to dance wid. It seem like nobody ah talk, jus de music inna de air. Errol continued, “As we stop to start again, tell her not to go away, cah here come de dub side wid my original lyrics as I would say . . .

            You’re my days, you’re my nights

           I hope your kisses will make me feel so bright

           I can see your natural beauty girl

           My heart skip a beat

           You turn my world

           Pour your love over my heart

           Make me live a likkle longer

           Pour your love over my heart

           You make me feel stronger . . .”

          “WHOY!” was de deafening cry dat come from de dance-hall crowd, as de bredrin dem leggo dem dance partner.  Errol could see Lorraine and de crowd now, punching de air wid delight, drowning his voice wid dem chanting.

          “GO INNA IT ERROL!”

“GWAAN SOOPA!”

“AH WHO SEH?” Errol ask.

“GO DEH!” de crowd reply.

          “Operator, I beg yuh jus get dere and stay dere!” Errol seh, as he watch Pedro mix and blend dem back inna easy skanking and more of him honey-sweet lyrics.

          “AH LOVE ME AH DEAL WID!” Errol wailed over de microphone as de forty-five come to an end.

Likkle did Lorraine know how special she did grow in Errol eyes.  Pedro bus’ out laughing. “Is where dem deh lyrics come from yout’ man? If yuh like de girl, grab her fe a dance and lyrics her while yuh dancing man! She nuh know seh yuh like her.”

Errol pass de microphone back to Pedro, keeping his eyes on Lorraine de whole time. He start to mek him way through de crowd of lovers wrapped around each other, locked tight together on de dance floor.  Lorraine smile at him, her pretty eyes beckoning.

Fe a yout’ of seventeen, Errol was regarded as de best yout’ toaster inna Birmingham, de baby of de Ital Nyah sound.  When he was fourteen, he used to loaf around outside all ah de dance dat Ital Nyah did play. As Pedro, Beres and Robbo carried in de big speaker box, Errol would offer to carry de small tweeter box dem.  It come a habit dat dem never refuse him help, so soon him start get inna Ital Nyah dance free. Den dem start call Errol dem likkle box bwoy, till him learn to master de art of microphone chanting. At school, him mek sure him educate himself well, him mommy and daddy see to dat. He leave school wid four O-Level and den him start search fe a job.

As him popularity grow even more, Errol get de opportunity fe mek guest appearance wid some ah de big man sound, like Studio City at de Chequers Night Club inna Small Heath pon a Wednesday night. Quaker City at de Rainbow Suite deh ah de city centre every Thursday, and Duke Alloy at de Tyburn House pub over inna Erdington every Sunday. He was like a magnet, wid de talent fe turning an ailing dance into a success.

Dese big man sound try fe coax him away from Ital Nyah fe join dem, giving him de chance to travel nationwide to London, Manchester and Leeds; and to appear at nuff bank holiday dance in and outta town and ting. But Errol remain loyal to him bredrins Pedro, Robbo and Beres, who nurture him rise to success.

Wid dis popularity come de admirers of de feminine gender. Ital Nyah, mainly coz of Errol, have a strong female following.  Him soon change him name to Pa-Pa Errol to fit de romantic side of him lyrics.  Pedro, de oldest sound member, warn him bout de possible jealous man who fah woman might fancy him coz him ah mic chanter. Dese was de times when a man fear de knife as oppose to de gun.  More time still, Errol being shy, despite all dat front him never mek him head swell.

Dat Friday night, when Errol leave de dance, dere was a full moon shining a silver light dat bright up de clear night sky and Jah stars. Him feel nice, like how him did get a dance wid Lorraine. De dance did sweet him. It was winter, 1974, minus six degrees and still dropping rapid, while de heavy frost dat sekkle pon de pavement was glistening. De dustman dem deh pon strike fe well over a week now. Nobody believe how much rubbish can accumulate in nine days. Every street yuh walk down, all yuh see is jus pile ah rubbish everywhere. De miner dem a seh dem want to guh pon strike too, dat gwine lead to power cuts again; and we all know wha dat mean – no dance!

Nuff bredrin and sistren file out the dance hall on St Oswald’s Road.  De bredrin dem sporting dem ites, gold and green crowns scarves and belts as dem bop wid pride along de icy pavement inna dem Clarke’s boots and ting. De sistren dem majestically wearing dem head-wraps in various shape, size and colour, wid dem long skirt, full-length sheepskin coat and fe dem Clarke’s boots, glide ’longside de bredrin dem. Every Friday night nuff ah dem would get off de number 8 bus at de Golden Hillock Road, Coventry Road junction inna Small Heath around eight. Dem destination: St Oswald’s Road dance hall to hear de musical bible of Rastafari featuring Small Heath’s baddess yout’ sound, Ital Nyah.  Dere was pure vibes every week.

