by Eugene Trench
A short story I had written way back in an English class name "Back Den"
Ms Tency was walking down Richard St where she lived she was going to the Watside to empty her Night Bucket every two step she took she ease the bucket down then rub her knees and mumbled to her self”lawd weh wa seventy year old woman have do these things why didn’t mi granddaughters stay with me here instead of going to States with their muma”.Look at mi friend Mehitibel,her son, wife and grandchildren live with her to help with carrying out their bucket . When she finish at the Watside she took the opposite way to see if Mehitibel her friend got up yet, reaching her gate she shouted “Yohoo!” “Mehitibel “ “Yohoo! “ “Mehitibel ! “She notice the blinds open and she heard her friend answered” Tency da you dat gyal weh yo d do up so early”. “Mehitibel l just left Watside and lawd dey maskita only d bite “as she speak she brush her self with her rag and it seems dey falla me so any news gyal . Yes ! Yes ! things tarry yer d Governor vex with Price, Richardson, Goldson , Smith & Pollard cause dey refuse to heng a picture a King George ena City Hall big meeting tenite da Battlefield Park all a dey wa talk me don hav me blue skirt & white blouse press hope yo gwen wit me a wa ask Tommy and e friend David fu ker d stool fu we because yo know we knee no to gud and we can’t stand up long .De meeting staat seventoty shaap and me no wa miss out memba last time we reach late and lawd we miss out. K Mehitibel gyal a gwen, memba a wa past fu yo seven shaap a really wa hear weh we boys wah seh hope dey give dey British hell da bout time we run we own este . Gyal Tency a hope yo son Nathaniel no rail up wit me cause yo no he no like we go listen to Price just cause he work da de Lumba Yaad weh BEC own he worship dey pipple. Mehitibel memba Nathaniel hav wa gud job and he put bred pa table me haf to wait pa wen mi data send wa lee dollars fu me . A kno gyal but at least dey memba yo you no memba poor Ms Rosie e wotless pickney gawn da England wit d white man and up to tiday e no send wa dime fu d woman, poo ting e end up da Po House po thing. Da tru gyal som pickney really wotless.Anyway, gyal Tency mek a go knead some flour, dem pickney wa flour tortilla fu tea and a no light d kerosene stove yet. OK Mehitibel gyal at least you have stove fu cook inside me still d struggle with mi fire hearth outside but a d beg mi data fu send wa lee xtra dis Christmas fu mek a buy wa stove wen e rain lawd a barely cud go outside to cook, any way see yo Seven
Part 2 of “Back Den”
Pa Nathaniel sitting on his verandah enjoying his favorite drink wa lee rum & Coke whilst his wife observing the passersby. Whilst he and his wife were talking he notice Ms Tency coming up the street in her bright blue skirt & white blouse with her handkerchief tuck between her bosom. Hmm Pa Nathaniel mumbled “a wonder da weh she gwen mus da Battlefield Park da PUP meeting to listen to da crowd we d mek mischief” lawd his wife mentioned left dey pipple alone I think dey want good fu we country it’s time we run our own affairs. At that moment his mom, Mehitibel came out with her blue skirt white blouse and her handkerchief tuck like how Ms Tency have hers, hearing her daughter-in-law she dip in “yes Betty tell mi son we di fight fu all Belizeans we tired a dey British running our affairs time fu action. Smelling the Limacol on his mom with a twinkle in his eye Nathaniel chuckle “ayee mom like yo got wa date tenite” yes his mom answered date wit me boys da Battlefield Park things hot, Mom , Nathaniel answered you know a no like u and Ms Tency mix up with da crowd, been hearing terrible things about them even hear they’re taking money from Guatemala me no trust da PUP crowd look at their flag similar to Guatemala soon da lone pania we wa d talk . Stop listen to foolishness all Price,Smith,Goldson, Richardson & Pollard da mek dey British mek we run we own affairs, anyway see Tency deh, a gwen hope David and e friend done tek we stool cause dey lee knee the act up I glad a rub wa lee Bengue pa it a wa fill yo een lata Betty gyal. Holding on to the rail she went downstairs to meet Tency and then trod towards Battlefield Park, what got on Mehitibel nerves is like every two three steps dey took Tency stop and gossip with someone, “lawd Tency you da like bread cart mek we hurry mi grandson David must d wonder we we deh”.
Reaching they look around and spotted David and his friend waving to them at their favorite spot if anyone else were there hmmm they would have been mad, they went and sat down, telling David to hang around or comeback in two hours time.
