BBC National Short Story Award: The Sweet Sop – Ingrid Persaud

Day four, ‘The Sweet Sop’ by Ingrid Persaud.

The Sweet Sop (Extract)
Ingrid Persaud

If is chocolate you looking for, and I talking real cheap, then you can’t beat Golden MegaMart Variety & Wholesale Ltd in Marabella. Think of a Costco boil down small small but choke up with goods from top to bottom. When me and Moms had that holiday in Miami by her brother we were always in Costco. But till they open a Costco in Trinidad go by Golden MegaMart. They does treat people real good. As soon as I reach they know I want at least thirty jars of Nutella chocolate spread. And don’t play like you giving me anything else. I tell them I have my reasons and that is what I want. But they always trying. Just last week you should hear them.

‘Eh, Slim Man, we get a nice chocolate. It just come out. Rocky Mallow Road. Why you don’t eat a good chocolate nah man instead of this chocolate in a bottle?’

‘I good.’

‘Is Cadbury I talking about. Try one nah. On the house.’

‘Look don’t hurt me head with no foolishness. And hurry up. Man have taxi waiting.’

I never used to eat chocolate all the time so. If is anything, give me a pack of peanuts or green mango with salt and pepper. Anything salty and I in that. Everything changed when my old man Reggie died. Now the only thing I eat is sliced bread with Nutella. Moms think I am going mad. I might be going mad. That is a question for the doctor them to decide. But what is as true as Lara can play cricket is that I am getting fat. Man, let’s give Jack his jacket. I am enormous.

Computer work like I have mean you don’t need to leave the house. In fact, most of the people I work for operating the same way rather than in an office set up. To stop me and Moms getting all up in each other’s business, I turned the garage into a studio apartment as soon as I started working. I have my own toilet and bath and a small kitchen with a fridge. She is in the house proper but this way me and Moms don’t have to bounce up every day. I am not a man to take more than two-three little drink but you see that woman. Ah lord. When she start up with she stupidness I does want to take a rum straight from the bottle. Is always the same tune. Victor, this bread and chocolate thing is your father fault, god rest he soul. You should have followed my example and don’t have nothing to do with he. One minute you was a good looking, normal, young man and then that worthless devil sit on your head. Now look at you. You is one big booboloops. You forget how to reach the gym? I don’t understand what happen to you. You don’t go out. You only home eating this bread and chocolate morning, noon and night. Chocolate and bread, bread and chocolate, chocolate and bread. Watch me. Your heart can’t carry this size. Keep up this madness and you go be using a plot in Paradise Cemetery before me.

Born in Trinidad, Ingrid Persaud has had lives as a legal academic teaching at King’s College London, a Goldsmith College and Central St Martins trained visual artist and a project manager. Although she came to writing later in life, she has always been preoccupied with the power of words, both in her academic work and her exploration of text as art. Persaud is the 2017 winner of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize and her work has appeared in Granta, Prospectand Pree Her physical homes are London and Barbados which she shares with ‘The Husband, teenaged twin boys, a feral chicken and two rescue dogs’.

The winners of the BBC National Short Story Award with Cambridge University will be announced on 2ndOctober on BBC Radio 4’s Front Row. The shortlisted stories are available in an anthology published by Comma Press, out now: https://commapress.co.uk/books/the-bbc-national-short-story-award-2018