De following Friday, St Oswald’s was ram.  Members of other yout’ sounds gather to learn how fe entertain de people wid pure dub-wise and pre-release roots music.  While dem listen and learn, de treble section ring inna dem ears, de bass shake dem trouziz and rattle dem ches’; de lyrics educate and mek dem meditate. Pure peace and love inna de dance as de congregation rock cool and easy to every rhythm dat touch down. De Ital Nyah followers stand up surrounding dem amp-case as Pedro, de operator at de control tower, mix and blend de music, teasing de crowd wid pure treble.  Halfway through a tune, him give dem a full dose ah bass and it shake everyting in its path. De selector dem, Beres and Robbo, dig deep inna de record box to find a nex’ hypnotizing tune, and Errol, cool and easy, chat him owna lyrics inna style and fashion dat taste like milk and honey to de dance-hall crowd…

          “Yes crowd ah people, yuh tune into de baddess yout’ sound, Ital Nyah sound and we nuh wear no frown! Don’t f’get, tomorrow night all roads lead to St Agatha’s church hall, right down dere inna Sparkbrook way! In tune to de mighty Jah Shaka from London town versus Mafia Tone Hi-Fi from Lozells! Is one fifty pon de door, security, tight! So mek it a date and don’t be late cah Shaka gwine trow down dub plate dat no other sound can imitate, seen? So nuh worry bout de energy crisis, nuh worry bout unemployment and redundancy.  Don’t yuh know, Jah will work it out seen?  JAH!”

          “RASTAFARI!” de crowd reply.

          “Selassie I, ever sure, ever pure. Right about now, hol’ on to de one yuh love de bes’ wid out any contes’. Dis yah tune is one cut pon forty-five, stric’ly dub-wise, Gregory Isaacs, Your Smilin Face, trow it down, Robbo!”

De intensity calm down fe a likkle while as de bredrin dem search fe a sistren to hold a dance in de dim light.

          “OOPS, excuse me selecta Robbo! Tek it slow as de love grow inna de dance hall yuh know!  As we stop to start again, yuh got to grab a skirt and see what it’s wort’. Got to get inna de mood, but don’t be rude, jus get down and scrub . . . rub-a-dub!”

A couple of weeks go by, Errol try fe get to grips wid Lorraine.  Since de night weh him did hol’ her fe a dance, nutt’n nah gwaan. She was always talking to a bredda or two, cah she did know quite a few bredrins and she never find it hard fe chat wid any a dem. As a result, him get beat to de post when one bredrin decide seh him like her and want to go out wid her. Errol look pon de rocking crowd and he see her dancing wid her man. He decide seh him nuh done wid Lorraine yet…

________________________________________________________________

RASTA LOVE (Part two) – click here…

________________________________________________________________

*All rights reserved.  No part of this story may be reproduced in any form or by any means without prior written permission of the writer Norman Samuda-Smith.*

________________________________________________________________

FEATURED STORY

Posted in Arts, Black British Literature, Black History, Books, british dialect, Community, Culture, Education, Fiction, History, Literature, Newsletter, Publications, Short Story, Writing with tags , , , on February 28, 2010 by https://panthernewsletter1.wordpress.com

“Who Can’t Hear Must Feel!”

© 2006 Norman Samuda-Smith

“Who Can’t Hear Must Feel!” is featured in Britannia’s Children – A Collection of Short Stories by Norman Samuda Smith

Buy your copy @

https://www.feedaread.com/books/Britannias-Children-9781782991656.aspx

WHO CAN’T HEAR MUST FEEL!”  How much time yuh hear yuh mom and dad seh dat to you when you was a yout?  Nuff time enit?  Do you remember when they used to tell you; “DON’T DO DIS! – DON’T DO DAT! – DON’T TOUCH DIS! – DON’T TOUCH DAT!” and you, the mischievous child, run off and do the complete opposite to what dem tell you?  Well sekkle steady, warm and easy, and listen to dis likkle tale…

In the inner-city suburb of Small Heath Birmingham, live two likkle yout man name Wendell and Leroy, they were born in England of Jamaican parents.  They live in a flat above their mother’s hair boutique, which she and her younger sister Maud, work hard to run six days a week.  Now her shop stand up on one busy main road where bus and car run up and down day and night; and in fear of de boys being killed by one of dem vehicle, their mother always seh to dem…

            “Don’t play out on the street, play in de back yard where it safe yuh understand?”

