INT. NEW TWO ROOM DWELLING – DAY
I turn 9 years old. My mom treats
it like any other day. But now, the
church sisters think I’m too old to
sleep in the same bed with mom. So
they move us to the church tenement
next door where we get two separate
rooms. I can finally have my own
bed. We’re rich now. We are moving
up. But while we’re moving up, my
uncles and aunts are moving
out….. to America. So we inherit
some of their appliances. Wicked! A
toaster, an electric iron, and even
a stereo with a turntable and radio
built into a briefcase! But we
can’t afford the electricity for
any of them. But we can’t afford
the electricity for any of them
except the stereo. When my mom
isn’t around, I listen to devil
music like Stevie Wonder and
Roberta Flack. I put the toaster
and the electric iron on display on
our dresser. Everyone in the
tenement is impressed. The only
appliance Mom uses is her Singer
sewing machine. It doesn’t need
electricity. It’s powered… by me.
INT. TWO ROOM DWELLING – DAY
Steve pedals the sewing machine. Mom is sewing.
Is that the fastest as you can
pedal? This school uniform is not
for me y know, it’s for you.
This is one pedal I wish my legs
weren’t long enough to reach.
Mummy I have to go to the toilette.
You’re not going anywhere until you
try on these new school clothes
when I’m done. It’s starting to
rain anyway. Wait until the rain
I love the smell of the ground
outside when it rains. It smells so
OK, almost finish. Keep pedaling.
Mummy, my leg is tired.
Well, use your other leg. Pedal
like yu have some life. All that
brown stew chicken I been feeding
Steve sighs and pedals harder. He sniffs and relishes the
Mummy, is daddy rich?
I don’t know Steve.
What kind of work does daddy do?
Will you stop asking me all these
questions and pedal di machine?
I know he’s rich, everybody in
America is rich. Wonder what kind
of car he has?
Well, I heard he has a Cadillac.
Wow! Really? Like the Chinese
shopkeeper down at Windward Road?
Daddy must be rich.
It’d be wicked to go on a drive
with him! Like from here to the
countryside. Or have him pick me up
from school in his Cadillac.
And we can’t even afford shoes.
Mummy can I just go outside and
A said to wait.
(smells air again)
It’s driving me crazy, all that
delicious dirt out there waiting
for me and I’m stuck in here
I wish I could live with daddy.
What you mumbling under your
I want to go live with my daddy in
You want to gu to your father? Yu
want to go to your father? See how
ungrateful you are. KEEP PEDALING!
I’m here struggling with you day in
day out. Has your father ever sent
you one red cent since he left?
Then how do you know your father
wants you to live with him? Let me
tell you something, riches aren’t
all. It’s easier for a camel to
pass through the eye of a needle
than for a rich man to enter into
the kingdom of heaven. ’Bout you
want to go live with your stinking
father. Yu look just like him!
Mummy finishes the sewing. She holds up the article of
Here, try on this shirt.
Exhausted, Steve stops pedaling. He tries on the shirt and
Khaki shirt and khaki pants. Every
Jamaican schoolboy has to wear this
same stupid uniform from
kindergarten to high school. But
only poor people wear homemade
clothes. I tell everyone at school
that my mother buys my uniform at
some store downtown and they don’t
know the difference.
(fixing the shirt length)
Perrrrrrfect. I know you’re ashamed
to wear the uniforms that I make
for you, but until you start to
earn your own money, this will have
Why don’t you ask daddy for some
I’m not asking your father for
anything. Alright, take it off
before you mess it up.
I really just want to go outside in
the dirt. It smells so good.
Mummy the rain stopped. Can I go to
the toilette now?
Jesus saviour pilot me. Put away
the sewing machine first.
Alright, go on.
I dash outside. Mmm, I love the
smell of dirt when it rains. We
don’t have grass, just dirt all
around. So much dirt and so little
(Steve licks his lips)
I stoop down to start my feast. I
scoop up a handful.
Steve puts a handful of dirt in his mouth. A look of disgust
comes across his face. He gags then spits the dirt out.
Eww! It never tastes like it
smells. It’s always terrible. Why
do I keep forgetting that even
though it smells good when it
rains, it still tastes like, dirt?
Steve keeps spitting and rubbing his palms together to get
the dirt off. He looks down at his clothes.
Jesus! I got dirt on my new shirt.
What am I going to do, I can’t go
Steve starts pacing around the yard.
Steve, hurry up and come take off
your new clothes before you get
Bumbuclaut! I’m dead. She’s going
to kill me.
Steve! Did you hear me?!
Steve resigns and walks back inside.
Jesus, Mary and Joseph! Look at the
shirt I just made. How did you get
dirt all over your clothes?
I don’t know mummy.
Were you out there eating dirt
again? Uh?! Answer me!
Mummy reaches for a belt hanging on
Mummy mummy mummy, I didn’t mean to
dirty up my clothes. It was an
accident. I’m not going to do it
Take them off and go wash them in
the pan right away before I give
you a beating!
But mummy, I want to go on the
school trip with my class today.
Since when do I allow you to go on
But mummy, my whole class is going
to see that movie ’Sound of Music!’
Yu not going anywhere. Didn’t I
tell you, the movie theater is the
house of the devil.
She never lets me do anything!
Steve stares at the ground. His breathing becomes heavy.
