Mangoes, Mangoes

by Indira Sammy

Mango season was upon us and mango trees everywhere were laden with sweet, rosy, delicious mangoes. The envy of the neighbourhood was old Mr. Peter. He had a huge starch mango tree in his yard. Every mango lover would agree that starch mango was the best.

Mr. Peter hardly ever shared his mangoes. Every day he would fill a bag of tasty, ripe, starch mangoes and take it down to the market and sell it. This seemed to bother every little boy and girl on the street.

Mum did not seem fazed by it at all; she said it was his livelihood. He sold the fruits and vegetables which he grew to earn money to support himself. I still felt he needed a better reason than that not to share. I lived one house away from Mr. Peter and night after night I would hear those juicy starch mangoes falling braps, braps, hitting Mr. Peter’s roof. It was torment, a form of torture. Why did Mr. Peter own the only starch mango tree in the neighbourhood? Why?

“Sonny Boy, you looking like you have something up your sleeve. Come nah; let me hear the plan you hatching.” Sonny Boy was my cousin. His father was my mother’s brother and they lived next door to us. Poor Sonny Boy, he actually lived closer to Mr. Peter than I. I’m sure that was torture times two.

“Pollo why you think I’m always up to something. Can’t a man just sit and think,” Sonny Boy responded to my taunts. Yes … my nickname was Pollo. My whole family called me Pollo, it meant chicken in Spanish and yes, they called me Pollo because I loved chicken. I didn’t mind, I think it is better than being called Starch Mango.

“Of course a man can think but two eleven year old boys during mango season have one thing on their mind.”

“Starch mango,” we chorused.

“Sonny is your daddy at home?” asked my mother as she shouted over the fence to Sonny Boy.

“No Auntie but he said he’ll be back in five minutes.”

“Sonny and Pollo come here.” I was already by the gate, Sonny Boy came over to find out what Mum wanted. “Fellas, I am going to the market to pick up a few things. I will be back in half an hour, please stay out of trouble.”

Mum bent the corner and was out of sight. I looked across at Sonny Boy and saw him pointing. It was the nicest set of mangoes I had ever seen. There were about five or six yellow mangoes clustered closely together. My mouth began watering.

“If only,” I said muttering softly to myself.

“If only what. Boy Daddy gone, Auntie gone and Mr. Peter left for the market already so those mangoes are as good as ours,” insisted Sonny Boy.

“You don’t find it strange that Mr. Peter hasn’t picked those mangoes. It is right there plain as day,” I observed.

“I see nothing strange about it. He probably had enough and just didn’t bother with these. So I say pick them now because he might pick them to sell tomorrow.”

“Sonny Boy, you heard what Mum said.”

“Pollo, your name suits you. You are really acting like a chicken.”

“Well then I prefer to be a live chicken than a dead one if someone catches me.”

“Ha Ha the chicken has jokes. Boy jus’ come on nah, I will climb and you could stay on the bottom and catch the mangoes. I will climb back down and we will lock back the gate as though nothing ever happened. We will sit in the back of the house and eat our mangoes and after we’ll throw the skins and seeds where no one will see them,” dictated Sonny Boy.

I began to make steps towards Mr. Peter’s gate. Sonny Boy was in front of me. He opened the gate and headed up the mango tree. Sonny Boy got to the beautiful mangoes he wanted and stretched out his hand to pick the first one. He felt it before he saw it. I heard uncontrollable screaming and then there was a thunderous thump.

I didn’t want to get into any trouble so I had returned home and let Sonny boy continue on his quest alone. The last time we tried something like that we couldn’t sit for a week. I had no intentions of reliving the experience or the week-long pain again.

When I heard his screams I peered over into Mr. Peter’s yard, only to see Sonny boy frantically waving his hands in front of his face, slipping off of the mango tree branch and crashing to the ground. I flew over in Mr. Peter’s yard to see if Sonny Boy was dead.

Apparently, there was a wasps’ nest behind the juicy mangoes. When Sonny Boy stretched his hand he bumped the mangoes which bumped the nest and the wasps began to tear into him. In trying to fight them off he lost his balance and fell off the tree. Sonny Boy’s arms and face were bumpy and red and he was holding his left arm as tears ran down his face.

Before I could even bend to pick him up I heard, “What are you all doing in there? As though things weren’t bad enough, Uncle Reggie had returned home. “Just get out of Mr. Peter’s yard.”

“Uncle, I think Sonny might have broken his arm,” I said hoping for some sympathy.

“Only his arm is broken wait until I am finished with him,” responded Uncle Reggie. Clearly I failed in my attempt to gain sympathy.

Uncle Reggie took Sonny Boy to the hospital. He did indeed have a broken arm. Uncle Reggie calmed down and felt that the broken arm was enough punishment for Sonny Boy’s wrongs. Sonny confirmed that I had deserted him and wasn’t even present when he took his fall, so I was spared.

As predicted, Mr. Peter picked the mangoes the next day to sell knowing only that Sonny Boy broke his arm he offered him two mangoes. Sonny Boy was feeling so guilty; especially after the look Uncle Reggie gave him, he couldn’t eat the mangoes. So he gave them to me. “Ah yes! Two, lovely, starch mangoes!”


About the author...

Indira Sammy is from Trinidad and Tobago. She recently completed an MSc. in Financial Management. Her true passion is writing and she enjoys writing Caribbean stories that children can enjoy. Indira's kids are her greatest inspiration.

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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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