            “Well how come our friends can go to the park by demself and kick football Mom?”

            “Me nuh care what yuh friend dem do.  Dat is fe dem and dem parent’s bizniz!  What me and yuh Father seh goes yuh understand?”

            “Ah Mom!  That ain’t fare man!”

Dis backyard have a history.  Wendell and Leroy’s parents move in dis house twelve months before when they was six and seven.  The neighbours on each side of dem own an Alsatian dog; one name Prince, the other one call Rover and  bwoy, the way they used to bark and carry on, was like they just come out the wild the other day!  Anyway, when the boys first come out to explore their new garden, Prince and Rover jump pon the six foot fence barkin and growlin, it come like, if they did scale the fence, they woulda nyam up the poor pickney dem. Yuh shoulda see Wendell and Leroy run to their back door faster than Don Quarrie yellin and baalin…

            “Mommy, Mommy the daagy dem gwine bite us!”

Nuff time, Jean would go roun and complain to her neighbours, bout how dem could allow dem dog to grow wild; and it was reveal in one ah dem cussin session dat Prince was never take fe a walk since it was a puppy!  So all Jean’s cussin was in vain.

After a couple of weeks of livin in fear, the bwoys come to realise dat Prince and Rover can’t jump the fence like their pet cat Smokey.  Coz it so happm dat one day, when they was lookin out dem dining-room window, which have a clear view of Prince back yard; they see Smokey creep cross the yard while Prince was busy chewin him bone.  When Prince see Smokey, he rush at him.  Now most cat woulda run fe cover, but no, not Smokey, he just stand firm and stare Prince in him eye.  Then like Mohammed Ali, Smokey side step him wid ease.  Prince run past him slippin and slidin as he try fe turn himself aroun and do another run; but by the time he was ready fe come again, Smokey done scurry up the fence leavin him standin.  Now wid dat bit of inspiration guidin dem, Wendell and Leroy start to play in their yard again.

In the back yard, they used to play Batman and Robin, Superman, imitated Spiderman by climbin the tree nuff time, and when they get bored wid playin super-heroes; they would sometime kick their neighbours fences, teasin Prince and Rover to jump, bark and growl; then they would throw stones at dem head when they appear, hittin their targets most of the time.  Then the neighbours would come round and complain to Jean bout the cuts and bruises Prince and Rover have, and they would accuse her sons of throwin stones.

            “Listen me now.  My bwoys don’t trow stones!  They know if I catch dem doin dat, I would give dem a good hidin’!  Guh blame it pon the other neighbour pickney, it must be dem who doin it, not my bwoys!”

Now when Wendell and Leroy turn seven and eight years old, they was gettin fed up of bein lock up in the back yard all the time.  Sometime Jean would send dem to the shop two doors away so dat they could buy some sweets and ting, but it wasn’t enough to satisfy dem.  What they really want to do was go to the corner shop dat was closer to Grange Road Park where their friends usually hang out and play football.  So they decide dat a way of gettin out was to scrounge more pocket money from Jean and persuade her to let dem go ah the corner shop by demself.

            “No, I will go wid yuh!”

            “But mom, we know how t’cross the road by ourself.”

            “Me seh no!”

            “Aahh go on Mom please!”

            “Alright, but be careful fe God sake!”

            “YYYEEEHHH!”

Now we know how mischievous yout and yout can be, these two was no exception.  They would use these trips to the corner shop as cover fe visitin Grange Road Park.  Dis coulda turn out to be a serious ting if they didn’t watch the time.  Usually they would get away wid half-an-hour or so, but sometime the attractions of the park would lead dem to be careless.  Like one time right, Jean give dem some money fe go ah the corner shop and she seh to dem…

            “Mind how unu cross de road yuh hear me? And after unu buy unu sweets, come straight home, yuh understand me?”

            “Yes Mommy,” they seh to her.

And they run gone ah the shop.  On their way back, they decide fe make a detour through the park in the hope of seein some their friends fe a likkle while.  Once inside the park, dem jump pon the swing, dem spin pon the roundabout, dilly-dally pon the see-saw and they kick a likkle football til they realise dat…

            “OH KNOW!  Is two hours since we leave home.  Mommy must be wonderin where we deh!”

So in dem panic, they run home expectin Jean to be there waitin fe give dem a spankin.  Lucky fe dem, she was too busy workin in the shop to realise how long they was gone.  Sometime they would get some serious licks for goin to the park without Jean permission, but the growin urge fe freedom mek the risks seem small yuh nuh.

