Chpt. 1 - THE MISBEHAVING
Charlene Anthony-Desiré enters the beautiful bungalow in the Eastern Bay Resort where her family has been spending the children's spring school holidays. With its soaring exposed beam ceiling and spacious open floor plan, it was the perfect place for her young family. Closing the door behind her, she walks across the gleaming mahogany floor to the kitchenette overlooking a stunning view of the Atlantic Ocean.
A small, sad smile breaks out on her face as she remembers Mathieu, her late husband. He would have loved this resort. It encompasses all his requirements for a family-fun filled recreational get-a-way.
The luscious grounds of the resort are teeming with tropical fruits, small wildlife, and beautiful exotic flowers that are bright as they are varied in colour and size. With a pool designated for relaxation that borders the indoor/outdoor spa and another for more active swimmers which consists of water slides, waterfalls, and slings; the resort has kept both her and the kids happy for the week and a half they have been here. Not forgetting to mention, being a short distance from the Ocean which has a constantly warm tropical breeze, makes the warm spring weather more than bearable.
With a heavy sigh, she places her large hand-woven straw bag on to the granite kitchen island systematically remove each item she purchased, placing them in the refrigerator and cupboards, respectively. Thinking of Mathieu always brought a bout of depression like a dark cloud. Her husband, who was full of vigour and life, was gone with the snap of his safety rope.
He plummeted to his death forty feet onto the concrete pavement below. He was a builder doing renovations on an apartment building, leaving her with three small children to raise. But that was a decade ago. Shaking her head, hoping to expel her despondent thoughts, Charlene looked at her watch noting the time.
'I wonder where the kids are', she thinks out loud after sorting out the last of her purchases. Some of these are to be used for their lunch. She is thinking of making a quick one-pot meal. She will have to ask the kids what they prefer to eat since they will be helping her cook. Knowing them, they will most likely choose the easiest meal to make.
'It is nearly lunch and they should have been here by now,' she said.
Sighing once more, Charlene retrieves her smartphone from its location in her purse to call her eldest son, Amaziah. Since she was not on the resort complex for most of the morning, Charlene would not be surprised if her younger children are up to some mischief and have their older brother at his wits end trying to prevent whatever prank they came up with from happening. The phone picks up just before it rings out.
"Yes ma", Amaziah breathlessly answers.
"Son, are you alright? Why are you breathless?" Charlene questions worriedly.
"I just trying to get Ash before he uses his stink bomb on somebody", he rushes on, "Ma, I have to go. I spotted him hiding behind a guava tree. I think he is going to use it on de ole man, two bungalows down from us. Later, bye." Before she can respond, the call ends.
"What de mango bread nuh, Ashhur! Why you so miserable?" Charlene exclaimed harshly to the empty room.
Moving quickly, she grabbed the room key from the counter heading outside. Only when she arrived near the reception lounge, does she remembers Amaziah never told her which part of the resort they were. Considering the resort is littered with guava trees, it is going to be very hard to find the boys. Unlocking her phone, she dials her daughter's number. Ariel picks up on the first ring.
"Ma, we are next to de outdoor spa. By de sulphur baths." She says before her mother could say anything.
'She must've been near her brother when I called', Charlene thought.
"Thanks sweetie. Now, make sure your little brother doesn't get himself in trouble. I coming."
Instead of replying though, Ariel shouts, "I see you. You can't hide. Ma coming to deal wif your backside." Silence then, "Ow. Ma! Ash hit me wif a guava".
"Ash, what in heaven's name is wrong wif you!" Amaziah shouts in the background.
This has Charlene jogging through the reception lounge, heading to the direction of the relaxation pool. Panting on the phone she says, "Tell yuh bruda, I almost there, behave himself".
Rounding a corner and jumping over an iguana, Charlene saw her elder children squaring off against their baby brother, no stink bomb in sight. She hangs up the call and races forward.
"ASHHUR JACQUES DESIRÉ!" She bellows. "Come here dis instant", her volume lowering as she gets closer to the children.
Her young, mischievous son comes up to her with his lower lip wobbling.
"I doh do it ah purpose ma. I was aiming for de bird above her head. But she won't believe me. Shudda let it poop on she head." He mutters the last bit under his breath but Charlene hears all the same.
"What de devil you just say there? And what happen to de stink bomb for Mr. Millers?"
Ashhur eyes harden and he spits out, "Mistah wudda deserve it. If you hear what de man was saying 'bout you? De man was rude an' outta his place. But de stupid bird end up making de stink bomb burst by de waiter instead. My plan spoil."
The unsuccessful prank did not prevent him from getting a smack upside his head from his older brother.
"Aii ah! Ma! Ziah hit me," Ashhur wails, hiding behind his mother then turning to glare at his elder brother whilst rubbing the sore spot on his head through his locks.
Taking a deep breath, Charlene told her older son, "Let me handle this."
Noticing her family is drawing attention and not wanting to be reprimanded by the resort management, Charlene turns back to the direction she came from, telling her children to follow her. Holding one of Ashhur's hands, she corrects her youngest as they walk back to their bungalow.
"Boy, you canna go around pranking people. What you think it is? Dah is nuh how things work. People are always going to be disrespectful. You have to find a bettah way of dealing with their disrespect. Otherwise, you gon’ find yourself in a lot of trouble. You understand me?"
She turns her face towards him making certain he is listening to her. He nods his understanding. Brows frowning, he states, "Yes ma. But ma, if you heard what I did, you wudda been mad as a volcano. He was callin' you a high-class prostitute and that issa bettah word for what he said. I tellin' you, he needs tuh be put in his place."
"That may be so. But you come tuh me. Let me handle him. Pranking him not goin' tuh help you," she pauses, "Stupes, now you have me talking dialect too." She frowns at down at him while he smiles up at her. Amusement dancing in his eyes.
Ariel scoffs, "Ma, he is just taking after you. After all, you revert to dialect or Creole when you're upset. We all do."
Amaziah chuckles when Charlene turns her frown to Ariel and then abruptly stops when she turns to him.
"Yeah, whatever. We will deal with this matter later, young man," she says turning back her attention to Ashhur, "Now, what do you want to cook for lunch. I am only doing a one pot."
"How about paleau?" Ashhur suggests.
"Can we put corn in it?" asks Ariel.
"With a bit of coconut milk for flavour," states Amaziah.
"Sure, that can work," agrees Charlene, "We have all these ingredients."
Just as she thought they took the easiest meal to cook. Shaking her head, Charlene leads her family through the reception lounge.