Looking around Tency mentioned hmmm look like wa lee crowd tenite and more coming yes gyal Mehitibel mentioned look like we d get d message across, only mi son he luv dey British, lawd Mehitibel understand Nathaniel he works fu dem . Glancing around Tency notice an old friend standing behind a tree talking to a gentleman, look Mehitibel mi friend got no shame dat da d same gentleman me see her with da Foreshore d sit down close d talk something d happen but wen e husband find out e wa beat ah. Maybe just a person she talk to mention Mehitibel they’re good friends . Hmmm too gud of a friend .
Back Den Pt.3
Ms Tency & Mehitibel sat down in Battlefield Park patiently waiting for the meeting to begin whilst waiting both chatting and observing the crowd, Tency eyes roaming over the park trying to see who’s present and paying key attention to her friend and the gentleman she’s with, “look Mehitibel lawd look how close e deh to the man hmmm breeze can’t pass through them,” “mind yo own business Tency me no fast” . Look Tency mentioned Mehitibel, “Mr Price coming our way a wanda if he memba we, gyal one thing with Mr Price he no figet name and face me think he knows everybody hmmm look how sharp e look”. Mr Price went by them and politely said “Good Night Ms Tency & Ms Mehitibel glad you all can make the meeting tonight we have so much to tell you all”. “Mr Price “said Ms Tency “me neva wa miss dis ya meeting me proud of you, Mr Goldson, Mr Smith, Mr Richardson & Mr Pollard me like when unu gave dem whitey British hell, proud a unu really proud” . Me second the motion Mr Price Amen to that. With a twinkle in his eyes Mr Price asked Ms Mehitibel when will you bring Nathaniel at our meeting hmmm and with hissing of her mouth she mentioned me son really no like unu cause Mr Price, but one day he will I know just because he worked for dem British . Smiling and bidding Good Night again Mr Price left them and went to chat with another group. “Wow “Mehitibel “Tency said “Mr Price talk perfect English and he really can talk”, yes Tency gyal he and Mr Smith got their education da the Catholic High School run by the Jesuits they very educated, very educated me proud a dem da Mr Price gwen far ena politics mark me word Tency. Their conversation was interrupted by the master of ceremony who was also the party chairman signaling the meeting about to start, instead of playing the British Anthem God Save The King”the American Anthem Star Spangled Banner was played the chairman mentioned over the microphone to everyone sing it loud so the Governor could hear it way up Regent St da government house, that brought out a loud cheer from the crowd, when the cheer finish someone in the crowd shouted “to hell with the Governor and dem British ya da fu we,”again a thunderous cheer went up from the crowd. When Mr Smith, Mr Richardson, Mr Goldson & Mr Pollard finished speaking Mr Price was the main Speaker he spoke of the Governor wanted to arrest the editors of the Billboard and charge them with sedition but we will defend them we will get a Jamaican attorney to fight our case Mr Goldson & Mr Richardson is one of us, down with them British. Freedom & Justice for Mr Goldson & Mr Richardson ! We need money to pay the lawyer fees so we’re going to have some fund raising are you with us, a big big thunderous applause came from the crowd Yes! Yes ! they shouted we got unu back, to hell with the British !
Gyal Tency hmmm this crowd rifle up me wa cook a big pot of rice & beans and donate it yes gyal Mehitibel although things hard me can’t give but a wa help yo grata d kuknat and we wa cook it pan d fire hart , yes Tency gyal we haf to help .
Back Den: Pt 4
When the meeting finished at Battlefield Park Tency & Mehitibel waited around for a little while for her grandson and his friend to come pick up their stools, whilst waiting Tency eyes roaming and observing the crowd, look Mehitibel me friend and the gentlemen leaving a wanda weh e gwen. Lawd Tency mentioned Mehitibel “da woman wa give yo pressure “ anyway see David deh e friend the come fu de de stool lets start walking home. Walking they bid friends good night and Tency as usual wah hold conversation with whom they meet, gyal e late and a wah fill een Betty weh gawn on .
