Spotlight

Pitch Match Madness







It was only one week before the great annual Pomme Rose Pitch Match began at the St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Primary School and Sue-ki Thomas was staring out her classroom window chewing on a pencil, bursting with excitement. She could not wait to have fun playing marbles and eating coconut fudge and chip-chip with her friends.

But the most important part of the festival for Sue-ki was the Pitch Match Marble Madness contest. The overall winner got to take home this year’s trophy and one thousand dollars. Sue-ki gleefully shook her pocket filled with exactly twelve marbles, already knowing what she would do with the money: take a long, amazing trip around her home island of Grenada and visit Carriacou and Petit Martinique to see some of her relatives and friends. Oh, how thrilled she was to be able to participate for a chance to win!

Just then, Sue-ki saw her best friend, Jimbo, walking into the school yard. She smiled and waved wildly at him to get his attention.

“Aye Jimbo, wah go?” she said, giving him a high-five and thumbing her small nose.

“I dey cool,” Jimbo mirrored Sue-ki’s actions, then sat on her desk. He flung his book bag on an empty chair. “What’s de latest?”

“Ah get true nuh,” she shouted. “Ah get true wit de Pitch Match competition boy!”

Jimbo gave her double high-fives. “Woyyyeee! Dey yuh bad! We go mash dem up!”

“Yeah boy we go… wait, wait, WE?” Sue-ki paused with her hands in mid-air. “What yuh mean ‘we’?”

“Ah make it too gyal,” Jimbo smiled, although it took him a great deal of effort.

Sue-ki frowned, gave it some thought, then seemed to be okay with the idea of competing with - no against - her best friend.

“Ok boss, well good luck! That prize money is mine!” she grinned, rubbing her hands together. They both laughed.


***



That evening, Jimbo and Sue-ki walked along their usual path to go home, huge grins on their faces. Their pockets were jingling with new marbles which they had won in a long after-school game with a few of their friends.

“Yuh ent see de size of Marlon taw? Dat likkle ting wasn’t winnin’ nuttin!” Sue-ki boasted.

Jimbo laughed. “How he go win when yuh usin’ de gugurt to take all de marbles! Is like ah bomb drop every time!” They cackled gleefully.

 Jimbo was sweating a lot and Sue-ki asked him if he wanted to rest a while but he shook his head.

“Ah ent find yuh lookin’ too hot nuh Jim,” Sue-ki frowned.

“I good man, jus’ ah likkle cold ah ketchin. Maybe ah play too much marble too.”

Sue-ki chuckled. “Ah hear yuh.”

Sue-ki waved good-bye to Jimbo as he entered his house, then she continued on her way home. It was getting a little dark by the time she got there. Sue-ki’s mother was looking out the window with a serious expression on her face. Sue-ki’s steps slowed. She snuck around to the back and entered quietly through the kitchen. As she turned the corner towards the stairs, she walked straight into her mother. Sharon did not look pleased. She grabbed Sue-ki’s arm.

“What ah tell yuh about dis marble playing after school Susan?” The belt came down on her bottom. Sue-ki took her licks like a professional. She was used to coming home late and taking her punishment. Her mother was never upset for long anyway.

Later, after a supper of sardines and homemade bread with hot cocoa tea, Susan laid her collection of fifty-four marbles on her bed. Some were beat-up from months of hard work while others were glossy and smooth. But Sue-ki cherished the worn ones most. She picked up each one with thumb and forefinger and carefully inspected it. Only her best marbles would work for the competition. She carefully aimed the marble at her closet and fired. Pow! What an amazing sound! Sue-ki went to sleep with a smile on her face and the sound of her mother’s laughter from the kitchen.



***



Sue-ki went to school alone the next morning. Jimbo claimed he would be late as he had to tie out two more goats than usual. So she joined Mario and the others in the school yard to warm up. As the bell rang and she walked to class, Sue-ki couldn’t help but wonder where Jimbo was.

After school, Sue-ki dashed up the hill towards Jimbo’s house. As she walked into the yard, she saw Jimbo playing marbles with his little cousin Tiger. Sue-ki ran up to him.

“Aye, wah do yuh today boy? I dey lookin’ out fuh yuh in school.” Sue-ki dropped to the ground and watched Tiger take careful aim with her taw.