I grab her scissors from the sewing
When I turn 13, I’m gonna be a
giant, and I’m going to kill you!
Steve stares at his mother. There is a long silence.
Steve, if I wasn’t so tired.
Steve’s mother gets up.
My mom leaves. After a second, I
see her in the churchyard through
the window. I storm back to my room
for my skateboard.
What is this cat doing in my bed?
Come here, you little bloodclaut!
I grab him by his neck.
OOOOOW! He scratched me.
I grab my skateboard and start
beating him with it. I smash him
against the door and start pounding
Steve beats the cat with his skateboard.
Why don’t you let me do things
other kids do? I can’t listen to
regular music, you burned my
science book. I can’t go to
parties. Everything is god this or
god that. I’m tired of going to
these dead church sisters’
funerals. I hate you, I hate going
to church 7 days a week and 3 times
a day on Sundays. I wish you
weren’t my mom. I wish I lived with
Steve stops beating the cat with his skateboard. He stares
at the cat in silence. It feels good. Steve smiles.
I wrap his body in newspaper. I
leave and walk down Wild Street to
the cemetery at the corner of
Windward Road. I put the dead cat
in the bushes near a tombstone.
Silence. Steve sits down on the low brick wall next to the
cemetery. The smile fades to melancholy.
I hate this neighborhood. This
ghetto, these broken down shacks,
doodu water in the middle of the
street. I hate this place! It’s
like living in a prison. I bet
daddy lives in a much nicer place.
Why did he leave me in this? I wish
I wasn’t even born.
EXT. WINDWARD ROAD – CONTINUOUS
I look out onto at the four lane
road in front of me, Windward Road.
My back is to the cemetery. I can
barely hear my thoughts above all
Steve contemplates the cat. The release it brought was only
temporary. He’ll have to go right back to his mom now.
Cars, trucks, buses whizz by. That
blue redimix truck. I’ll run in
front of it. I jump off the wall
toward the road. The driver lays on
the horn. It’s deafening. I step
back onto the sidewalk. A city bus
and a yellow cab speed toward me.
In no time before I can get up my
nerves, they swoosh by. The bus
leaves a big breeze behind. That
thing was moving. Ok, the blue pick
up truck. I’m jumping in front of
the blue pick up. My heart starts
racing. I move closer to the edge
of the sidewalk. I’m going to do
this. I’ll show them. Wish I could
see all the church sisters faces at
my funeral. I close my eyes and
dash out into the street. I feel
the hot pavement with every step. I
see the doodu pit, my tricyle
sinking. I hear screeching tires.
Something fast and heavy hits the
back of my hand. It whips me
around. I’m in the air. I see mummy
and I laying in bed together. I try
to hug her. She pushes me away.
Mummy always pushes me away. I hear
metal crumbling, glass shattering.
My mom once told me my dad was tall
and skinny like a coconut tree. My
head smashes onto the hot asphalt.
I see daddy’s smile. The sound of
smashing glass and crunching metal
INT. TWO ROOM DWELLING
Is the Mercies of the Lord why you
only got hit by a motorcycle. Don’t
you know you must look before you
cross the street? Yu si how God
keeps protecting you. And you won’t
give your heart to him.
You almost didn’t live to see the
letter from your father.
You got a letter from my father?
He wants to know if I’d be Ok to
send you to go live with him.
(cover up excitement)
I get to go live with my father!
We’ll go to the park and drive
around in his Cadillac. I’m going
to learn to drive. Wait, she’s not
going to let me go. Never in a
million light years. She’s
definitely not going to send me to
Mummy, would you send me to live
Well, I don’t know about that. You
know, everybody is on drugs in New
York. When the good Lord comes back
for his earth, the first place he’s
going is America and the first
place in America he’s going is New
That’s what I thought. I knew she
wouldn’t let me go.
You know Steve, when you were born,
I gave you to the Lord. I gave you
to the Lord so you could be a
vessel for him.
Yep, I’m going to have to stay
here, in this shit pit.
The question is, do YOU want to go
and live with your father?
Of course I want to go live with my
dad. But I don’t want to hurt her
I don’t want to leave you mummy.
Can you go to America too?
I have to do god’s work right here.
You can go live with your father.
Did I hear her right? I can’t
believe she’s doing this.
You’re really sending me to live
with my father?
You are mummy? Why?
Maybe you can do God’s work in
America. The Lord works in
mysterious ways. Just remember what
I told you about drugs.
I won’t forget.
Mummy is really sending me to
America to go live with daddy. This
is it. My life will be perfect. But
it takes forever to get my visa.
They started the paperwork when I
was 12. I’m 15 years old and still
in Jamaica! After 3 rejections by
the American embassy, I finally get
my green card. I find out during
the interview, that I have a
sister. Her name is Geneva, the
same name as my mom. I always
thought I’m an only child. How can
I meet her? Soon after, I get a
plane ticket in the mail from my
dad. I say goodbye to my mom at the
airport. She cries and hugs me. I’m
not really sad, but I feel bad for
leaving her. I tell her I’ll write
as soon as I land.
I get on the plane. It’s packed,
it’s like a nice bus with wings. I
can’t believe this is happening.
Finally no more mom, Sister Gene.
The plane starts down the runway.
I’m in the air! Jamaica gets
smaller and smaller. In 3 hours I
will start a new life at 15 years
old with my dad.