Ride the Horse, Pa!
"God , thank you for taking the light from my eyes!" muttering and
mumbling in the way that the blind always seem to do sat Wally in his
chair while his son rummaged under the bed, the only other piece of
furniture in the one room shack.
It was getting dark but he did not think of lighting the kerosene lamp
hanging on the nail on the wall. He had been blind now for almost
fifteen years as a result of type two diabetes and the darkness did not
bother him. It did not seem to bother Michael either because he did not
stop doing what he was doing. He wished that Michael would hurry and
leave, Michael was trouble; he seemed to attract it as a honey attracts
He had suddenly reappeared in Wally's life a few months ago as a
prodigal son expecting the fattened pig. Wally had been relaxing on the
back steps when he heared a voice and felt an arm round his shoulder,
"Hi pa,how yuh doing?" He knew at once that it was Michael. He sat down
near Wally on the stairs which shook dangerously, while spreading an
aroma of grass from the fatman in his mouth. Wally pretended not to
know who was sitting near him, "hi pa doh do as if yuh doh know me nuh,
is yuh son Michael. I just come back from the States. I eh bring yuh
nothing but yuh still glad to see me eh?" He continued talking even
though Wally still pretended not to hear a word he said. "Okay pa, I
know that yuh vexed but doh do as if yuh eh know me. I even go to
Sirene to ask she where yuh living so I could come to see yuh. I know I
ain't come for a long time but I know that yuh still know me!"
He did not mention that he had not come back because he wanted to , he
had been deported as unwanted alien after he had been picked up in a
drugs bust. "I woulda breng yuh something but I thought that yuh was
He called to the friend he had brought with him, "Come boy, lemme
introduce yuh to my pa, he alright. Pa this is my friend Barry. He
going to stay by yuh for a few days, he ah have no place to stay. I
staying by a friend but she eh want him there. He eh bad and he go help
yuh out, right Barry?"
He stood up from the steps. "I have to go now because I have some
business I have to take care of, I coming back soon. Barry boy take
care of them things for me you hear? " He left throwing careful looks
around him as if checking that no one was lying in wait for him.
"Oh God, " thought Wally, "It done with the peace and quiet here. That
boy only bring trouble for me." He did not even bother to speak to
Barry who , as soon as Michael had disappeared got busy searching the
shack for anything he could use. He found a few dollars in the pockets
of the only other pair of pants which pa owned and appropriated them,
"Finders keepers." He lit the lamp and after helping himself to the
dinner that pa's daughter Carol had left on the kerosine stove he took
off his shoes and went to bed leaving pa asking himself where he was
supposed to sleep.
In the only hospital in the town Mary also got ready for bed. She was
to go home the next day not that she was much better butshe could
notaffod to stay any longer. The little money that she had saved was
gone and she could not afford to lie here doing nothing. She had to get
a job and see about paying the rent which would be due in a few days.
She was already owing a month and she was just lucky that her roommate
had a bit of money over from her father's pension, she had been to see
Mary in the hospital yesterday and had told her that she would pay her
share of the rente but she wanted it back as soon as possible. She
couldn't let her pa starve. She was very greatful Carol but she had to
find that money somehow.
The next day she left the hospital as soon as the nurse had given her
the last injection. The Docter had had made his ronds and had again
tried to persuade her to stay a few days longer. He did not have to
worry about paying the rente and finding
a job! She thought , but she just nodded when he reminded her that if
she left it was her own responsibility. "Doctor I feeling better and I
have to go home I eh have no more money, you know how it is. I cah stay
here no more!"
The next day she left early, she walked to the bus station in the
center of the town, She wondered what was going on. It was a weekday
but on the way to the center of the town she was supprised to see how
few people she met. She felt a strange undercurrent in the air. She
realised that she had been hearing a deep growling for some time now
without having taken any notice of it.It wascoming from the direction
in which she was walking. "Lord , I wonder what happening, them town
people always making trouble." She tried to walk faster curious as to
find the source of the noice but the injections had been very painful
and had left her cheeks swollen and protesting with every
In the distance she saw the town square, it was crowded with people
running around like ants on a food march. The crowd was alive and
growling, it surged from left to right with it's own logic. She felt
her own blood quicken with excitement and tried to find out from people
passing by what was going on, tugging at arms as they pushed past, "He
man what going on, what happening?" No one took the time to even look
Suddenly the gates to the policestation were flung open and the mounted
police made a charge trying to dispurse the crowd which was getting
quite ugly. A man lay on the ground. She had the frightening feeling
that things were already going bad but could not bring herself to try
to leave. She doubted if she could, even if she wanted.
The crowd boiled over into the surrounding streets shouting and
thrusting fists into the air "Power, power, black power, power to the
people" Mary had not heard that phrase before but found herself
screaming it at the top of her voice and
running with the crowd, forgetting the pain in her behind. Suddenly she
lost contact me the crowd and found herself alone and wondering what
the hell had possessed her "Jesus, she vomited on the ground. She
turned and mad her way to the bus station.
Even here you could feel the disturbance that held the town in its
grip. There were people crying and screaming. "they didn't have to kill
him, that boy eh do nothing and they kill him, he just stand up there!
" Mary did not know what they were talking about, she did not really
care. She stepped on the bus and was glad to be on the way home. The
excitement of the morning had exhausted her.
Carol was not at home when she got there there and she went to bed at
once. She would start her job hunting in the morning.
When Carol got home she was also bubbling over with news and anger.
"Girl, yuh don't know what happen yesterday. Michael come by pa and he
dump a friend on him, the boy name Barry and girl he nasty. He think he
own the place, I can't move without he following me. They hide
something by pa under the bed. Girl, I frighten, that Michael always
bringing trouble."She came closer to Mary and looking about the room as
if it were full of spies, she whispered, "They have guns under pa bed!
Mary felt her heart grow cold "Where they get the guns? " she asked.
"Girl I don't know, how I could know that? And guess what, you know who
come there just before I go just now? You eh going to believe it, that
friend of yours the one who always used to talk about throwing out the
man and taking over. Girl I frighten bad, them boys go get us
Mary knew exactly what she was talking about, she felt her whole body
begin to shake as if someone just walk over her grave, if Mikey
involved then Carol had a right to be frightened, That Mikey was one
crazy piece of shit. They could all better be ready to call the
undertaker. "Pa I eh know how you will ride this horse!"