“Mammy say she din have money today to sen’ me.” Whack! Two marbles flew out of the ring. Sue-ki gave Tiger a high-five.

“Ok. Well we jus revise some Maths and Science ‘cause it have test tomorrow, yuh hear? I goin’ home early ‘cause Mammy done beat me ahready.” They gave each other a bounce and pinched their noses.



***



The rest of the week flew by and before long, the week of the match had arrived. As Sue-ki was leaving the house, her mother kissed her good-bye and wished her luck.

“Gee dem licks Susie!” She gave Sue-ki a squeeze.

Sue-ki met Jimbo at school. She had to remind herself that they were competing against each other today.

“Yuh ready Sue-ki?” he asked her.

“Yeah I ready man Jim.” The two friends shook hands solemnly. “May de best player win.”

A voice over the loudspeakers in front of the school suddenly boomed out: “Welcome to the annual Pomme Rose Pitch Match!”

Sue-ki whistled loudly as she clapped, along with the other competitors.  She was pleased to see that the marble contest drew the largest crowd.

The first round of competition began. Sue-ki was in a separate group from Jimbo, to her relief. As the game began, she kissed her lucky marble, Destroyer. Game on!

Sue-ki started with an impressive hit, knocking out three marbles. The others looked at each other worriedly as she took her next turn, hitting marble after marble. Each of the other players only managed to hit one marble out of the ring. Sue-ki made sure no one else had a chance. The whistle blew. She had won her match!

Sue-ki punched the air with glee. “Yeah man!”

A minute later, she heard three more whistles. More matches were won. As Sue-ki headed for Jimbo’s circle, a huge cheer went up from the crowd gathered there, then the whistle blew. Sue-ki hoped Jimbo wasn’t too disappointed. Big Mouth Mikey was in that match and he was really good. So it was to her complete surprise - and slight disappointment - that Jimbo was grinning, his fist filled with marbles. He ran up to Sue-ki and gave her a playful punch on the shoulder.

“Gyal ah knock out all dem marble nuh! Watch ting!” He shoved the marbles under her nose.

Sue-ki high-fived his other hand unenthusiastically. “Nice man.”

“How much marble yuh get?” But Sue-ki had already walked towards another crowd where the final match was drawing to an end.

The next round began. Sue-ki was still in a separate group from her best friend, and she was determined to get more marbles than Jimbo. When the match began, she went first, having done better than the others in the previous match. In no time, the marbles were all hers. Smirking, she looked hastily around for Jimbo to show him her winnings, expecting him to be a little intimidated. Much to her surprise and annoyance, he gave her a huge grin and high-fived her three times.

“Dey yuh bad! Take it to dem Sue-ki!”

Frowning, Sue-ki grumbled under her breath, “Wait ‘til is yuh an’ me….”

In the final round, Jimbo started complaining about feeling dizzy but he made it through. Now the two best friends had to face off against each other. The crowd was tense. This was the match-up everyone had been waiting for! Sue-ki rubbed her hands in glee. It was time.

The match began and Sue-ki got to go first. From her pocket, she drew the largest gugurt anyone had ever seen. The crowd gasped. The spectators began to whisper. Some placed bets, sure that Sue-ki would win. They were even more sure when Jimbo showed them his little glass orb with a blue tear-shaped center.

One by one, the marbles got kicked out of the ring by the giant. Bruised and some even broken, they lay in the dust awaiting the results. Sue-ki had won! Jimbo and the crowd cheered as she walked up onto the stage to collect her prizes. Finally! Now she could plan her trip. Sue-ki grinned from ear to ear as she heaved her trophy triumphantly into the air. She scanned the crowd looking for Jimbo and saw him standing near the back, clapping feebly. He was not looking too well. She decided to wait until the next day to gloat over beating him.

At home, Sue-ki’s mother stared proudly at the trophy sitting on her living room centre table as Sue-ki fanned herself with the cheque.

“Ah so proud, baby! Now if yuh do so well in maths, I might think about giving you a computer.”

Sue-ki screamed and hugged her mother. Wait until Jimbo heard about this!



***



The next day was Saturday so Sue-ki woke late. She lay in bed listening to the sound of a dove cooing, mingled with the screech of a siren as an ambulance sped by. Soon she got tired of staying inside, so she bathed and dressed, hurriedly ate a cheese sandwich and some cocoa tea and set out for Jimbo’s house to show him her cheque.

