The shop I was sent to was quite near our house so I had to be quick. On the way back, rum in hand, I went to this lady and spent my dollar on a small cut of black pudding – not forgetting, a touch of tamarind sour on the very top. Since I was in such a hurry, all I had time to do was to gobble it up quickly and make sure it was all gone before I got home. Mammy couldn’t know I had the money, you see. It wasn’t until the black pudding had gone down that I realised there was something putridly wrong with it.
When I got home, as I was taking my slippers off at the door as usual, Mammy told me to get out of her house and wash my slippers downstairs.
“You mash dog dung!” She shouted, taking the rum from my hands. “How come you can’t smell that horrible smell?”
I went down and washed my slippers, but I knew that the smelly culprit was a long way from my feet.
After a while I came back up and kept my mouth tightly closed. I figured that if I could manage to keep it shut until we had the lovely curried chicken, that the hot spicy curry sauce would cover up the bad ‘dog dung’ smell coming from within my now contaminated mouth and stomach. As soon as I entered the house again, Mammy sent me straight back out.
“Ah could still smell that dung. Wot them people give them dogs to eat these days, eh? Wash yuh feet dis time,” she said, getting ready to tuck into her curry, as she poured her rum out into a small glass.
“Come Mr tally man,
Tally me banana.
Daylight come and me waan go home.”
Harry Bellafonte sang on the radio as I walked downstairs for the second time. If only I could get my toothbrush. Theresa came down to tell me that my food was getting cold and I mouthed to her that I had eaten rotten black pudding. She came in to smell my breath but as I opened my mouth, she reeled back violently. We both giggled uncontrollably, we had to both rest our hands on our knees to stop ourselves from falling down with laughter. Theresa said she was coming back, and ran upstairs. Seconds later, she came back with a bar of Zex washing soap and some toothpaste hidden in the palm of her hand.
“What’s the soap for?” I asked.
“Ah had to tell Mammy I was bringing the soap for you to wash your feet with,” she answered.
At last I was able to go up and eat my nice curry. My mouth was watering despite the taste of Colgate on my tongue. Mammy gave us all a sip of her rum, it burned my tongue a bit but it wasn’t too bad.
Everyone finished eating before me and as I sat finishing my dinner, listening to Tom Jones on the radio, I was thinking that maybe we would get a story tonight, after all . . .
“Anne!” Mammy shouted loudly, so loudly that her voice broke in the middle of my name. I knew I was in trouble even before I saw her face. I left my food and stood up in a panic. She had called my name, I must be in evil trouble this time.