Uncle Carlos’s socks

Patrina Pink

If a girl can bleed without her mother then she can do anything. It come last month but you couldn’t pay me to talk to her about it. I want her to see me, one day, months down the road with a StayFree in my hand or the space between my towel and my titty. When she ask me what I’m doing with that, I’m going to say something rude. I was scared at first, there was more flesh than you can dream, the ads on TV don’t prepare you for what will come out of your body. You think is like blood from a cut, thin like box sorrel, not with small lumps like liver. It happened at school so I got a big box of pads from the guidance counsellor, my friend Mrs. Watson-Thomas. She also said I could come to her for Panadol whenever it come on me like river and laugh that sometimes period look like liver, kidney and even chicken gizzards. I make up my mind that I wasn’t eating gizzards again. We talk some more like we are both two big women, the way she only talk to me. That day she tell me about Mrs. White who teach grade 4, how she left  comprehensive school downtown with only 4 subject, how she wear her work clothes too tight, how she didn’t have a teaching certificate, how she dress for people husband. I make a joke that her head look like bullfrog even though it didn’t because my friend Mrs. Watson-Thomas hate her. When she makes big laugh like this I wish she is my mother. But sometimes she sad, even crying, like when she tell me about her husband, who want the house he found her in because government make a new rule that now a man can eat what him never help cook. She tell me not to waste my time with men, to grow up and make a life for myself. That the only good man exist in TV and in Daniele Steel. She said a man will bring your face down to the ground and I believe her, I see how Mummy change.

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The Counting-Up


1. I was clearing out the wardrobe while my sister lounged on the bed drinking the last of my fresh grapefruit juice. She said being her only brother is not enough. She doesn’t clean her own house and she’s damn well not cleaning mine. Clothes, shoes, boxes all came tumbling out. Shoved right to the back was Mark’s old album.

‘Vijay, she picture in there?’

I flopped down next to her and flipped through the pages until we found what I knew was there. The first time I saw Sophie’s photo – smiling, in front an open window – Mark said that’s a college friend.

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Everybody Live Uptown Now


Papa is on the lanai, drinkin’ in front of Caleb again. The man wouldn’t even touch a Red Stripe when we were growin’ up, so I don’t know why he would take up this habit in his old age. Then again, ever since that night – years ago – everybody change, including me. Caleb is only six, but I swear that little boy is going to be a journalist one day. He’s outside interviewing his Grandpa.

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He goes back home to lose his virginity: to the kind of sea town that is always disappointing on arrival, whether you come by train into the city centre, or by shuddering boat, dropping anchor under the gaze of sky-wheeling, grumpy seagulls. Whichever way, it’s always shades of brown and stained white walls, always a series of shops too graffitied, kicked and vomited-on to be special, and the smell of good fish in the air.

He was reminded, as everyone is, returning to a place like this, how unutterably small it was. It would be smaller each time he came back. Perhaps he wouldn’t return after this, so he could permanently avoid the feeling of being bigger than every building around him and every person here; avoid the suspicion that he smelled so much better, now.

But there was the matter of this virginity.

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Curry Duck



The ceremony at the Shore of Peace was beautiful. Lucy hoped Grace was free now. When the fire had stopped flaring and there was not much that could be distinguished between pyre and the shape under the white shroud, the family left.

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Leaving Island, If At All


The check-in lady at the counter has a way of not looking at anything other than her computer.   Her eyebrows are all pencil. She ignores the loud man next in line who is entertaining everyone about LIAT strikes holding the country to ransom. ‘But is de tax is de killer!’ he declares, spinning back around to his audience. ‘I don’ know why de governmens just don’ wipe off de tax – swoops—’, swiping his hand, ‘half de ticket price gone. In fact, mo’ dan half.’ He checks to see if it’s his turn yet and grimaces at the check-in lady’s downturned face. ‘But de worse t’ing is dat LIAT don’ even pressure govermens to do dat!’

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