Roses for Mister Thorne

For the fallen (June 1980)

Jacob Ross

PREE is happy to republish award-winning Grenadian author Jacob Ross’s short story from Akashic BooksSo Many Islands anthology .

Anni pushed a reluctant hand towards her little plastic radio and cut off the outraged voice of Mister Thorne. She would have liked to listen to his whole speech but she had work to do. Her yams were strangling the sweet potatoes, and today she was going to tame them. Out in the garden, though, her head was full of Missa Thorne: his talk of Bloody Thursday ‒ the bomb-blast that was meant to kill him, and the retribution he’d let loose on the Counters who’d placed the device beneath the stage on which he stood.

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“We want justice!”

Agostinho Pinnock

(Inspired by The House That Vanished, by Rosario Ferre)

Fly away home, to Zion! Fly away, home!
On that morning, when my work is over,
I will fly away home!

…The old man at the crossroads, call me from out the gully. Him voice did loud, loud in me head. Him almost sound like a woman and a man singing together—a powerful, welcoming harmony meant for my ears only. Them voice did beat like a drum—like the way church hymns used to stay with me, long, long after the service finish.

The singing reminded of t’under and lightnin’ and rain, together. Yet, it did still quiet—almost like prayin’. Like when Miss Sheila and the other people down at the Revival Church would pray: “Father, we the People of Zion come to you in faith and humbleness. We beseech the Holy Court, singing songs of joyful praise!”

It kinda hard to explain, really! But, me know say me did have to go with him…and, just like that, we were in the cotton tree!

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Barrel Boy/ Cyborg birth

Kwasi Shade

There, on a rock, stood the secret black parish where the sky was conceived. This was where the Shouters secretly met. They rose from the pirogue and descended upon the world. Their haunting praises woke the ghosts of Shouters once gone and in their song they restored worship to the world. These were the days when the rain was a tribe. When they finished, they hung them, the ghosts, in the new sky and the sun was born.

Then was when Tama sang praises as a girl. She had seen the Shouters take up soil in their hands and perform a ceremony that included the burying of ghosts in the sky; of Teacher Bailey, of Sister Sandra, of Father Pascal. Their flight was the sound of a bell risked with their tears.

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Voice: Still Want Sex

Opal Palmer Adisa

me was, after all, in me own house, in me own bed in  the darkness of night and although me was alone me was being quiet with my middle finger of my right hand rubbing the nub of my clitoris while my left fingers tweaked my  nipples and my mind was in an elevator sandwiched between two men one on his knees going down on me and the other with his groin gyrating on my arse when the voices barged into the privacy of my self-pleasure and hollered out loud enough for my next door neighbor to hear

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Caribbean Hurricane Rhyme

Julia Morris Thomson

May, no way

One day in May, during a depression, when the atmospheric pressure over north Eleuthera was lower than its surrounding system, Gail was challenged to enter Gregory Town’s pineapple baking contest by her best friend Keniesha.

“I know you can’t win this one. Ain’ no way you could make something without eating it,” Keniesha said.

“How you think you know me so good.”

“Remember the pineapple eating contest?” Keniesha’s laugh forced a smile out of Gail. When Gail was ten years old, she had eaten the hanging pineapple, with her hands behind her back, so fast that she’d thrown up behind the tent five minutes later. She’d walked around all day with the winning ribbon pinned to her t-shirt, cheeks shiny from the dried juice and a belly full of bile.

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The Patience of Stone

Richie Maitland

Thursday. The day the Grenada Mirror does come out. They go already be in stacks on the sidewalks, next to vendors under big, bright umbrellas. My watch saying after five. It start to get dark already. Last stretch before I punch my card and change my Radisson polo shirt for something more comfortable; change my customer face for something more comfortable too. The tick of the clock on the wall dotting the hum of the air-condition, and Matilda in her blue tunic making she second round sweeping reception. I bounce the balls of my feet and pick at the skin around my nails, scanning the room to see if any of the staff coming in have a paper.

I punch out at 6:07 and scramble to the staffroom to throw on a t-shirt and shades, then walk down Grand Anse beach to the fat vendor by Garfield’s. She might have paper. She did. I give her a $1.50 and take the paper on top the pile, swallowing hard as I unfold it. Garga dey right on the front page watching me.  The headline say “‘Gargamel’ sentenced to 7 years”. My heart pounding. I trying to read the whole story, but keep coming back to the headline and Garga, in a handcuff. I want a cigarette bad. I buy a single menthol and a lighter from the vendor. The flame lick the tip of the cigarette and I suck hard. I like the taste on my breath, the minty iciness floating on the tobacco, I real like the rush that go up in my head. It make me feel alive and easy same time. And just so, I could read the article in peace.

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Cursing Mrs. Murphy

Roland Watson-Grant

Halfway across Flat Bridge, Rowena Murphy made a hard right and ran her pickup truck over into the river. Yes, we were with her in that truck and no, it was not an accident. One minute we were heading for Ocho Rios singing along with the radio and the next I was grabbing at water plants and wishing for solid ground. I remember her in the white spaghetti strap dress disappearing downstream and whatever she was shouting had all come out in bubbles. Janis was above me, trying to keep her head above water and when they pulled us out, we looked back for a trace of the truck, but the surface of the Rio Cobre only gave us oil slicks and our own twisted reflections.

That was February, 1983. We were 10 years old. I think that over time I willfully forgot the details and for years Janis lied that she couldn’t remember a damn thing. She really didn’t need to, because we spent 30 years hearing all the versions of why our mother did it. I guess it’s open season for faux pas once the Breath Collector pays your family a visit because nobody ever thinks it’s a good idea to just sit beside you with some tissues and shut the fuck up.

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