It was nearly evening and Ma Dytoo had just finish roasting some sweet potatoes, when she noticed that Africa wasn’t lying in her usual spot. A bit puzzled, she looked around the house and under the house where Africa sometimes went.
“I wonder if Docears en take de dog round Columbo’, she muttered to herself. ‘This boy en’ she continued. With no sign of Dockers and Colombo Ma Dytoo continued to prepare the night supper so it would be ready just in time for Pa Dytoo, who always seem to have a complaint about the food being too hot or too cold.
With darkness creeping in Ma Dytoo began to get worried that neither Dockers nor Africa had returned. Dockers had gone to help Colombo harvest some cucumbers, hoping to get some money to buy a pair of slippers. Certainly, by now he should have been back. Pa Dytoo was expected any time now and Ma Dytoo was certain that he would get upset if the boy was not in. Pa Dytoo was a man of stern discipline and always insisted that he should be the last one to enter the house.
“Docears bring me a glass of water,” shouted Pa Dytoo as he entered and sat in the doorway.
“You know de boy not here, he are help Colombo in de garden,” replied Ma Dytoo.
“At this hour, en en!” said Pa Dytoo angrily. “Patricia go and get de boy. I warn Docears already, is these friends he are want to follow, I deal with him good tonight,” said Pa Dytoo very upset.
“Colo! Colo!” shouted Ma Dytoo as she ran down the hill towards Colombos’ house. “My boy where’s Colo?” she asked Colombo who was sitting on a stone near his home, enjoying his roast
sardines and breadfruit.
Looking up at her very surprised Colombo replied, “Your boy doe come since last month.”
“What you say?!” exclaimed Ma Dytoo. “Everyday he are live home and says to me is by you he come, come help you wit de garden,” she explained. Trembling, with her voice breaking as she spoke, she said, “Oh Lord Too are kill me tonight!”
Colombos’ heart fell to his feet. He couldn’t bear to see Ma Dytoo this way. He always had an eye for her and was very distressed when she married Dytoo. Because of that he remained single all his life but he never told her.
“I help you find de boy. Maybe he play wit them kids round de savanna,” said Colombo very calmly.
So off went Colombo down the savannah while Ma Dytoo went in the other direction. The moon shone brightly and all the kids in the village were out having fun but there was no sign of Dockers or Africa and none of the kids seemed to have seen them or had any idea where they might be. Ma Dytoo’s worry mounted. Fearing her husband’s blood pressure might shoot up, she refused to return home without the boy. She continued searching through Mr. Alpi’s potatoes and down by the river while calling the boys name at the top of her voice.
As she approached Ma Tin’s dasheen she saw some smoke coming from the other side of the river behind the bamboo trees. She stopped and listened but she heard nothing.
“I wonder if is Docears and his friends that smoke dere,” she thought to herself but wouldn’t hang around to find out. She removed her slippers and was about to jump into the river when a
hand tapped her on her shoulder. She quickly turned around only to see the friendly face of Colombo steering at her.
“AA Colo is you make my heart boo doom boom so,” she stammered.
“Sorry I didn’t want to make noise. I see you from up dere. I was watching Ma Tin shack. I say somebody dere. I go with you,” said Colombo.
Feeling much better, Ma Dytoo agreed to be accompanied by Colombo.They crossed the river and both stood watching behind the bamboo, hoping and praying that it would be Dockers in there. Their wait seemed like forever and apart from the smoke, there seemed to be no other activity taking place. As Ma Dytoo was starting to get impatient, she heard a faint cry followed by a barking sound of a dog. Surprised, she turned to Colombo and before she could say anything Colombo nodded his head. They both moved towards the house. With every step the cries got louder and louder and louder.
As they came to the front of the shack the dog ran up to them.
“Ah Africa!” Ma Dytoo shouted. “Girl what you are do here, where Docears?”
“Mam!” Dockers called out.
But before she could address him he moved away from the door to attend to a baby who was screaming on the floor. Ma Dytoo and Colombo entered the shack, there was stuff all over
and a girl on a mat with a tiny baby next to her.
“Whaaa this oon, Docears what you doing here, you you you helping she?” ‘stammered Ma Dytoo.
“No ma, dat my girlfren and my baby,” Dockers replied.
“What! Papa! Papa! Me a dead tonight! Colo me tell you me a dead tonight!” she screamed.m“Docears you are sex de girl?1 Docears are sex?! Oh Lord Docears are sex, she wailed as she
pace around the one room shack.
Colombo stood silent. Not sure what to say, he turned to the girl on the mat who looked so frightened by Ma Dytoo’s antics.
“You alright girl?” he asked when he was finally able to speak.
The girl nodded her head in response.
“Who you mother, she know you here?” he continued with the questioning.
“Me mother gone crazy. She can’t look after me. She go live with Bobo,” the girl answered.
“Who?” screamed Ma Dytoo at the top of her lungs. All eyes turned in her direction.” Jennifa Jonas de daughter of Rosa daughter of Ma Pomi grand modar Cous Nempha is you modar
“Yes,” the girl answered softly.
Holding her skirt over her head, Ma Dytoo burst through the door and began running through the bamboo screaming and shouting like a lunatic.
“Ah Ah Patricia what come over you?” asked Colombo in amazement.
“De boy a sex him sista! She and him are de same moda! Co-o-lo me a dead tonight,” she chanted, as she fell slowly to the ground.
Enjoyed this short story? Look out for a compilation of Tricia Augustin’s short stories — Tales of Emotions coming soon.