SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2012 WILLIAM SAROYAN INTERNATIONAL PRIZE FOR WRITING
"Been out here long-long, since around seven, beggin. Mumma, she don’t know how it hard. If I go home now, she going beat me, say me worthless. She don’t understand plaza runnins. People don’t like see boy inna plaza; girl, now, they don’t get chase like us. Not many girl out here all the same. But we boy; me and Everton and Shelby and Noel, we get chase all the time. Don’t matter if you small like Lasco, you still get chase. One time, a security guard catch Lasco and hold him down inna car park and beat him bad-bad. A foreign white woman, she come over and she tell the security to leave that boy alone. The security say, “Ma’am, you don’t understand dem boy. Dem bad, dem bad, dem bad so ’til. Dem must beat like mule or donkey. Ghetto pickney must beat.” The white woman say she going call the police, and the security, he laugh. “Lady,” he say – him stop call her Ma’am now – “police will beat him harder than me. Dem boy, dem t’ief and cause pure trouble. Management say we must run dem every time we see dem.”
"I thought about the boy in Soveregn Plaza after the movies. What had been his mother's name? Arleen; that was it. I wondered again if I could help. Lydia, naturally, had dismissed the idea, and it was certainly risky. But I could try, couldn't I? At least I could attempt to find him and see where he lived, what his mother was like. I began making plans in the dark for a boy I'd spent five minutes with."