So, ah so it go.  Nearly every day durin school holiday and weekends when the sun decide fe smile pon Birmingham, and their sweet shop escape route was cut off; they climb the one tree nuff time, play super-heroes and trow stones at Prince and Rover.

Now tings come to a point where they was desperate fe ideas fe games and was gettin sick of the sight of each other, when on Wendell’s ninth birthday, Uncle Isaac buy him a cricket bat and wickets, but not a real cricket ball.  He seh to dem…

            “Unu gwine strike the ball like Gary Sobers one day yuh nuh, and unu might break a few window, so me buy unu a tennis ball instead.  Hee, ketch!”

So every day dem play cricket, Leroy bein the older one, always win.

One summer mornin, their Auntie Maud, come round to the house dwellin in fits of hysterical cryin.  It so happm dat her fourteen year old daughter Jennifer decide to run away from home due to one domestic argument.  Jean decide dat the conversation which was about to take place, was not for Wendell and Leroy to sit in and listen to…

            “Unu guh play outside,” she seh to dem.

The bwoys leave the room and they decide fe listen at the door as their grievin Auntie Maud describe the events leadin up to Cousin Jennifer’s disappearance…

            “Lord me God Jean, me nuh know wha fe do!” Auntie Maud sniffle.

            “Is alright Maud, don’t fret yuhself.  Come we guh use the car and see if we can find her.”

Auntie Maud agreed wid dat.  So Jean grab her car keys then open the dining room window and shout to the bwoys…

            “WENDELL AND LEROY!”

            “YES MOMMY!”

            “UNU COME INSIDE NOW!”

When Wendell and Leroy reach inside, Jean seh to dem.

            “You two stay inside, me and yuh Aunt Maud is goin out fe bout an hour.”

            “Can we play outside then mom?”

            “No!” Jean reply.

            “Why not?”

            “In case unu hurt unu self out deh.”

            “We won’t.”

            “Me seh stay inside til me come back, and don’t answer the door to any stranger!”  Jean and Auntie Maud leave the house fe guh find Jennifer.

Now Wendell and Leroy was in the middle of one grippin cricket game the day before, but play was abandoned coz they had to come in for dinner.  Wendell wanted desperately to finish off the game coz he was a couple of runs behind Leroy on him last innings; whereas Leroy had no innings leave and had two more overs to bowl.  Dis was the first time dat Wendell have the chance to beat him bigger brother, so yuh nuh, pride was at stake.  After careful reasonin bout whether they should resume play or not, they take a chance and go outside to finish off the game…

Leroy bowl him first over wickedly, forcin Wendell to make defensive strokes – maiden over.  On the third ball of his last over, he catch Wendell leg before wicket.

            “OWWZZAT!” Leroy bawl.

            “NO WAY…!” Wendell rebel.

            “Ah c’mon man yuh out!”

            “No I ain’t, that was way off target man!”

            “Yuh cheatin now Wendell.”

            “Cha, jus bowl man!”

            “No, yuh out, new game, my innins now!”

Wendell get vex now, he trow down the bat and run to the back door.  He decide dat he was goin to lock Leroy out.  Leroy suss what him likkle brother was goin to do and start chase him.  When Wendell run inside, he let down de latch of the lock, and in him vexation and anxiety to stop Leroy gettin in, he slam de door shut.  When he do dat, his right hand went straight through one of the frosted glass panes.  Leroy see de glass break, it scare him.

            “Open the door Wendell.”

Wendell open the door, Leroy walk in the house careful and stare at the broken fragments of glass, wonderin how tings was goin to be explain. Wendell was busy starin at the cuts on him wrist dat was stingin him some bad way.

            “You alright?”

            “No it stings.”

            “Put some water on it.”

Wendell put him wrist under the pipe of cold runnin water.  The cut dem start to bleed and Wendell start cry coz he never see so much blood before. Leroy start cry too when all him effort to try and calm Wendell down was in vain.  Jean walk through de door exactly on de hour as promise.  Leroy have guilt write all over him face, but Wendell was well please to see her.

            “What happen?” Jean ask slappin the two of dem.

A tearful Wendell and Leroy explain to her wha gwaan…

            “Didn’t I tell unu not to play outside til me come back?”

            “Yes Mommy!”

            “Now look what you do to yuh hand.  Unu too hard ears!  WHO CAN’T HEAR MUST FEEL!”

After she finish cuss dem, Jean race Wendell to East Birmingham Hospital where he cry some more when he receive twelve painful stitches.

*All rights reserved.  No part of this story may be reproduced in any form or by any means without prior written permission of the writer Norman Samuda-Smith.*

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