Meanwhile still sitting on the verandah waiting for his mom Pa Nathaniel was still chatting with his wife and watching the passers by, hmmmm Betty gyal look like wa lee crowd me deh da Park listening to da Guatemalan crowd, behave yo self Nathan Mr Smith, Price,Richardson,Goldson & Pollard only wah betta fu we maybe a should a gawn with yo mother-in-law and Tency . Look Betty gyal here dey come a imagine how e wa fill yo in. Reaching her house Pa Nathaniel mentioned to Betty wen Tency seh gud nite to us a wa reply ena Spanish, then a wa tease ah, cause she and mi Ma like dah crowd. Gud nite Nathan & Betty gyal and a wa chat with yo tomorrow Mehitibel gyal. “Buenos Noches Señora Tency , ¿Como estas? “ then he couldn’t help his laughter, Nathaniel you drunk mentioned his mom “Betty da how much glass a rum me son drink meanwhile making her way upstairs, da wat with the pania talk. Laughing loud with a twinkle in his eyes he said “ a de get ready fu wen yo crowd sell we to Guatemala cause da lone pania we wa de talk “ again a boisterous laugh until his eyes watered. “No pay him mind mother-in-law & Ms Tency e only joking. . Not taking that joke Ms Tency went down the street towards her home. Turning towards Ms Mehitibel she mentioned fill me en weh gawn on da the meeting . Mek rest me foot first dear, Nathan get me a glass of water before a fill een yo wife and by the way Mr Price ask wen you wa come da we meetings. Fuming Pa Nathaniel went into the kitchen to get the water for his mom mumbling hmmm why he the ask fu me me no wah get mix up with dem atall . On the verandah Ms Mehitibel was filling her about the meeting and how wonderful Mr Price sound and how the crowd was really rilled up, as she was getting to the part about the sedition charges her son bought her water she took a big gulp while he sat again in his favorite veranda chair. Continuing she mentioned what Mr Price and the others said the Governor no happy with the editors of the Billboard because he seh they’re printing bad things about the Governor and the Royal family but we noh fraid fu dem. The Party and supporters will find the money cause we even hiring wa Jamaican lawyer. Hmm
Nathaniel shouted why not a Guatemalan lawyer and get money from them, again he laughed boisterously.
Back Den Pt 5 (September )
Pa Nathaniel peddling his bike from work whistling the tune🎶🎼 "It was the 10th Day of September 98 in Ano Domine when our forefathers🎶🎼" then pause as he double the lane he noticed bright blue and white flags flying in the breeze on his veranda, what the hell he muttered loudly hmmm ayee my mom I already told her me no wah see den deh flag especially during this time.Reaching home he pushed his bicycle against the steps and start shouting "Betty! Betty! weh the hell de go ahn" meanwhile taking the steps two at a time. Betty came out with her apron greeting her husband. "Evening dear "I'm making beef liver with onions and sweet pepper with Creole bread for tea your favorite" . "Betty no try sweet me up weh the go ahn with dey blue and white flag you know how pipple talk a no wah me boss pass ya and see the house decorate with dey Guatemalan flag, mek he tink me the support da Guatemala crowd", "Nathaniel you know yo boss no come this side a town" "yes" Nathaniel mentioned "but dey pipple weh work with me they wa pass then mek fun a me dah work suppose e reach me boss ears a cud be outa wa job",'
" Stop talk nonsense, fu mek yo feel betta a wah ask David and Tommy to hang two Union Jack da front".same time his mom came outside and the conversation shift to her,"Mom da one thing yo go listen to da PUP crowd but a no wah see dey colors pa me house pipple wa tink me the fallla da Guatemala/PUP crowd" "ayee son" mentioned his mom mek pipple talk, look how beautiful dey flags look same color of the sky, blue and white,all Mr Price wah gud fu wi we wah run the affairs of the country. Hearing Mr Price named Nathaniel fumed more look Ma me no trust da crowd strong rumors the talk out deh dat e the tek money from Guatemala,”Ahhh pipple will talk but dey one weh the grumble da deh sa one deh we deh suffer all Mr Price want da betterment fu we”with that said Nathaniel mentioned Betty gyal put up me tea a gwen go cool off da the club with me ballies and off he went. Tency meanwhile was scurrying up the street she gat hot news fu Mehitibel reaching the gate at the same time as Nathaniel was opening it she saw the blue and white flags flying in the wind , "cho Nathaniel luv see yo house dress up fu National Day" with that said Nathaniel got more angry “look Tency the day is St Georges Caye Day not National Day stop de mek da PUP crowd brainwashed unu with that said he jump on his bike and went towards the club thinking he said a wah give dey PUP hell da the club with a smile he peddled faster. David and Tommy came out with the Union Jack, they got strict instructions to put it on the front veranda, looking up Tency saw them and mentioned “hmmm da what with dah ugly flag “ “me granny seh we fu put it up Ms Tency” mentioned David. same time Mehitibel came out and saw Tency “gyal Tency weh yo the do out so late” ? “So da what with the Union Jack” “Tency gyal yo know me son,da fu he house so to compromise told him “two Union Jack no wa hurt but we blue and white flag got out da ugly flag” with that said both roar into laughter. So we bring yo out Tency gyal, hmmm things no to good ena the party Mr Goldson and Richardson left the party to form their own and Mr Smith fall out with Mr Price because Mr Smith want to support the Legislative Council in the Centenary celebration and Mr Price dey gainst it because that’s showing loyalty to England. But yo know we deh with Mr Price me no wa desert, Amen to dat Mehitibel mentioned. Remember we gwen parade on National Day gyal we gwen go march with Mr Price we wah show the governor we have we crowd.
