" What you want to do when you get big, Ruby?" Sherry asks in a dreamy
voice. Ruby smiles and looks up to the roof.
" Let me see. I want to be a nurse," she says cheerfully. " No, I want
to be a hair-stylist lady. All them girls go have to come to me to
style-up they hair."
" Well I want to be a teacher," Sherry states proudly.
" A teacher?" Ruby says with disapproval.
" Yes, I want to have my own class and twenty nice children."
" Uuhhmmm! Ten O' them might be like Leroy."
" Uh-umm! If any of them turn out so I will buy a fat wild-cane and
beat him every time the bell ring," Sherry says with vengeance.
" And suppose one of them children you beat get a bad-man father like
" He can't do me nothing, or I would bring my husband on him."
Ruby laughs, then Sherry realizes what she has said and breaks into
" Who you go marry, Sherry?" Ruby asks when the laughter subsides.
Sherry looks at Ruby suspiciously out of the corners of her eyes.
" No, you tell me who you would marry first," she says.
" But you mustn't tell nobody, you know. You swear?" Ruby says.
" I swear," Sherry says and kisses the palm of her free hand then
extends the hand in the air toward the heavens.
" I go marrid Harry Munroe," Ruby says reverently.
" Who is Harry Munroe?"
" That boy in Second Form in the classroom next to we own."
" Oh yes. He is a nice boy."
" He go be a police chief," Ruby says proudly.
" Well I won't marrid to him. I would marrid Fenton."
Ruby laughs, then says," Well I hope he don't turn out like Maxwell or
Harry go have to lock-up all two O' them."
" No, my Fenton would be a doctor. And we would build a big house."
" Harry would build a big house for me too. We go have two big garage
and we go have two cars, no four cars. One is his police car and one is
he `going-out' car. And I go have two cars; one to drive to work and
one to drive up Sixty-three beach every Easter."
" We would have four cars too."
" And how much children you go have?"
" I would have four children; two boys and two girls."
" Well I go have ten children."
" Ten children!" Sherry is astonished.
" Uh-huh. Ten children, because when I get old they go take care of
me," Ruby reasons. " And all must be girls too. Boy-children like stray
about too much and they does get the floor dirty. And when they get big
they don't treat they mother good. Girl, you know what happen to a ole'
lady that used to live in the next street? She had a house and one son
and when he get married he and he wife move in and live with she. And
the son and the wife used to treat she nice nice. Then the son tell the
old lady let she sign over the house in he name. And girl, as soon as
the lady sign over the house in he name they start treat the old lady
bad bad. They get hoggish and she could only eat when they tell she to
eat. And child, the lady get fine, fine and die out."
This sad tale causes Sherry to do some serious thinking.
" Well I would only have one boy and I would have three girls. The boy
would have to do the downstairs work and the girl will do the upstairs
" And I wouldn't leave my children and go and live somewhere else, even
if Harry get knock-off."
" I might do like a girl name Curlene and get all my children before I
get marrid," says Sherry.
" Uuuhhmm! Who you go get the children for?" Ruby scoffs.
" How you mean?" Sherry asks with a puzzled frown. Ruby laughs.
" You know how them lady does get baby?" she asks in a whisper.
" God does make the baby and a bird does bring it," Sherry says
seriously. Ruby laughs heartily.
" Sherry, you really ain't know how them lady does get baby?"
Sherry looks at Ruby with a dumb expression on her innocent face. Ruby
rolls onto her side and closer to Sherry. With her lips close to
Sherry's right ear she discloses an important fact of life.
" YOU LIE!" Sherry exclaims and draws away sharply from Ruby then
" Is true, Sherry," Ruby confesses urgently with an innocent
" That is wickedness," Sherry declares.
" Is true, Sherry. Let me show you something," Ruby says and jumps off
the bed. She goes out of the room and into the neighboring room. Sherry
hears Ruby move something heavy, like a piece of furniture. She returns
to Sherry with a piece of paper in hand.
" Look," says Ruby and sits on the bed beside Sherry who has raised
herself to a seated position. Ruby spreads the page flat on the bed
between herself and Sherry. It is a page from a pornographic magazine
with photographs on both sides.
" Ruuuby!" Sherry breathes in shock and alarm. " Where you get this
" Remember that boy that did call you when we did coming in? Well I
tear it out from a book he had."
" Uuumm," Sherry murmurs with an expression of revolt.
" You see now. Is not lie I did telling you. You got to do this first
with a man then you go get baby."
" Well I won't make baby by doing this." Sherry indicates the page with
" What else you would do. Is only so you could get baby."
Sherry is thoughtful for a moment.
" How you know is baby they're making?" she asks doubtfully and points
to the photograph.
" A girl tell me. She is a nurse," Ruby says smugly. "And besides, I
see a big girl name Donna doing this a night behind the next range with
a boy name Mallet and the same year she get baby and she say he is the
" I still don't believe. You would do this?" The page comes in for some
" Yes, when I get big and marrid," says Ruby. " You would do it?"
" I dunno," Sherry says and lies back on the bed. Ruby lies next to
" You ever kiss a boy?" asks Ruby.
" Nooo!" Sherry exclaims. " You ever?"
" Uh-huh. When I had my birthday party last year at me aunty I had to
kiss a boy." Sherry laughs.