As Sue-ki entered Jimbo’s yard, she noticed Ms. Margaret sweeping the verandah. She waved and went to meet her.

“Mawnin’ Miss Maggie. How yuh? Ah come by Jimbo. He dey?”

Ms. Margaret paused. “Sorry dear. Ambulance went wit’ James to de health centre in Belle Vue not too long ago. He didn’t wake dis mawnin.”

Fear crept up Sue-ki’s spine. She turned and ran all the way to Belle Vue almost two miles away. When she got there, the ambulance was about to leave to go to the hospital in St. George’s. Jimbo’s mother was sitting in the back holding Jimbo’s limp hand and crying. When she saw Sue-ki, she hugged her.

“What happen to Jimbo Miss Merle?” Sue-ki cried.

Sue-ki learnt that her friend needed a kidney transplant. Ms. Merle wiped a tear from the corner of her eye. “God only knows where we getting the money. Even with all my savings we don’t have enough─” She looked at Sue-Ki’s distraught face and stopped in mid-sentence. “But don’t worry chile, everything will work out.”

Without thinking twice, Sue-ki handed the cheque to Jimbo’s mother. “Here Miss Merle, you can have my prize money.”

Frowning, Jimbo’s mother began to protest. “Nuh Sue-ki, that is for your trip─”

“Me and Jim can go another time when he get well. Take it nuh.”

Jimbo’s mother stared at the cheque for a long moment then put it in her pocket. “Thank you so much Susan, bless you chile.”

They both hugged and cried, then Jimbo’s mother went with the ambulance. Sue-ki went home and told her mother everything that had happened.



***



A week after Jimbo’s surgery, the two friends were sitting in Sue-ki’s living room watching a local talk show, Chit-Chat with Lexann Fletcher.

Suddenly Jimbo yelped in excitement. “Look Suki! Yuh Mammy on the TV!”

Sue-ki leaned forward for a closer look as Jimbo turned up the volume. She couldn’t believe what she was seeing. It was true. Her mother’s face appeared in the television screen.

“Well, I am very proud of my child,” Sue-Ki’s mother said to Lexann Fletcher. “Susan did something very selfless and thoughtful. She wanted to go on a trip very badly, so she worked hard to win the prize money at a school competition.  Then she found out her best friend was really sick and needed surgery. Susan gave all of her prize money to pay his hospital bill. She didn’t think twice.”

“What a wonderful thing to do!” Lexann Flecther exclaimed, flashing her shiny smile. “We are so inspired by your daughter’s act of kindness that we would like to reward her. We are going to take Susan and her friend James on an all-expenses-paid trip to Carriacou and Petit Martinique! But that’s not all.” Lexann Flecther paused dramatically. “Thanks to our sponsors at The Computer Store Limited, Susan will be getting a laptop computer too!”

Sue-Ki didn’t hear what Lexann Fletcher said after that. She was in shock. Jimbo screamed as he hugged her. “Yeah man! We go have ah time!”

A wide grin broke out on Sue-ki’s face, then she remembered something. “Jimbo, yuh sure yuh feeling well enough to go on the trip?”

‘Yeah man Sue-ki. I good man. Ent I beat yuh in de marble game yesterday? And that was a killer match too!”

Sue-ki laughed. It was true. Jimbo really did seem to be getting back to his normal self. She had to admit her friend was as good a marble player as herself.

The two friends laughed some more as they planned their trip, and talked about all the sparkling new marbles they would buy in the toy shop in Petit Martinique.



About the Author

Fidelia Fisher has loved reading and writing since her childhood and always dreamed of one day being a great writer. She is a primary school teacher and the author of the 2016 picturebook, Shaka the Nutmeg Seed, as well as some poetry and short stories. She has been recognized by the Grenada Union of Teachers for her writing. Her inspiration is her son, Kriston, and her love of literacy. She currently lives with her family in the quiet village of Pomme Rose, in the lovely spice isle of Grenada.

Share on Google Plus

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.
    Blogger Comment
    Facebook Comment

2 comments:

  1. Wow Fedelia! Well written story. I almost cried at Jimbo's critical moment then started laughing again when they won the trip. Continue writing Fidelia!!

    ReplyDelete

Interviews