Mango Belly -Part 2

by Tammi Browne-Bannister

Continued from last week. Read Part 1 of this story here.

Torian’s favourite kidney tree was in the middle of the garden. It was the oldest and biggest one with fat kidneys that glistened like sapphires, high up the centre, out of reach.

There was no picker for him to pull the fruit down but the empty bath was lying upside down in front of him. An army of ants marched up the side of the tree where Torian wanted to go. He ground them into the trunk, swiping away with his shirttail shielding his hand. He used the bath to boost himself. He climbed until he reached the centre where the best mangoes were. From there he could see his classmates hustling off to school.

The next-door neighbour saw him from her bathroom window. She shook her head and murmured. She called out to him but her voice was too little for Torian to hear. The concerned woman became afraid for him and so phoned next door but received no answer.

Torian plucked a kidney from its stem and ate it right away. The juices stained his mouth and he wiped them off with the back of his hands. He slid his tongue along the sides of his arms at the golden sweetness creeping down them and stuffed his sticky palms into his mouth.

Torian picked mango after mango and dropped them on the grass below. He climbed down, filled the bath and his knapsack, sat under the tree and sucked, picked, slurped and licked. He spat the skins from his mouth and tossed the seeds all about.

The worried woman from next door called at the gate but was chased away by the boy’s ferocious dog. She went back home to keep an eye on Torian.


“Can’t trust that boy with anything!” Mrs. Joyce returned later that afternoon to see her unpadded front gate.

“Look here!” Mr. Joyce showed her the gaping front door, too.

Mrs. Joyce clenched her teeth. She had a feeling, turned around and gazed into the orchard.
Torian was still in pyjamas, lying on the knapsack of sweaty mangoes propped up under his head like a pillow.

Mr. Joyce shook him but Torian didn’t stir.

“Just pick him up for me, please,” Mrs. Joyce sighed.

Mr. Joyce took Torian into the house then returned.

“I can’t believe he stayed home for this?” Mrs. Joyce kicked the bath of mangoes and grabbed the knapsack from the ground.

“Boys will be boys.” Mr. Joyce shrugged.

Mrs. Joyce threw the sack at him. “Give those to the pigs.”


“How did I get here?” Torian jumped out of bed.

When he looked in the mirror, he saw yellow skin boils.

“Daddy, daddy!” He ran downstairs in his dirty nightclothes.

“Boy, what happen to you?” Mr. Joyce was startled.

“These things itch like pepper.”

“Don’t scratch them. Go straight to your mother.” Mr. Joyce said.

When he saw the ugly boils, he didn’t go anywhere near his son.

“I warned you about mangoes, remember?” Mrs. Joyce didn’t look round at Torian but spoke over her shoulders. “Sit at the table. I’ll steep some bitters to dry out those boils and help you get over the colic.”

“Why did this happen to me?” Torian groaned.

“You know why. Drink this now!” She slammed a large tea mug with a mixture of white head and inflammation bush down in front of him.

Torian felt green looking at the olive brown liquid. The smell churned his stomach but he had to drink it if he expected to feel better. He gulped the tea, pinching his nose hard with his eyes closed. He banged his fist on the table, struggling to keep the bitterness down. He retched a bit but swallowed hard before his belly erupted all over his mother’s kitchen floor.

“I’m sure you’ve learned your lesson,” Mr. Joyce said from the living room.”

“Yes sir.” Torian dried his eyes.

“What should we do about all that mess in the garden?” Mrs. Joyce said.

Torian bowed his head in thought. Giving myself a punishment is better than having one given to me.

“I’ll clean it up.” He looked up at her.

“Good.” Mrs. Joyce looked down. “By the way, you made Miss Matthew late for school this morning. She was so frightened, seeing you up the tree that she never left home until you came back down. Thank God you break out with mango boils rather than a broken neck.”


Monday morning Torian walked to school with his books in his bag, pulling a milk box filled with mangoes. No one offered to help. Patrice and Nigel laughed at the sores on his face, arms and legs. The village was small and gossip travelled fast so they knew what he had done behind his parents’ back.
Torian felt a burning in his eyes.

Patrice grinned when she saw his damp eyelashes. “Don’t feel sorry when he sets up his face like rain.”
Torian bowed his head, feeling a sinking sensation in the pit of his stomach. He buried his eyes into the concrete sidewalk, avoiding the piercing gazes.


“I’m sorry Miss Matthew.” Torian sniffed.

“I’m sure you’ve learned a valid lesson,” his teacher said.

Torian nodded.

He gave Miss Matthew a paper bag filled with bellyfuls.

“Thank you, Torian. They’re my favourite.”

Her warm smile made him awkward.


The bell rang for recess. Miss Matthew lifted the milk box onto her desk.

“Attention, class,” she said. “We have a thoughtful gift from Torian.” Miss Matthew winked at him. “He has brought mangoes from his parents’ farm and wants to share them with you. Let’s show some appreciation.” Miss Matthew led her students in applause.

The children cheered. They all got mangoes but Torian didn’t take any. And as they sucked, picked, slurped and licked, he swallowed large amounts of saliva.


About the Author...

Tammi Browne-Bannister has been writing children’s stories for the past five years and have been awarded three times at the National Independence Festival of Cultural Arts in Barbados. She is a naturalised Barbadian and from the island of Antigua where mangoes are celebrated annually.


About the Illustrator...

Danielle Boodoo-FortunĂ© is a poet and artist from Trinidad. Her work has previously been published in Bim: Arts for the 21st Century, The Caribbean Writer, Anthurium, Small Axe Literary Salon, Poui: Cave Hill Journal of Creative Writing, Tongues of the Ocean, Canopic Jar, and St. Somewhere Journal.

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About Anansesem

Anansesem is an online magazine of Caribbean children's and young adult literature by adults and children. We strive to bring you the best in news, reviews and creative content from the world of Caribbean children's publishing.
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  1. oct2,2011

    Part two is great. This story brought back so many memories of myself and mangoes growing up in Jamaica. Waiting for more.

  2. Part 2 is the final Part of "Mango Belly." But hopefully, this contributor will submit more of her work for us to consider in the future!

  3. love part too. what an engaging conclusion. keep up the good work Tammi!