Pa Nathaniel sitting in his usual chair on his veranda watching the passersby going to watch the parade and was waiting for his wife,Tommy,and David, looking up he saw Tency coming in her bright blue skirt and white blouse and her usual hankerchief tuck between her bosom seeing her he shouted Ma , Tency here coming out with same attire as Tency she grab her blue umbrella bidding farewell to Betty and the boys she wave at her son telling him bye also. Natnaniel , Betty and the boys made their way to watch the parade whilst standing a group of ladies along with their families came and stood by them waving the blue and white flag hmmm Betty mek we move on the other side me no wah me boss see me with this crowd mek e think me gone over to da PUP. Ayee Nathaniel you're taking this politics too far with that hey went cross the street to a more sparse crowd. Look David shouted-the parade coming it was the Governor sponsored parade with Union Jack waving look Nathaniel Betty mentioned there is your boss but wait isn't that Mr Smith from the PUP a wanda how come he with the Legislative Council crowd hmmm how come your Mom not filling me in . Nathaniel boss pass and waved at him and bid hello to his wife . Look like dey got wa lee crowd Betty gyal smiling dey still strong. About two hours ;later Tommy shouted look the PUP Parade coming wow look pa blue and white flag .Look , look Tommy shouted there's Granny and Ms Tency marching beside Mr Price ! they look like bodyguards, passing they wave to the boys, Nathaniel, and Betty who in return wave lawd Betty mentioned what a crowd this PUP the come on strong, this crowd five times bigger than the Governor parade. Watching Nathaniel shaking his head yes da true dis ya crowd huge hmmm very scary, da Mr Price da nothing fu mess with.
Back Den Pt 6 (Self-Government)
Ms Tency was visiting her best friend Mehitibel on a Sunday afternoon, sitting on the verandah with them were Nathaniel & his wife, as usual politics was the topic. Betty mentioned” Ms Tency & motherin law “how come unu no tell me unu party the bruk up, I saw Mr Smith parading with the Union Jack and the Governor crowd” “ Look like Mr Smith know something gyal Betty, notice how dey two kept we ena the dark” Nathaniel said then chuckled . Seems that got both Tency & Mehitibel hot both speaking at once “look ya“ realising they both speaking they laughed which was short lived. Tency continued “Mr Price no need dey traitors especially da Goldson & Richardson trying to form wa new Party hahaha again Mehitibel joined her in laughter da true look pa dey, we sweep dem and took over City Hall how dey wa match up against Mr Price. But things can’t right Mom mentioned Nathaniel “with Smith, Richardson & Goldson gone and rumors Mr Pollard jump ship too,the party seems things no too good” .”Look pa the parade 10th yo see the crowd fifty times bigger than da poco tempo parade weh mi son boss and the Governor try to outnumber us” fired back Mehitibel. “Da true Nathaniel” mentioned Betty “da parade mi huge”. Realising the truth Nathaniel shift his head to watch the passers by.
By the way Tency began the conversation again this ya news very hot e the smoke, hearing that Nathaniel turn his head towards the conversation once again “we hot Ms Tency Guatemala the come back fu dey flags unu march with” . Shut up and stop talk fool Nathaniel mentioned his mom, gyal go head Tency , yes Ms Tency mek we hear weh hot Betty dipped in. Me hear from good grounds Mr Price along with wa lee delegation along with the Governor gwen da England go meet fu mek we start to handle we affairs da yo call it Nathaniel, self self what? “Self Government” butt in Betty that would be nice but yo think the Governor will agree, ever since Adult Suffrage the Governor seeing the hand writing on the wall, he’s seeing we want fu run we own affairs and who knows Independence next, Mehitibel mentioned. Yes Mehitibel gyal a glad we the head ena the right direction da Mr Price really wa mek good fu we, look we kud a vote ena the last City Council election and the biggest news is a hear the general election the come up soon. Yes Nathaniel mentioned the Legislative Assembly will consist of 25 members 18 elected by local political parties, five nominated & two official members. Biggest news a hear the election wa be March 1961. Hear Mr Price even have the lee short man weh have wa hoarse voice e always deh with the rough and tuff street crowd, Mr Lindy Rogers . He the mek the waterfront workers Union joined we struggle Mr Betson deh pa board with we, Mr Price no the joke. Taking all this in Nathan began to think if Mr Betson & dey waterfront Union joined with PUP very scary, a wonder weh Mr Pollard have fu seh. Bringing his mind back to the conversation he heard Tency saying Herbert Fuller and the N.I. P. also the field candidates fu challenge PUP, mek dey come Mehitibel mentioned we wa sweep them and she showed the gesture like she’s holding a broom which bought laughter amongst them. Just as Mehitibel predicted in March the PUP swept all 18 seats making Mr Price First Minister Then in January 1964 Self Government was granted and he became Premier.